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National Justice For Our Neighbors
December 2014 Update 
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Responses to Executive Action on Immigration
 
 
National Justice for Our Neighbors Executive Director Rob Rutland-Brown has responded to Obama's Executive Action on Immigration here. The following is an excerpt from his remarks.
 
NJFON is thankful to President Obama for this bold step. JFON holds family unity among our highest values and this executive action will enable nearly five million family members to remain together and to come out of the shadows of American society.
 
This announcement means that millions of U.S. citizen children won’t have to wake up worrying if their mother or father will be deported that day.  It also means that the children won’t have to financially support their parents, who will now be authorized to work here and become contributing members of our society and economy. 

While today we celebrate, we are also called to action. We recognize the massive level of assistance that eligible immigrants will need in the months that follow, especially immigrants who cannot afford private attorneys.  These vulnerable immigrants will be targeted by unscrupulous people eager to take their money.
 
To address this need JFON will be stepping up our efforts in order to educate communities about this new relief and to assist immigrants in applying for it.
 
Rob Rutland-Brown and Bishop Trimble
 
Bishop Trimble also issued a thoughtful response to executive action. He includes the follow words.
 
The Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church has...encouraged local communities to participate in ministries of mercy and justice...We know that immigrants in our communities are ready to embrace a path to citizenship. They want to come out of the shadows that often permit men, women, and children to be taken advantage of. Our United Methodist churches can help by simply being welcoming congregations and by supporting expanded legal support through Justice for Our Neighbors.
 
Good news for possibly five million undocumented immigrants can be good news for the entire country. Full reform of current immigration policies invites us to be messengers of hope rather than prisoners of fear.
 
 
United Methodist News Service has put together a summary of the many UMC leaders response to this action - many reflecting gratitude for the answered prayers for this path to legal status.
 
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Join the Movement
December 2nd
 
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Tomorrow, we’re joining a national day of generosity, #GivingTuesday.
 
It’s a day when you can make a big impact for NJFON and immigrants across the nation.
 
With your help, we’ll raise funds to expand our critical services, especially in ways that welcome and serve migrant children.
How can you be a part of it? Here are a few simple ideas:
  • Consider making a gift to NJFON on #GivingTuesday
  • Promote NJFON on Twitter and Facebook
  • Share this informational flier regarding executive action for immigration with those in your church and community who work with immigrants
With your help we can create places of welcome for immigrants.
 
For all you night owls, there’s an opportunity for your donation on December 2 to be matched by UMCOR! Starting at midnight, UMCOR will match dollar-for-dollar the first $1 million in gifts received through the Advance, including donations to NJFON through our website. We expect the matching funds to run out quickly, but a donation at midnight Eastern Standard Time the evening of the 1st would have a good shot at a match! 
 
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From Miami to Iowa and Back Again
JFON Serving Along the Way
 
 
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Emma*, like nearly 70,000 other children this past year, journeyed to the U.S. from her home in Central America to escape violence.  She arrived in Texas and, like all unaccompanied minors, was processed through the Office of Refugee Resettlement as our government worked to identify relatives here for her to live with before her hearing at Immigration Court.  
 
Emma was united with her mother and step-father in Miami.   Because her step-father was experiencing major heart problems the three of them soon moved to Iowa for him to receive special medical treatment.  That’s where Emma visited a JFON legal clinic, where a staff attorney, along with a team of newly trained volunteers, assessed her situation and initiated steps to take her on as a client. However, Emma still had a previously scheduled court appointment in Miami.  This court appearance is where an attorney would typically ask for an extension on her behalf or a change of court locations closer to her place of residence.  Emma needed to request both of these.  So, Emma, her mom and her still-sick step-father took the 24-hour drive back to Miami.
 
While en route, Emma's family called Iowa-JFON and realized they did not have the paperwork for the proper motion. Iowa-JFON quickly reached out to the JFON attorney at our newly opened site in South Florida. Our South Florida-JFON attorney, Janet Horman, scrambled and connected with the family, who were running a few minutes late to their 9am hearing, having hit Miami traffic at the end of their marathon drive.  Janet called the court to explain that the family might be late and was reassured that the Emma would still be seen.  Janet then called Emma’s family to calm them and explain the process.
 
Fortunately, Emma made the court hearing and is now back in Iowa with another hearing set. This future court hearing will allow her to meet with the attorney at the Iowa-JFON clinic in December, providing time to explore remedies that can enable her to remain safely in the U.S. with her mom.  We are grateful to have been in a position to aid Emma on both ends of her U.S. journey and we look forward to continuing to serve her.
 
*Not her real name. Photo credit: Freeimages.com

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