JFON Network Update
Welcome Brynne Howard, New Church and Community Worker JFON Iowa
Brynne Howard joined Iowa JFON on February 28, immediately after her Iowa Bar Examination. Currently, she is assisting Gary Walters, JFON Regional Attorney for Eastern Iowa, and is expected to assume the position of JFON Regional Attorney for Western Iowa when she receives her license. Brynne, an Iowa native, attended St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN. She studied Political Science and Women’s Studies and was active in ESL and mentoring of Latino youth. After college, Brynne worked as a domestic abuse advocate at a shelter in Des Moines and as a case manager for the Iowa JFON office. She graduated from Drake Law School with highest honors in December 2010. She took the bar exam in February 2011 and is currently awaiting results.
Mayuris Pimentel, who has served as JFON Regional Attorney for Central Florida (Orlando and Clearwater) from June 2008 until March 2011, is assuming a new role today as JFON Regional Attorney for Baltimore-Washington (BWC). In taking the BWC JFON position, Mayuris will be moving closer to her family’s roots in Camden, NJ. Prior to her role in Florida, she had served as Regional Attorney for the JFON project in New Jersey (no longer JFON) from 2001 – 2003 and, therefore, has had a great deal of history and experience with JFON.
The position of JFON Regional Attorney for Central Florida is currently open and listed at AILA website: http://careers.aila.org/jobs#/detail/4087651.
JFON Leadership Summit: April 15 – 16, 2011 In Nashville, TN
JFON Leadership Summit – usually known as JFON network meeting – will be held on April 15 – 16 in Nashville, TN. The meeting will feature a discussion of the impending JFON model change, many workshops including fundraising, messaging, advocacy, and more.
JFON Tennessee In the News
“We were all immigrants once, and we were all in need of neighbors and sanctuary. Spiritually, neighbors are the people who show mercy to the foreigner who has been beaten and left on the road to die. Acts of justice, mercy and kindness characterize good neighbors. Dolores and Kathryn were not likely neighbors, but thanks to Justice for Our Neighbors, they are strangers no longer,” wrote Rev. Kaki Frikics-Warren, chair of the Nashville JFON board, in her article, Strangers No Longer, Justice for Our Neighbors, published online at Her Nashville. Read more at http://hernashville.com/spirit/strangers-no-longer-justice-our-neighbors
Also read about Adrienne Schlichtemier, JFON-TN Regional Attorney, in the Vanderbilt Lawyer, at http://law.vanderbilt.edu/alumni/lawyer-vol39num1/service-schlichtemier.html
Religious Leaders Urge New Tone in Texas Immigration Debate
Leaders of Christian denominations in Texas, including five United Methodist bishops, joined with Jewish and Muslim clergy to call for compassion and mutual respect as lawmakers opened public testimony on Arizona-style immigration bills.
United Methodist Bishop James Dorff said, “We urge Texas legislators to reject policies that could encourage discrimination, co-opt local law enforcement, or scapegoat immigrants.” Read more.
The Economic Impact of Legalization Versus Deportation in Arizona
As Arizona approaches the one-year anniversary of the passage of SB 1070, the Immigration Policy Center and Center for American Progress released a new report, A Rising Tide or a Shrinking Pie, which examines two very different futures for Arizona's economy.
In the first scenario, the proponents of SB 1070 achieve their stated goals and all current unauthorized immigrants leave the state—taking their labor, their spending power, and their tax dollars with them. In the second scenario, unauthorized immigrants are offered a pathway to legal status, thereby enabling them to earn higher wages, spend more, and pay more in taxes. To listen to a recording of a briefing on the paper click here.
Immigration Reform and the Economy
According to a report by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, From Brawn to Brains, immigrants help fuel the US economy by boosting economic productivity and entrepreneurship. While public attention has focused mainly on low-skilled immigrant workers, the number of highly skilled immigrants actually grew faster over the past 15 years. Highly skilled immigrants filled critical jobs in the science, engineering, information technology, and health care sectors as well as fostered innovation and created high-tech businesses. The report warns that unless the American government enacts immigration reform, the US, "risks falling behind in the global race for talent." Read a summary of the report.
Update on State Immigration Legislation
According to the National Council of State Legislatures, 28 states have introduced 45 immigration bills so far this year.
In March, both the Oklahoma and Georgia Houses of Representatives passed Arizona-style bills; now pending in their respective Senates. States where Arizona-style bills have already passed in both their Houses and Senates include: Mississippi , South Carolina , and Utah.
Happily, copy-cat bills were defeated in Colorado, Iowa, Kentucky, Nebraska, New Hampshire, and Wyoming. Read this USA Today article, which discusses various tactics utilized by advocacy groups in combating proposed anti-immigration state laws or click here for resources.
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2010 | 2011
Elissandra*, a single mother struggling to support her young daughter Mia* met Tomas* in Guatemala. Wooed by his kindness, they soon married and began a life together.
Not long after they were married, Tomas began to abuse Elissandra. Whenever she tried to leave him, he would beat her severely. Ashamed of her situation, she concealed the abuse and endured Tomas’ growing cruelty.
Unable to support his growing family, which now included three children, Tomas left his family in Guatemala and came to the US in search of work. A few years later, in 2002, Elissandra brought their three children to join Tomas because she did not want her children to grow up without a father. She also knew that they would have more opportunities in the US.
Elissandra soon found work and resumed her relationship with Tomas, hoping he had changed. However, the abuse continued. Whenever Elissandra threatened to call the police or run away he would choke her and threaten to kill her.
Finally, in 2005 a neighbor heard Tomas abusing her and came to the rescue. With the support of this neighbor, Elissandra pressed charges against Tomas, obtained an Order of Protection and began divorce proceedings. Since Elissandra assisted the police in investigating and prosecuting Tomas for his crimes against her, she became eligible to apply for a U-Visa, thereby enabling her to gain lawful permanent residency.
Elissandra and the children were granted interim U Visa status while other paperwork and applications were filed. When they came to JFON in 2009, they were still in an interim status and unsure about how to move to the next stage. JFON worked with Elissandra to file waivers of their immigration violations and to renew their interim status until they finally received their U visas in early 2010.
JFON successfully assisted Elissandra and her children in applying for residency. With her green card, Elissandra was able to visit her family in Guatemala who she hadn’t seen in many years.
In the past 5 years since leaving Tomas, Elissandra has opened a cleaning company and has learned English. Her children are all excelling in school, and she’s excited about the opportunities that are available to them as residents of the U.S.
*Not their real names