April 2014 Update


National Justice For Our Neighbors
Our  goal is to provide hospitality and compassion to low-income immigrants through immigration legal services, advocacy, and education. National Justice For Our Neighbors provides crucial technical and programmatic support to 16 local offices and 41 legal clinics and fosters long-term program success and stability.
Activist and Dreamer: Mayra Hidalgo Salazar
Justice For Our Neighbors - Florida
By Gary White, The Ledger, Lakeland, Florida
Article Image The following excerpt is from Gary's August 2013 article. Mayra received her DACA relief through JFON-Florida.

Mayra Hidalgo Salazar, an undocumented immigrant whose college prospects once seemed dim, is now headed to one of the nation's most respected colleges.

The Lakeland resident, a nationally known activist for immigrant rights, has received a full scholarship to Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, N.Y., the school she has dreamed of attending since she was a student at Harrison School for the Arts. Her enrollment for the fall semester marks a dramatic turnaround after two years of academic limbo.
"I'm one of the lucky 5 percent of undocumented youth who get to go to college," said Hidalgo. "It's been a tremendous blessing and a dream to get to this point." Hidalgo's parents brought her to the United States from Costa Rica when she was six months old.
Hidalgo got good news last year when President Barack Obama announced a new federal policy, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status. Under that program, undocumented immigrants under age 31 who were brought to the country before age 16 and met certain other requirements became exempt from deportation and could apply for a two-year work permit.
Hidalgo received her work authorization, along with a modified Social Security card that allowed her to get a driver license. "Just the weight you feel lifted off your shoulders is indescribable," she said. "Just the tiniest things, like being able to go to the bank and show your ID, even being able to sign up for a gym membership — the tiniest things people don't often think about ... I'm constantly grateful because not everybody can do that."
Justice For Our Neighbor - Maryland/D.C.
Eleanor Williamson-Taylor
  Article Image
It is no coincidence that many of the volunteers who participate in our ministry of welcoming immigrant newcomers have been immigrant newcomers themselves. As an immigrant herself, Eleanor appreciates the hardships that immigrants arriving to the United States face.  
Eleanor attends Emory United Methodist Church in Washington D.C.  She had been attending that church for five years when, in 2003, a group from the church decided to start a JFON clinic.  Eleanor jumped in to help at the beginning of this ministry by becoming an intake volunteer. "These stories arouse a lot of empathy in me.  Many people endure a journey to the United States that I consider dangerous and hard.  I wonder how much more dangerous their lives must have been in the country they are fleeing."   After a couple years she added "board member" to her volunteer duties.  “The two roles complement each other,“  she said. Being on the board allows her to see the big picture of what it takes to run a ministry, including the data of who they serve at their three separate legal clinics.   As an intake volunteer, she hears the personal stories of both why and how the clients come to the U.S., assuring that immigrants who come to JFON are treated as more than just a number. 
Justice For Our Neighbors - Nebraska
Creative Partnership
Getting creative to provide the highest quality and also the greatest number of services to clients is a Justice For Our Neighbors trait.  JFON-Nebraska gives us a unique example of creativity in its partnership with local youth program agency Completely KIDS.  Completely KIDS has over 2,000 children enrolled in its Omaha, Nebraska after-school  program.  The staff at this after-school program discovered that a significant number of these children are experiencing difficulties at home due to their own or their family's legal status. 

Completely KIDS approached JFON-Nebraska for help with this situation. What resulted is a collaboration that works with the strengths of each agency.  JFON-Nebraska secured the funding for an additional full-time attorney who works exclusively with families connected with Completely KIDS. National JFON provided an enhancement grant to support this hire.
Completely KIDS is in charge of spreading the news that there is affordable legal assistance available.  Additionally, Completely KIDS staff schedule appointments and even assist with transportation to attorney meetings.  In this partnership the JFON mission of providing hospitality through legal services meets the Completely KIDS mission to address intergenerational poverty and assist children and families in gaining the knowledge, skills and support that will empower them to overcome barriers to their success.

"What is our faith, our words
and our history worth if not
translated into action, sacrifice
and redemption?"

Faster's Declaration, Fast4Families
JFON Calls for Change

Justice For Our Neighbors is committed to making a positive impact on the lives of vulnerable immigrants. A crucial part of JFON’s overall mission is to promote laws that are just and compassionate towards our immigrant brothers and sisters, including those who are undocumented.  The JFON network supports and participates in two  national movements: #Not1MoreDeportation and #Fast4Families Across America Tour.  Both campaigns are ending with a major action in April.

APRIL 5th  - National Day of Action for Deportation Relief from President Obama

#Not1MoreDeportation is collectively challenging unfair deportations and inequality through organizing, art, legislation and action. Their aim is to reverse criminalization, build migrant power and create immigration policies based on principles of inclusion.

As part of the national #Not1more Deportation campaign, immigrant communities in more than 40 cities have participated in a national day of action under the banner of “Two Million Too Many” with marches, rallies, vigils, and forums to push the White House to take immediate action to expand deferred action, end its quota programs and suspend deportations. The protests are prompted by the record deportations under the Obama administration which are reaching the milestone of two million removals since he took office. UMC Bishops Minerva Carcaño, Julius Trimble and Sally Dyck as well as other faith leaders participated in actions this past month. Many JFON sites, including Northern Illinois, also enthusiastically participated in actions and will hold prayer vigils the weekend of April 5 and 6.

Please participate by joining a vigil or action listed here, pray alone or with your faith community or contact your legislator requesting the end of deportations until genuine, solution-based reform has been enacted.

                  Rally in San Francisco

April 9th – Day of Fasting

The #Fast4Families began last year with a group of leaders from the faith community coming together in a tent in front of the White House to fast and pray for immigration reform. Their goal was to bring attention to the cause in a peaceful, humble, and sacrificial way. They successfully achieved this and felt called to initiate another stage of the campaign. This stage, the Fast4Families Across America Tour, is in the process of visiting over 100 congressional districts. The tour will end on April 9th  in Washington D.C., while Congress is still in session and members are preparing to return to their districts for a two-week recess.

When the tour stopped in San Francisco, Sharron Williams and Belinda Robinson with JFON-Bay Area Immigration Task Force were invited as part of the faith community representatives to give the invocation and prayer at the rally. Additionally Sharron had the opportunity to speak about JFON’s work.  JFON-Western Michigan participated in a demonstration and community forum when the tour came through Grand Rapids. 
Join this effort by pledging to fast and pray on Wednesday, April 9thas prophetic witness to the moral urgency of commonsense immigration reform so that all might have the opportunity to be citizens with equal respect and dignity.

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