JFON Network Update
JFON West Michigan Chosen for City’s Social Justice Award
The City of Holland, Michigan’s Human Relations Commission selected JFON West Michigan as one of five recipients of its 2010 Social Justice Award. The annual awards recognize programs and individuals that provide exemplary service to the community, promoting equal opportunity and social justice for all. Read More.
JFON Southeast Michigan Celebrates Anniversary, Opens Second Clinic
JFON Southeast Michigan (JFON-SEMI) marked its first year of service with a holiday party at its December 2010 Dearborn clinic and a community fundraiser at Ypsilanti First UMC. The latter featured a traditional Salvadoran dinner and a concert by Singers of United Lands, whose members hail from different countries.
On January, 25, JFON-SEMI opened its second clinic, at the Baldwin Center in Pontiac, MI. The Pontiac clinic is the first of JFON’s 29 clinics not to be held in a church. The Baldwin Center is a multi-service agency and the mission outpost for the broader United Methodist community in the area. The JFON clinic is supported by Grace and Peace UMC and Birmingham First UMC. Some 15 volunteers from the two churches, the Pontiac community, and Cooley Law School participated in a volunteer training.
Clinic Coordinators’ First Quarterly Conference Call
In an effort to coordinate the sharing of information and resources among JFON clinic coordinators, the national staff has introduced quarterly clinic coordinators conference calls. The first call will be held on February 7, beginning at 7:00pm EST/6:00pm CST/4:00pm PST. For more information, contact Cheryl Pierce (212) 870-3805 or CPierce@gbgm-umc.org
JFON Leadership Summit: April 15 – 16, 2011, in Nashville, TN
The JFON national staff is grateful for the many responses to and suggestions from our leadership summit survey. Watch for the summit agenda and registration form. For more information, contact Alice Mar at (212) 870-3806 or Amar@gbgm-umc.org
Western Jurisdiction Immigration Training Event – A Call to Radical Hospitality
The Western Jurisdiction presented “A Call to Radical Hospitality,” an immigration training event, to equip, inspire, and mobilize leaders for just and compassionate immigration reform. JFON Director Panravee Vongjaroenrat offered a workshop introducing Justice for Our Neighbors. Read More.
After the event, the Western Jurisdiction decided to form an Immigration Task Force and the Rocky Mountain Conference issued a call for interest and participation in an immigration ministry. Read More.
Local Methodist Church Responds To Immigration Raid
In the wake of a surprise immigration sweep through normally quiet Ellensburg in eastern Washington, First United Methodist Church has become the center of the community’s support for dozens of families affected by arrests. Read More.
Web course: Sacred scripture, the religious, community, and immigration, April 25 – June 17, 2011
Jim Perdue, National Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministry missionary assigned to the Desert-Southwest Annual Conference, will present a free web course on the intersection of faith and immigration. It will explore various scriptures as well as the book Christians at the Border.
The course is open to persons who commit to leading at least one related study in their congregation, region, or religious community. Please feel free share this invitation. For more information and to register, contact Jim at email@example.com
States Set to Copy Arizona’s Controversial Immigration Law, SB 1070
According to early estimates by the National Immigration Forum, at least six states (Georgia, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Tennessee) are likely to pursue state laws similar to Arizona’s SB 1070. Read More. Mississippi’s Senate and House of Representatives have already passed an immigration bill modeled on the Arizona law. South Dakota Republicans plan to unveil one by the end of January; and Republicans in Virginia’s House of Delegates unveiled a package of 16 bills targeting undocumented immigrants. On a positive note, the Wyoming House committee has defeated a copy-cat bill.
The Center for American Progress (CAP) released a report entitled “Unconstitutional and Costly: The High Price of Local Immigration Enforcement,” which details the economic toll that local anti-immigrant ordinances have had on five communities. Download the report here. However, the true cost of such measures goes beyond dollars, said CAP. Read more.
More Bills Seek Crackdown on Immigration
About a dozen immigration-related bills have been filed so far in the new Congress. Most of them are aimed at cracking down on immigrants, both documented and undocumented. Read More. Additionally, House Republicans have said that they'll use their new majority to press for more aggressive enforcement without any path to legal status.
The resolution introduced by Senators David Vitter (R-Louisiana) and Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) for example, would alter the Constitution so that people born on American soil would not have automatic citizenship rights. Read more here or here.
Upcoming Webinar: Advocacy Activities for Organizations on the Ground – Feb. 22, 2011, 2:00 PM EST
The Immigration Advocates Network will present a webinar on administrative advocacy for individuals and organizations assisting immigrant communities that face increased enforcement activities and other challenges. For more information and to register for this free webinar, click here.
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Helping a client break a 25-year cycle of violence
While still in high school in Honduras, Alicia* fell in love with and married American-born Noel* and gave birth to a daughter, Elena. Soon after they graduated, Noel decided to move his family to California. When Alicia opposed the move, Noel threatened to take Elena and told Alicia she would never see her daughter again. Reluctantly, Alicia allowed herself to be smuggled into the country in the trunk of Noel’s car. Later, Noel excused his threats, saying he thought it was the only way to keep the family together.
The relationship continued to deteriorate, however, and Noel psychologically and physically abused Alicia. He denied her birth control, and she had several more children. He threatened her with the permanent loss of her children if she were to leave him and return to Honduras.
Noel refused to apply for permanent residency on Alicia’s behalf. When Alicia’s U.S.-citizen sister petitioned for her, Noel returned the correspondence, claiming Alicia did not live at that address.
By forcing Alicia into a legally precarious situation and threatening her with the loss of her children, Noel maintained control over her and continued to abuse her. Isolated and dependent on him for financial support, Alicia saw no way out.
When she was five-months pregnant with their fifth child, Noel pushed her down the stairs and then raped her throughout the night. The next morning, hemorrhaging severely, Alicia was taken to the hospital and gave birth prematurely to a son, who suffers profound mental and physical disabilities.
Things turned around for Alicia when she found JFON Southwest Texas (JFON-SWTX). JFON-SWTX helped her apply for permanent residency and work authorization under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The VAWA allows abused women to petition for residency without relying on the support of their abuser.
Thanks to JFON’s team of attorneys and volunteers from Pharr United Methodist Church and the community, and to the support of United Methodist congregations and individual donors, Alicia has broken a 25-year cycle of abuse.
*Not their real names