JFON Network Update
JFON to be Featured in 10-Fold Campaign, August 10, 2011
On August 10th at 12:00 p.m. (EDT), www.10-fold.org will host an hour-long webcast featuring JFON volunteers, former clients and staff. Invite your friends, family and colleagues to join us and learn more about what JFON is doing.
Clinic Coordinators’ Conference Call July 14, 2011
The second quarterly conference call for JFON clinic coordinators is scheduled for July 14 at 6:00 p.m. (EDT). The call will focus on advocacy. We hope all JFON clinic coordinators can participate.
JFON Southwest Texas (JFON-SWTX) Welcomes New Attorney
Sandra Salazar joined JFON-SWTX on June 20, 2011. Originally from the Kansas City area, she received a bachelor’s degree in international relations and political science from Drake University and a J.D. from University of Texas, Austin. JFON-SWTX is poised to expand its program. Read more or watch this video.
JFON West Michigan Receives Peacemaker Award
At the annual meeting of the West Michigan Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church in June, JFON West Michigan was awarded the Peacemaker of the Year Award. This Conference Board of Church and Society award is given to an individual or a group that best exemplifies peacemaking in the name of Christ. Read more.
JFON Attorney Ordained a Deacon
Trish Pegram, JFON Attorney for the Peace and Justice Clinic in Charlotte, NC, was ordained a deacon in full connection in the Western North Carolina Annual Conference, June 11, 2011. Trish’s primary appointment is to the Peace and Justice Clinic’s JFON ministry.
Farewell Amy Spaur
After serving with JFON North-Central Texas for more than four years, Amy Spaur left in June to pursue full-time study at Southern Methodist University. She has done a great deal to promote JFON, immigration education, and advocacy. Read more.
The General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR)Announces $300,000 in New Grants
The GCORR Action Fund, through its Racial Justice Grant for Clergy leadership, is offering grants of up to $20,000 for clergy and programs within districts and annual conferences that support efforts to dismantle racism by promoting the values of diversity, inclusiveness, multiculturalism, and cross-racial/cross-cultural work. This grant can be used for, but is not limited to: education; multicultural training projects that raise awareness about and take action against racism; and support for pastors entering or serving in cross-racial/cross-cultural appointments.
A separate grant aims to support United Methodist seminaries and is funded by the same source.
North Alabama Bishop Opposes Anti-Immigrant Bill
In early June, the governor of Alabama signed into law the most punitive anti-immigrant bill in the country. It would institutionalize racial profiling; block undocumented children from school; and criminalize church workers and others who assist undocumented workers. Several organizations have filed for a stay of the law (scheduled to go into effect in September) and are taking steps to file a lawsuit on constitutional grounds.
In response, North Alabama Bishop William Willimon called on pastors within the conference to speak out against the law and sign a letter to the governor which will be hand delivered by conference leaders. Read more.
Defeating Florida Anti-Immigrant Bill
Thanks to the efforts of faith communities who worked together to organize groups to go to the state capitol over the course of many weeks, an Arizona-style immigration bill was defeated in Florida. Efforts included prayer vigils, a children’s march, testimonies, and visits with legislators. Read more.
Senate Subcommittee Holds First-Ever Hearing on DREAM Act
On June 28, 2011, the US Senate held its first ever hearing on the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. Several dozen students in their caps and gowns attended the hearing, despite their status as undocumented immigrants. Senator Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, introduced several who had demonstrated excellence in many facets of life but were unable to gain employment in their chosen field.
The hearing also featured a cadre of Obama administration officials who testified that passing the legislation would allow law enforcement to focus on undocumented immigrants convicted of crimes, while infusing the ailing economy with well-educated talent.
“I ask my colleagues to consider the plight of these young people who find themselves in a legal twilight zone through no fault of their own,” Durbin said. “They are willing to serve our country if we would only give them a chance.”
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill Reintroduced
In late June, Senators Menendez (D-NJ), Durbin (D-Ill.), Reid (D-NV), Schumer (D-NY), Gillibrand (D-NY), and Leahy (D-VT), re-introduced a comprehensive immigration reform bill. The bill includes measures to strengthen border security, enhance worksite enforcement of immigration laws, and requires that the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States register with the government, pay taxes, learn English, pay a fine, pass a background check, and wait in line for permanent residence. Learn More.
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2010 | 2011
Nelson Alvarez* was born in a poor Mayan community in Guatemala in 1993. His father abandoned the family when Nelson was young, and his mother worked hard to support Nelson and his siblings. Local gangs began trying to recruit Nelson when he was 15. He knew there would be severe consequences regardless of whether or not he joined, so Nelson fled Guatemala for the United States. He was arrested at the border and placed in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) because of his young age. The ORR notified his aunt Camille*, who lived in Nebraska, of the situation and released him into her custody.
Having heard of JFON, Camille brought Nelson to one of JFON’s clinics in Columbus. JFON began working on securing a guardianship order in favor of Camille so that Nelson could be eligible for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. Nelson attended his immigration interview on May 13, 2011, and was granted permanent residency by the end of the month.
Nelson is presently completing high school and plans to attend college. He is a hardworking young man who has endured many hardships. He is very grateful for the countless volunteers and staff members who welcomed him and helped him secure his status.
*not their real names