National Justice for Our Neighbors
September 2017 
 Staying Safe in the Mean Season 
 
As so many of our friends, families and neighbors battle with the devastation of this hurricane season, please keep our JFON sites in Houston and Florida in your thoughts and prayers. 
 
We know that both our Houston and Florida staff are safe and are now dealing with the aftermath of flooding and wind damage. 
 
For our low-income clients in both regions, the destruction created by Harvey and Irma pose very serious challenges. Please remember them and consider supporting recovery efforts through UMCOR. 
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Florida JFON is expanding! 
 
New clinic opens in Central Florida 
 
 
With so many troubling reports coming out of Florida, it is a relief and a joy to share some good news from Florida JFON
 
College Heights United Methodist Church in Lakeland, Florida, recently opened its doors for its first immigration legal aid clinic. This is, asserts Clinic Coordinator Howardene (Denie) Garrett, a much-needed ministry in the community.
 
"Providing access to reliable immigration legal services seemed to be the best way to show our neighbors that we care about them," she explains. "The population we are trying to help is very vulnerable to folks that give advice who aren't necessarily qualified to do so. These neighbors are also spending money they really don't have. The fees alone for various applications are very high."
 
Lakeland is a small city located about an hour's drive from Orlando. There is farmland nearby, strawberry and blueberry fields to the east, and orange groves to the south. Denie hopes the clinic will be able to serve some of the area's migrant workers in the future. 
 
JFON used to operate a clinic in Lakeland, but it closed in 2014 due to funding challenges. It has been a dream of many volunteers and supporters throughout Central Florida to re-establish the ministry in this part of the state. 
 
Longtime JFON supporter Dorothy Trogolo reports that Lakeland's first humble clinic in nearly three years was a huge success—volunteers properly trained, families warmly welcomed, clients ably served by two volunteer attorneys and Florida JFON attorney and director Janet Horman. 
 
"Central Florida is ready and excited to have JFON back," enthuses Dorothy, "and so happy to be involved again in this incredible ministry!"
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Running for our Immigrant Neighbors 
 
Promoting awareness and support for JFON East Texas 
 
 “I will never understand my parents’ journey,” says Dalila Reynoso, program administrator for the newest site within our network, JFON East Texas. “But I can try.”
 
Dalila’s parents left their tiny village in Guerrero, Mexico, nearly 40 years ago. Both were from extremely poor families, and there was no money or time to spare for luxuries like education. 
 
“My father could barely read and write,” recalls Dalila, ”but he would give you the shirt off his back, if you needed it.”
 
The young couple settled in Tyler, Texas, 1,306 miles from their home and a whole new world of both challenges and opportunities. Her father worked as a welder until he was injured on the job. Her mother worked as a housekeeper. There were obstacles, struggles, and hardship, but they lived to see each of their six children succeed in their new country.
 
“My parents are the true American dreamers,” says Dalila proudly.
 
When Dalila’s father died last year, she undertook a new mission in his memory: to run, walk, jog 1,306 miles to raise money for JFON East Texas. She runs nearly every day and has raised $500 so far. 
 
“You have to give back,” she says. “Whatever you do in life, you have to serve others.”
 
East Texas is our 5th JFON site in Texas and our 17th JFON site nationwide. Their official Grand Opening is planned for later this month. 
 
 
On Tuesday, Sept. 5, the Trump administration announced its intention to end #DACA. Dalila Reynoso immediately began planning a candlelight vigil for that same evening. Over 600 people attended the vigil in Tyler, Texas, home of JFON East Texas.
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I'm as American as you are  
 
 
          Cesar Virto, a #DACAmented client and volunteer from Tennessee JFON, confronts a future without a homeland 
 
 
Published by Politico, Sept. 6, 2017
 
 "I haven’t been to Mexico since I left as a 3-year-old, more than 25 years ago. I have no memory of the place, and I’m culturally American—I would feel more like an outsider there than I do here. I have no clue how I would make a living, or where I would go. I had the opportunity to take some Spanish classes in college, but I speak it with an Alabama accent and can’t read or write the language well.
 
"I  feel trapped—Hispanics make fun of my pronunciation and tell me I act like an American, and Americans say I do not look like them and need to go back to where I came from. I do not know how to act any other way. I am me. It hurts to be told I do not belong wherever I go.
 
"But what hurts me the most—more than the alienation, more than the fear—is the sense of betrayal. It pains me that many of the same Christians who supported me as a youth, who helped pay my college tuition, can turn around and chant, 'Build the wall.'
 
"People I love post things on Facebook that break my heart. If I were any less grounded in my faith, I honestly would have left the religion.
 
"But I’m glad I didn’t leave, and as a Christian, I am trying to understand the points of view of those Christians who would like to see me deported. Many of them, I know, are struggling in their own lives.
 
"I pray that our shared faith will give them compassion for immigrants like me, and I wish that we can love one another as much as I love this country."
 
 
 
Read Cesar's full story on Politico.
 
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JFON called into ACTION  
 
The end of DACA means our fight is just beginning
 
 
We are devastated by President Trump’s announcement this past Tuesday that he is rescinding DACA Our hearts go out to young immigrants like Cesar in the story above and the many thousands of others who now face an uncertain and worrisome future.
 
While we mourn this news, we are also spurred into action, vigorously moving forward to aid these young people as both advocates and dedicated providers of legal services.
 
First, our network is working feverishly to renew as many DACA applications as possible this month. 
 
Nationwide, there are 154,000 young immigrants whose DACA expires in six months, and they all must renew by Oct. 5, or they won’t have the chance to avoid deportation and work for another two years. 
 
This is an enormous task. To donate or volunteer to help, please find a JFON site near you.
 
Second, we are urging support of the DREAM Act so that DREAMers can work in the U.S., live free from the fear of deportation, and have an opportunity to become U.S. citizens. 
 
We anticipate heated debate on Capitol Hill. Already certain members of Congress are proposing that the DREAM Act be allowed to pass only if other things detrimental to immigrants are included, such as funding of the border wall, increased militarization of the border, and expansion of deportations and detentions.
 
We will urge the passage of a clean DREAM Act with none of these strings attached. We will not stand for using the fate of DREAMers as political leverage against their fellow immigrants.  
 
Please help us advocate! 
 
Our partners at Here to Stay have assembled helpful tools for you to reach out to your Senators and Congressional Representatives, as well as information about events in your area and FAQs on DACA.
 
Thank you for standing with us as we #DefendtheDREAMers!
 
Rob Rutland-Brown, 
NJFON Executive Director
 
 
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Why we must protect TPS    
 
 
by Melissa Bowe, NJFON Program and Advocacy Manager   
 
Haiti and nine other countries affected by catastrophic natural disasters, epidemics, armed conflict, and other extraordinary life-threatening circumstances are currently at risk for losing their Temporary Protected Status (TPS) .
 
TPS was established by Congress through the Immigration Act of 1990. It is designed to protect foreign nationals in the U.S. from being forced to return to their home country if doing so would expose them to extreme risk of violence, disease or death. 
 
Under current law, the Secretary of Homeland Security may designate a foreign country for TPS in three scenarios:
  • Ongoing armed conflict (such as a civil war)
  • An environmental disaster (such as earthquake or hurricane), or an epidemic; or
  • Other extraordinary and temporary conditions that prevent people from the country from safely returning home. 
Losing Temporary Protected Status now would impact 300,000 TPS holders, their families, their employers and their communities.
 
The end of TPS would put lives at risk, destroy families, remove valued workers from the American workforce and further destabilize countries struggling to rebuild from disaster.
 
We encourage you to learn more about this important safeguard of vulnerable populations.
 
Please click the links below to read TPS factsheets on three major TPS designations from our partners at Catholic Legal Immigration Network:
 
 
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