JFON Network Update
JFON NY Receives grant from GBCS
JFON NY is the proud recipient of a $10,000 Ethnic Local Church Grant from the General Board of Church and Society. The funds will be used to host Know-your-Rights seminars, expand and train their volunteer base, and host an immigration seminar targeting pastors and lay leaders.
The purpose of the GBCS Ethnic Local Church Grants (ELCG) Program is to provide grants to strengthen the ethnic local church through education, advocacy, or leadership training and development as they engage in social justice. More information and applications can be found on the GBCS website. The next application deadline is in early January 2010.
Trina Scott-Zuor and Amy Spaur Commissioned
On Oct. 13, 2009, Trina and Amy were commissioned as Church and Community Worker missionaries of the United Methodist Church at a service during the annual meeting of directors of the General Board of Global Ministries, the mission agency of the denomination. View via webcast.
Although both have been serving as CCWs for over a year, this commissioning is especially meaningful. To "commission" a missionary or deaconess (or home missioner, the male counterpart) is for the church to recognize God's special call and to bless and "send" that person to carry the good news of God's love into the world. It takes place through prayer and the "laying on of hands" in an ancient Christian ritual.
Trina is one of JFON Iowa’s Regional Attorneys serving clients through the clinics in western Iowa located in Storm Lake and Des Moines. Amy serves as the Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator for JFON Dallas-Fort Worth.
JFON W. MI Hosts Two Education Events
JFON West MI hosted two events in October featuring Dr. Miguel de la Torre, author of "Trails of Hope and Terror - Testimonies of Immigration." De la Torre’s presentation focused on the history of immigration specifically in the area of how economic policy has shaped our nation’s immigration policies. He also spoke about the social ethics of the manner in which we are currently handling those crossing our borders as well as those already caught on this side of the border.
In total, the events attracted 110 people and raised over $6,000.
As more than 2,500 immigrants rallied at the Capitol in support of comprehensive immigration reform, Methodist Bishop Minerva Carcaño of Arizona told the crowd it could count on her and other religious leaders for support. "We truly are with you," she said "and we believe that God is on your side too."
But just which side God is on has increasingly become the subject of debate as both sides bring religious leaders to the nation's capital. Philip Williams, director of the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Florida views the anti-immigration advocates’ engagement in religious debate as “an indication that they see the power of the moral argument as more persuasive than the legal argument."
For readings on both sides of the debate, see A Biblical Perspective on Immigration Policy, Loving Thy Neighbor, Sojourner’s sermon resources, and an Immigration Study produced by the Desert Southwest Annual Conference.
Read a report by the Immigration Policy Center (IPC) that looks at the impact our immigration system is having on our nation and discusses the failures of the system under two broad categories: structural failure and inadequate responses.
"To accomplish genuine reform, we must understand that immigration is about more than the 11-12 million people living without status in our country" said Mary Giovagnoli, Director of the IPC. "That group is a symptom of our failure to create an immigration system that works for the needs of America. It is time to shift the terms of the debate. We need to begin a discussion about what living without a functional immigration system has done to our nation over the last 20 years. We need to begin to ask the question: how is it in all our interests to reform immigration?"
Visit IPC’s website to read a series of solution-oriented papers available in the coming weeks.
Did Chicago lose the chance to host the 2016 Olympics because of airport security issues? Among the toughest questions posed to the Chicago bid team this week in Copenhagen was one that raised the issue of what kind of welcome foreigners would get from airport officials when they arrived in this country to attend the Games. Syed Shahid Ali, an I.O.C. member from Pakistan, in the question-and-answer session following Chicago’s official presentation, pointed out that entering the United States can be “a rather harrowing experience.”
Searching for a casual way to introduce the issues surrounding immigration to your friends and family? Consider hosting a movie night. There are, of course, classics like Green Card, Coming to America, Maria Full of Grace, El Norte or Real Women Have Curves. However, if you’re interested in something more recent, in the past two years or so there has been a veritable avalanche of films that touch on the issue.
7 Soles, which depicts the plight of a group of migrants crossing the Sonoran desert, helps viewers better understand the sheer horror some immigrants are willing to endure to come to this country.
Crossing Over, starring Harrison Ford as an ICE officer, is about immigrants of several nationalities struggling to achieve legal status in Los Angeles. The film deals with border issues, document fraud, the asylum and green card process, work-site enforcement, and the clash of cultures.
Goodbye Solo is the story of an unlikely friendship between Solo, a struggling but happy cab driver from Senegal, and William, a tormented southern man with secrets.
El Nacional, is the story about four children and their adult brother as they desperately race across Texas for survival. They are running because their parents, undocumented for 30 years, were caught, arrested and thrown in jail in one fell swoop. Deportation is only a matter of time.
Letters From The Other Side interweaves video letters carried across the U.S./Mexico border by the film's director, with the personal stories of women and families left behind in post-NAFTA Mexico.
Los Trabajadores is a documentary that follows the lives of immigrants Ramon and Juan, and the controversy surrounding the day labor center where they wait for work each day.
Sin Nombre follows Sayra, a Honduran teen, and El Caspar, a former Mexican gang member, on an odyssey across the Latin American countryside en route to the US. Together they must rely on faith, trust and street smarts if they are to survive their increasingly perilous journey towards the hope of new lives.
Under the Same Moon/La Misma Luna is a Spanish-language film that chronicles the story of a boy who crosses the Mexican/US border to reunite with his mother who is living in Los Angeles.
The Visitor is about a professor whose life is changed by his relationship with an undocumented immigrant who is subsequently placed in detention pending deportation.
For a more comprehensive list, click here.
- Emergency Response
- Immigration and Refugees
- Sager Brown Depot
- UMCOR Field Offices
Marshell and Tamarah Claude* - ages fifteen and fourteen respectively - fled Haiti in July 1998. Due to the perceived political connections of their father Reynaud*, a former mayor of their province, the entire Claude family suffered continuous harassment and even physical violence following a change in Haiti’s political landscape in the early 1980’s.
In 1996, Reynaud went into hiding where he remained until he was discovered in June 1998. Marshell, Tamarah and their two brothers managed to escape capture and sought refuge at their aunt’s house. Upon arrival, they found her preparing to flee the country and decided it would be wise for the children to join her in exile. In preparation, the two boys returned to their parents’ home to gather some belongings to take with them. It is unknown what became of them but the boys never returned to their aunt’s home.
It was not until Marshell and Tamarah began their sea voyage that they discovered that they were bound for the United States. While at sea, a man identified Marshell as the mayor’s daughter and started harassing her. Her aunt came to her defense, but was thrown overboard and never seen again. The men then took Marshell below decks and raped her repeatedly while Tamarah stood helplessly by. After suffering this ordeal, they were befriended by Odette*, a passenger on the boat. Upon arrival in Miami, Marshell and Tamarah stayed with Odette and her daughter until they were able to contact their cousin Rachael.
In 2001, the sisters moved to Omaha, NE and contacted JFON for assistance in submitting their asylum applications. Those applications were denied and they were placed in removal proceedings. JFON appealed that decision and Marshell and Tamarah were scheduled for individual hearings on March 2, 2009 where their asylum petition would again be considered. On September 18, 2009, the immigration judge issued a decision in their favor. They cried in excitement and joy when they received the news. The two will be able to apply for their residency after one year of their grant of asylum.
Sadly, the disappearances of their father and brothers remain unresolved and their family continues to receive death threats.
*not their real names.