Copy
View this email in your browser
Providing hospitality to low-income immigrants with legal services, advocacy, & education
June, 2019
Stories & News from the JFON Network 
June 2019

The Freedom to Worship

“Even if we have a lot to eat, and a place to sleep,” says Mark Lee, ”in China, there is no freedom. The government controls everything, including your religion. You have to do everything according to their ideology.

"In China," he adds, "you cannot believe in God in public."

The systematic persecution of Christians and other religious minorities in China has a long and well-documented history. However, the rise of General Secretary of the Communist Party Xi Jinping in 2012, coupled with a rise in the number of practicing Christians, has brought a corresponding increase of religious suppression in China. 

Perhaps even more sinister—and eerily reminiscent of the Mao era—the government is now policing Christian churches as a way to control the “hearts and minds” of their adherents.

“We could practice Christianity in secret, but then it became more difficult,” explains Mark. “But in America, you can freely worship. Here you can go to church every Sunday and have no fear of arrest.”
 

Read Mark Lee's story HERE 
 
New York JFON managing attorney and NJFON consulting attorney, TJ Mills(wearing Ghanaian warrior dress from another grateful client and not his usual Yankees shirt) with Mark Lee and his wife at the Chinese United Methodist Church in Chinatown, New York.
UMCOR grant allows San Antonio JFON to expand in South Texas 
Serving more migrants and asylum seekers in the Rio Grande Valley 

 
The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) has awarded  San Antonio Region Justice for Our Neighbors (SARJFON) a $4000,000+ grant to give migrants and asylum seekers immigration legal assistance and information in the underserved Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. 
 
Asylum seekers entering at the U.S. border in the Rio Grande Valley have an urgent need for knowledgeable immigration attorneys to help them navigate the lengthy and complicated asylum process. 

A key objective of the grant is to provide access to legal representation for 150 migrants in removal proceedings, along with 360 migrants eligible for a family-based immigration legal remedy by 2020.

SARJFON also plans to conduct know-your-rights workshops for more than 1,000 non-citizens in the region, and to address the legal concerns of asylum seekers waiting to cross the border at points of entry. 
There is a great deal of sadness along the border, writes Rev. Jack Amick, director of Global Migration for the General Board of Global Ministries, but there is also hope.

"There is hope," he continues, "in making legal services, including assistance with removal hearings, available to asylum seekers and other immigrants along the border through the work of National Justice for Our Neighbors and UMCOR."

 
Map courtesy of Bridgewater State University  
Eight is not Enough
 
“I was a widower, a retired patent attorney with a license to practice law in Massachusetts,” says Gene Nelson. “I had a large Victorian house that my wife’s death had made very empty. And there were people who needed my help.”

Fast forward a few years, and Gene is now a volunteer immigration attorney for New England JFON and a surrogate father for seven young people—most of them originally from Guatemala—filling up his house.  

Their stories differ—Francy, Bruss, Debie and Saidy were  unaccompanied minor children, eligible for Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) visas; Mila is a  DACAmented student; Ashley and Belinda are U.S. citizens whose parents are forced to live elsewhere.

Yet their stories are also remarkably the same. They all needed a place to call home. Gene gave that to them.   

Gene credits Rev. Gabriela Garcia, the pastor of Christ United Methodist Church, with the recent transformation of both his house and his life. Rev. Garcia also runs a shelter for immigrants and Gene had become a pro-bono attorney for some of her younger charges.

“Reverend Garcia was willing to ask me,” he says simply. “And I didn’t have any reason not to do it.”
Gene and his kids are now expecting the eighth member of their household: Debie’s younger sister is currently in an immigrant detention facility but will, Gene happily reports, be joining them soon.

Photo: Ashley cuts the cake for her quinceañera celebration.
 
Read Gene Nelson's "Giving All you Can" HERE
 
We rely on the financial commitments of congregations, organizations, and individuals. We appreciate and welcome your support of this ministry. To make a financial contribution, go to the New England Justice for Our Neighbors  -- Donation page on our website.  You may also send contributions to:  New England Justice for Our Neighbors, –Belmont-Watertown UMC c/o Jocelyn Milton, 421 Common St, Belmont, MA 02478. Thank you for your ongoing support.
Visit the website for National Justice for Our Neighbors and subscribe to the Newsletter
Copyright © 2019 NEJFON, All rights reserved.


Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can unsubscribe from this list

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp
We rely on the financial commitments of congregations, organizations, and individuals. We appreciate and welcome your support of this ministry. To make a financial contribution, go to the New England Justice for Our Neighbors  -- Donation page on our website.  You may also send contributions to:  New England Justice for Our Neighbors, –Belmont-Watertown UMC c/o Jocelyn Milton, 421 Common St, Belmont, MA 02478. Thank you for your ongoing support.
Visit the website for National Justice for Our Neighbors and subscribe to the Newsletter
Copyright © 2019 NEJFON, All rights reserved.


Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can unsubscribe from this list

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp