Providing hospitality to low-income immigrants with legal services, advocacy, & education October 2019
Stories & News from the JFON Network October 2019
Although NJFON does occasionally send teams of attorneys to the U.S. - Mexico border, most of our work with asylum seekers happens right here in the United States. There are hundreds of asylum-seeking families living in our cities, towns, and communities who need our help.
Our JFON affiliates in New York, Houston, and Florida will be providing the immigration legal services these families so desperately need.
Church World Service, meanwhile, will help the asylum seekers with their day-to-day practical needs—housing, registering children for school, enrolling in language classes, and accessing various social service and community programs.
"This grant will ensure that for some of the most vulnerable asylum seekers fleeing to the U.S. there is still hope for safety here," says NJFON Executive Director Rob Rutland-Brown. "The partnership between National Justice for Our Neighbors, Church World Service, and UMCOR provides a creative solution for ensuring that migrants receive critical legal representation for their asylum case as well as a wide range of support services.
"Together we are sending a message," he adds, "that migrants deserve access to justice, and just as importantly, that they are welcomed and loved.”
Staff, board members and volunteers from 17 existing and four prospective JFON sites met in Tucson, Arizona, earlier this month for our annual JFON Roundtable to share and learn new ways to better serve our immigrant neighbors.
Many of our attendees also participated in several border immersion experiences, including helping at the water stations maintained by Humane Borders in the Sonoran Desert, witnessing "Operation Streamline" at the U.S. District Court of Arizona, and visiting with groups that serve migrants and deportees in Mexico.
Jonathan Sanchez, board member for Florida JFON, spent some time talking to asylum seekers waiting at the soup kitchen in Nogales, Mexico, operated by the Jesuit brothers of the Kino Border Initiative. Please see Jonathan's story below.
Two Fathers / Dos Padres
The cartels were fighting each other for territory, Luis explains, and his family was stuck dead-center in the middle of it.
“One night, they came and knocked on the door,” he says. “With their guns. ‘You have to leave now,’ they told us. Nothing more than that, just …‘you have to leave now.’”
Luis glances at his children playing a few feet away—a boy about 4 years old and his sister, a year or two older. “What could I do?” he demands of no one in particular, and lowers his head. “We left. We left behind everything we couldn’t carry on our backs.”
That was 15 months ago. That’s how long it took the family to travel here from their home, some 2,000 miles away.
The other man nods with a rough sympathy. He is also a father, but older than Luis, with deep grooves of worry etched into his mahogany-hued face.
Antonio has two pretty daughters, ages 12 and 14.
He left his home because of them.
Our mailing address is: National Justice for Our Neighbors
7630 Little River Turnpike, Suite 900
Annandale, Virginia, 22003
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 Donationpage 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.