Imperial Valley JFON celebrates Grand Opening and First Clinic!
To the west and north are mountains, blocking the valley off from the major cities of Southern California. To the east are the extraordinary Algodones sand dunes, where parts of The Return of the Jedi and The Scorpion King were filmed. To the south, of course, is Mexico.
Once you cross from Mexico into the United States, you will likely see U.S. Border Patrol agents again. There are checkpoints at 25 and 75 miles north at every major—-and sometimes not-so-major—roads all along our Southern border.
For U.S. citizens and lawful residents, these frequent checkpoints are a hassle and inconvenience. For the undocumented, they are a danger zone that limits freedom and opportunity.
“Your whole world is contained,” explains Kelly Smith, site attorney for the new IV JFON. “You can get a job in El Centro or Yuma, and that’s it. Every road out of here has a checkpoint."
There are now 16 JFON sites to better serve vulnerable immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers across the United States.
Thank you for your generous support!
Federal Judge Blocks Travel/Refugee Ban, 2.0 Version
Wednesday, March 15, 2017: U.S. District Judge Derrick K. Watson, a federal judge in Hawaii, issued a worldwide restraining order against enforcement of key parts of the Trump administration's revised travel ban just hours before it was set to go into effect.
He was joined by a federal judge in Maryland the following morning. U.S. District Court Judge Theordore Chuang ruled that blocking the issuance of immigrant visas from the six banned countries appeared to be in violation of a specific provision in federal law.
The administration's revised ban would have prohibited citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from being issued new visas and also suspended the admission of new refugees.
With the rulings of these two judges—others may be following soon— travelers from these six Muslim-majority countries and refugees will still be able to travel to the United States.
You can read Judge Watson's ruling here and Judge Chuang's ruling here.
What do you do? What will happen to your daughter?
At Know Your Rights workshops, immigrants—whatever their immigration status—can learn their rights as residents in this country, prepare for the possibility of a raid, and create a safety plan for their family.
“We have special consent from ICE to go in and do these presentations,” says Katrina, “so
I have to be pretty careful as far as what I'm saying and doing so that I remain within the scope of what I'm permitted to do.”
JFON West Michigan is the only organization leading Know Your Rights sessions at the Calhoun County Detention Facility. It’s an effort that takes steadfast dedication.
“It’s very disheartening to explain to the detainees how the court process and deportations work,” says Katrina. “Very few of them—only a handful—have legal representation. It stinks to have to tell them I can’t help them any more than giving them the general information contained in my presentation.”
“But they need someone on their side,” she adds softly. “And right now, that someone is JFON.”
To read Katrina’s personal account of her work with detainees, please goHERE.
JFON has record year in 2016
10,577 cases—a 35% increase from previous year!
Many of the 4,286 clients we served in 2016 needed help with more than one immigration issue, whether it was applying for citizenship, family reunification, work authorization (help with a DACA application, for example) or a general advise and counsel session.
Our most dramatic increase, however, was in the Escaping Violencecategory. The number of these types of cases more than doubled from 2015 to 2016. Cases involving clients seeking refuge from violence are also frequently the most difficult and time-consuming, requiring highly competent, knowledgeable, and experienced attorneys.
Escaping Violence in 2016:
These cases allow victims of political, religious or other persecution in their home country to seek asylum in the United States. In addition, we help ensure that victims of domestic violence, human trafficking, and other crimes are able to live and work legally in this country and to eventually become Lawful Permanent Residents.