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Providing hospitality to low-income immigrants with legal services, advocacy, & education
June 2020

Stories & News from the JFON Network

We—National Justice for Our Neighbors and the entire Justice for Our Neighbors network—are overjoyed by the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

On Sept. 5, 2017, the Trump administration terminated the DACA program, no longer allowing new DACA eligible Americans to apply for DACA and impacting thousands of families in this country. Immigrant youth organized and bravely challenged the Administration by taking the fight to the Supreme Court of the United States. Today, the Supreme Court rightfully agreed with the petitioners in a true victory for justice.

Throughout the United States, our JFON Network has proudly served over 4,000 DACA clients in the past five years. We saw first hand how vital they are to their families, our faith communities, our academic institutions and our workforce.

We are a stronger, safer, and more vibrant nation with all of our families together, able to work, and protected from deportation. Our future is intertwined with theirs, our country and lives enriched by their many contributions.  

We stand in full solidarity with immigrants and our allies and will lift our voices unequivocally to rejoice in this decision and in full support of legislation like the American Dream and Promise Act, which would provide a path to citizenship for DACA recipients and keep our communities intact.

Congratulations to all our DREAMers and advocates who worked so long and so tirelessly to get to this day. 

Supporting the Dream and the Promise 
It's been over a year since the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Dream and Promise Act (H.R. 6), which provides security, certainty, and a pathway to citizenship for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients— DREAMers brought to this country as minors—and people granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for humanitarian reasons.

Please remember that immigration is also a Black issue: There are more than 10,000 Black DACA recipients and over 50,000 Black TPS holders who need the permanent protections offered by the Dream and PromiseAct

Meanwhile, this vital legislation has stalled in the U.S. Senate. 

What can you do? 
  • Use this handy tool and call your senators. It's easy! 
  • Email or tweet your senators and ask them to support automatic extensions of work permits and protection from deportation in the next COVD-19 relief bill.
  • Contact Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell via social media: @senatemajldr and his Facebook page 
  • Use your voice to raise awareness about systemic racism and its impact on Black people, including Black immigrants, DREAMers, and TPS holders. 

Come By Here, Lord
On May 31, 2020, while the entire country—the entire world— rose in righteous anger to protest the horrific killing of George Floyd and countless other Black Americans, Jerome Curtis Del Pino rose to give the pastoral prayer at Belmont United Methodist Church in Nashville, Tennessee. 

Jerome is a lawyer who represents people facing the death penalty. He is also the husband of Tessa del Pino, Executive Director for Tennessee Justice for Our Neighbors

Jerome chose to structure his prayer around the Afro-American spiritual Come By Herewhich, over time, would evolve to the familiar Kum ba yah.  The earliest documented recording was made in 1926, by a man named Henry Wylie. He recorded it in his native Gullah dialect in Darien, Georgia, less than 20 miles from where jogger Ahmaud Arbery was hunted and gunned down this past February. 

Jerome delivered his prayer on Pentecost Sunday, the day that marks the beginning of the Christian church, the day the apostles were given “tongues of fire" to spread the Gospel to many lands. We think Jerome was similarly gifted.

Come by Here, Lord expresses the profound grief, longing and enduring hope of the African diaspora—the descendants of slaves throughout the United States and the Americas, and also the more recently arrived Black African immigrants. 

It is a Call for Justice. May we, as a nation, and as a planet, rise up to answer it. 

Friday, June 19 is the 155th Anniversary of Juneteenth, the day we commemorate the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States.

There can be no more significant or sacred day for our Black communities, and no better time to join one of the many #DefendBlackLives actions now being organized by Six Nineteen  throughout the weekend (June 19 - 21) and throughout the nation.

You can take to the streets or participate digitally. Find a nearby action or host your own so others can attend. This is an all-hands-on-deckmoment. Whatever you do, do it for Justice. 

Claudia's #DACAmented Story
"This is a huge win for the immigrant community, but it is not the end of the struggle," writes Claudia Marchan, executive director for Northern Illinois Justice for Our Neighbors
"As we reflect on this surprising decision from the Supreme Court," she adds. "I want to share with you the story of one DACA recipient.

"This is my story. "

In the photo: Claudia, her daughter Ximena, and son Enrique.

Migrant Shelter
Nogales, Mexico
March 2020

He was 12 years old, slight of build and scrawny. He’d left school some years before, he told her, and worked full-time in a florist shop back in Guatemala. Now that they were at the border, the terrible journey behind them, he was worrying about his future job prospects.

“Please tell me how to get a job in the U.S.,” he asked her.

Elisa was nonplussed. “You can’t,” she told him gently. “You’re too young.”

“I am the man of the family,” he corrected her, the grand words at odds with his childlike voice. “I have to provide for my mother and sisters.”

Elisa shook her head. “I’m sorry,” she told him. “You’ll have to go to school.”

"I don' t go to save anyone, " says Elisa O’Callaghan, a  North Central Texas JFON  board member, of her frequent trips to bring supplies to migrant shelters in Mexico. "I go as a human being to talk to another human being."

Here we see Elisa playing Uno with a migrant child. "Sometime we read together, too," she says. "Mostly he talks. He talks and I listen."  


Continue reading Elisa's Story HERE

The Meatpackers' Daughter 

We received many responses for our story in last month's newsletter, Essential does not equal Expendableon the dangerous conditions confronting meatpacking workers —most of whom are immigrants—during the COVID-19 pandemic. Both Iowa JFON and Immigrant Legal Center—our JFON affiliate in Nebraska—have been strongly advocating for the meatpacking community in their states. 

Recently, we received a letter from a young woman in Nebraska. Both of her parents work in a meat-processing plant. She prefers to remain anonymous to protect her parents' job security.  

"Those of us who are fighting for worker protections, are not fighting for Tyson to leave our community and close," she writes. "We are fighting for Tyson to protect their workers so they can continue to stay and operate in our community.

"If the workers are classified as essential," she adds, "then they should also be respected and treated as such."

We could not agree more.

Please click here to read the full text of this brave daughter's letter.

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 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
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