UMCOR / Our Work / Immigration and Refugees / Justice for Our Neighbors / First Monday / Archives 2011

First Monday

August 2011

JFON Network Update

JFON to be Featured in 10-Fold Campaign, August 10, 2011

Launched in October 2010, 10-Fold is an online educational campaign developed by the General Board of Global Ministries to highlight UMCOR and other Advance projects.

Join us on August 10th at 12:00 PM (EDT) at www.10-fold.org for a webcast featuring JFON volunteers, former clients, and staff. Invite your friends, family, and colleagues to join and learn more about what JFON is doing.

JFON National Update

The UMCOR Directors adopted a resolution to separately incorporate the JFON ministry during their last meeting in April. JFON will become a member corporation (currently referred to as National JFON) with UMCOR being the sole member, thus maintaining the connection and support that UMCOR has long provided the JFON program. UMCOR’s JFON staff will be moved into this new entity.

This new structure will provide greater accountability, uniform policies and practices, and greater potential for growth. A key component of the change will be a strong board of directors, which will be responsible for providing leadership, strategic governance, advice, and direction to the staff and volunteers of the organization.

We have been hard at work creating a foundation for the new organization since April. A board nominating committee, consisting of UMCOR executives and representatives from both the UMCOR board and the JFON network has been in conversation about the make-up of National JFON’s founding board. The committee hopes to present a slate of potential board members to the UMCOR board at their October 2011 meeting for approval.

Advocacy Update

United Methodist Leaders Urge Unaltered DREAM Act

Bishops Minerva Carcaño (Phoenix Area) and Julius Trimble (Iowa), as well as Jim Winkler, chief executive of the General Board of Church & Society, sent a letter to the US Senate Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security, urging them to pass the DREAM Act without significant alteration. Read more.

“We believe it is immoral to create a permanent second class of citizens who do not have access to full citizenship, and we do not support calls for legislation that would do so,” the United Methodists emphasized.

This letter was a response to other faith leaders who stated that their support for DREAM was contingent upon certain conditions being met. One of which was ensuring that the bill would not allow young adults who gain legal status to help their relatives gain legal status or enter the country. Read more.

Participate in DREAM Act Sabbath, Sept. 16 – Oct.9

Sen. Richard Durbin (far left) listens to United Methodist Bishop Minerva Carcaño’s comments about the DREAM Act during a press conference in the U.S. Capitol.

Bishop Minerva Carcaño and a coalition of interfaith leaders from across the country urged faith communities to commemorate a DREAM Act Sabbath. The observance, Sept. 16 to Oct. 9, will enlist churches, synagogues, and mosques across the country to dedicate time during or around their regular weekly worship service to a conversation about the DREAM Act. Learn more or read Bishop Carcaño's speech.

Visit the Interfaith Immigration Coalition website to sign up to participate. The Coalition will prepare a DREAM Act Sabbath packet, including a video, to assist faith leaders in educating and mobilizing their congregations. 

Legislation to Protect Families Affected by Detention Efforts Reintroduced

Introduced by Senators Franken (D-MN), Durbin (D-IL), Gillibrand (D-NY), and Klobuchar (D-MN), the Humane Enforcement and Legal Protections (HELP) for Separated Children Act would provide important protections for families who are at risk of separation by immigration enforcement actions. Protections include ensuring parents are allowed to communicate with their children, arrange for care, and participate in family court hearings.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) estimates that in 2011, it will detain over 440,000 migrants, more than twice the number of individuals detained 10 years ago. When DHS detains immigrant parents, their children are often left with no one to care for them. The Pew Hispanic Center estimates that there are 4.5 million children with undocumented parents living in the United States. Read the bill here.

President’s Speech Receives Cool Reception

President Obama’s speech before the annual meeting of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the nation’s largest Hispanic civil rights organization, touched on debt, jobs, immigration reform, the DREAM Act, and deportations. He took this opportunity to affirm his continued support for humane immigration reform and the DREAM Act while placing much of the blame for the Senate’s failure to act on the Republicans.

The audience was less than convinced and a group of students stood in silent protest of his policies during the President’s remarks. The Obama administration has deported over 1 million immigrants so far. At a news conference afterward, NCLR President Janet Murguía said Obama had failed the Latino community.

Read more or watch the speech.