JFON Network Update
JFON 10-Fold Day A Success
JFON is proud to announce that close to 4,000 people signed on to be advocates of JFON on Oct. 16. The day consisted of two client interviews – one a pastor in Baltimore, MD, and the other a survivor of domestic violence – and a live broadcast from the JFON clinic in Nashville, TN, including testimonies from volunteers. The overriding message was that JFON transforms the lives of not only our clients but also the individuals, churches, and annual conferences that participate in this ministry of hospitality and justice.
We are so thankful to have participated in this Advance initiative; it has been a wonderful opportunity to share the work and vision of JFON with the greater United Methodist Church. Our hope is that these efforts will spur Methodists to explore the denomination’s theological and spiritual impetus to walk alongside immigrants.
The archived webcasts are still available on the 10-Fold website. (http://www.10-fold.org/webcast/video/)
JFON urged to participate in GBCS’ Rapid Response Team
The General Board of Church and Society (GBCS) has stepped up its efforts to encourage all annual conferences to become more involved in the fight for just and humane immigration reform. Part of that effort includes the formation of a Rapid Response Team (RRT). The RRT is comprised of annual conference representatives who build teams that work to mobilize their conferences in support of immigration reform. The vision of the RRT is to empower the church to live incarnationally among immigrants and fight for the rights of immigrants. It does so by coordinating the advocacy and educational efforts of local UMC’s and Conferences and by providing appropriate trainings and materials.
GBCS has created a guide for starting an immigration task force. Download it here.
The New Year’s Resolution Drive is a current effort of the RRT. It will mobilize faith communities to become more educated about immigration issues and to push for legislative change in 2011. To learn more, download this one-pager.
To date, 26 out of the 63 US annual conferences are now represented on the RRT. To join or to learn more about how you or your conference can participate in the RRT, please contact Bill Mefford (email@example.com) or Michelle Thorne (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Methodist Delegation To Participate In International Dialogue On Migration
In support of the United Methodist Resolution on Global Migration, the General Board of Global Ministries and the Women’s Division are sending a delegation of 26 to attend the People’s Global Action on Migration (PGA) in Mexico City. The PGA has been initiated to supplement the Global Forum on Migration and Development, which is an assembly of governments that meets annually to discuss the themes of migration and development. The PGA seeks the inclusion of migrant organizations, migrant support organizations, unions, academia, development networks and organizations that are important voices in the discussions on migration policies. This year, the organizers are expecting 1,000 delegates from a wide range of regions and countries around the world.
Pre-Election Immigration Proposals
The Migration Policy Institute notes, “with the midterm elections looming and Congress about to adjourn, influential senators on both sides of the aisle introduced immigration and national security bills in September, prompting widespread speculation about the deeper political calculations underlying the measures.” For a full review of the legislative landscape since September, read the article here: http://www.migrationinformation.org/USfocus/display.cfm?id=802
Migration Policy Institute Opens Application For E Pluribus Unum Prizes
The E Pluribus Unum Prizes are a national awards program that provides four $50,000 prizes annually to exceptional initiatives that promote immigrant integration. The awards program is coordinated by the Migration Policy Institute's National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy. You can find more information regarding the application process here: http://www.migrationinformation.org/integrationawards/
Two Prominent Business Leaders Argue For Legalization Program
Rupert Murdoch, owner of Fox News, and Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City and owner of Bloomberg, LP, a financial news and information company – testified before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration that immigration reform and legalization of undocumented immigrants should be a top priority for the country. http://blogs.abcnews.com/thenote/2010/09/mayor-bloomberg-and-media-mogul-rupert-murdoch-push-for-immigration-reform.html
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Helping A Domestic Violence Survivor Find Safety
Noel Espinoza* was in his late teens when he left Mexico City to seek a better life in the US, entering without permission. It seemed like a dream come true when he fell in love with and married Cindy*, an American citizen. Sadly, Cindy soon began to physically and verbally abuse Noel. She appropriated his earnings to pay for her expenses. She used her power as a US citizen as a tool to keep Noel from telling others and refused to sign the necessary paperwork for him to receive his green card. In fact, she frequently threatened to call Immigration to have him deported if he contacted the police or reported the abuse to anyone.
Out of fear and shame, Noel suffered in silence until 2009 when he finally left his abusive marriage. Employees at the YMCA where he sought shelter referred him to JFON W. Michigan for help in resolving his immigration issues.
At the initial intake with JFON, Noel was dejected and scared. He explained that his wife was physically and verbally abusive to him.
As someone who suffered domestic violence, Noel was eligible for immigration relief under The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which was created by Congress to help undocumented immigrants who are caught in an abusive marriage with a US citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident.
JFON filed under this act on Noel’s behalf. He was approved, and in September JFON attended his green card interview in Detroit. The interview went well and Noel walked out of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service office as a Lawful Permanent Resident!
Noel said that he knows other male victims who are reluctant to come forward because of the cultural stigma surrounding domestic violence, He promises to share his story with his friends in hopes of helping them to escape a life of abuse as well.
*not his real name.