JFON Network Update
JFON Model Change Update: National JFON Board
Over the summer, a board-nominating committee was hard at work prospecting and reviewing possible nominees to National JFON’s first board of directors. After numerous conference calls, the committee selected nine people to sit on this board. These names will be brought to UMCOR’s board of directors at their semi-annual meeting in October for approval and official appointment. If approved, the new National JFON board will begin its work immediately.
JFON Northern Illinois Hires Attorney
Founded in April 2011, JFON-N.IL has hired Jenny Ansay as their regional attorney. Jenny comes to JFON with significant experience in immigration law. She worked with the DePaul Asylum and Immigration Law Clinic as a student advocate, U visa project supervisor, and temporary staff attorney. During law school, she also volunteered with ProBAR, an organization located on the U.S.-Mexico border that provides free legal services to immigrants in detention in Southern Texas. Jenny received her Juris Doctor from the DePaul University College of Law in 2010 with a certificate in public interest law.
The daughter of immigrants from Poland, Jenny has firsthand knowledge of the struggles immigrant families face as they seek paths to lawful status. She is eager to welcome many more immigrants into our churches and communities in Northern Illinois, saying, "I am extremely pleased and blessed to be able to help clients navigate the often complicated and confusing immigration process."
Please Join the Clinic Coordinators’ Conference Call on October 27
The recent quarterly Clinic Coordinators’ conference call in July stimulated productive conversation on advocacy. The JFON national staff hopes that all clinic coordinators will join the next call on Friday, Oct. 27 at 6 pm EDT.
Don't miss out on DREAM Sabbath! – September 16 to October 9
So far, more than 100 United Methodist churches, United Methodist Women circles, Sunday School classes, and Wesley Foundations have signed up to participate in the DREAM Sabbath campaign! GBCS’ goal is to have 200 United Methodist- related entities participate.
Don't miss out: It's not too late to sign up !
Visit the Interfaith Immigration website to learn more about DREAM Sabbath and download the event toolkit, which includes DREAMers’ stories, sermon starters, faith reflections on DREAM, and other resources to help you plan your DREAM Sabbath.
New Documentary – Gospel without Borders
Gospel without Borders brings more light and less heat to the issue of immigration. It separates myth from fact, examines what the Bible says about treating the "stranger," shows the experiences of documented and undocumented immigrants, and provides handles for Christians to advance the common good.
The documentary highlights stories in five states: Arizona, Arkansas, North Carolina, Alabama, and Iowa. Some stories break the heart; others inspire the spirit. Still others challenge the mind. But all come together and show that the Christian gospel is indeed without borders. Click here to learn more or view the dates and locations of upcoming screenings. Purchase the video here.
Immigration Raid Outside Detroit Church Sparks Outrage
On July 25, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents staged a raid on the grounds of St. Anne Catholic Church in Detroit, MI, during religious services. CBP agents handcuffed and detained a Latino man on the church grounds, but he was later released because he was living in the U.S. legally, said Ryan Bates, director of the Michigan office of the Alliance for Immigrants’ Rights and Reform.
Advocates and religious leaders claim that this raid is the latest incident of profiling of the Latino community. Three Latino social service groups say federal agents stalk and harass their clients. And parents dropping off their kids at a predominantly Latino school in Detroit were targeted in March.
"It is completely inappropriate for Border Patrol to be at a church during Mass," said the Rev. Tom Sepulveda, pastor of St. Anne Church in Detroit. "There are simply some places that should be sacred. No one should be afraid to come to church." Read more.
REEL Images of Immigration: A Movie Guide
Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform has created "REEL Images of Immigration," a guide to help churches, friends, and individuals engage with issues surrounding our national immigration system and policy. Many Christians are already involved in caring for their immigrant neighbors, but have questions about how to fix the system. The film guide helps spark conversation, discussion, and reflection about why and how we should work for reform. Download the guide here.
Understanding link between racism and immigration enforcement
Checkpoint Nation? Building Community Across Borders is a new video by Rights Working Group and the human rights group Breakthrough. It documents harassment, racial profiling, and immigration enforcement at the US – Mexico border, while highlighting growing multiracial solidarity in the struggle for justice. This video may be used to start a conversation in your community. View the video here.
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2010 | 2011
Haroon’s* mother, Naisha, and sister, Lisa, are both US citizens, but he has been waiting since 2000 for an immigrant visa. Although he attended a visa interview early this year, his case was put on hold due to increased demand for visas from those in higher preference categories. As a married child or sibling of a US citizen from India, the waiting time for a visa is currently about 11 to 12 years.
This summer, the situation became desperate as his mother’s health began to fail, and they faced the possibility of Naisha’s* imminent death. Naisha suffers from heart trouble, kidney failure, and weak lungs. As a Hindu, Haroon’s role in his mother’s passing is paramount. Once his mother passes away, it is his responsibility to perform the cremation ceremony. Pursuant to one of the Hindu scriptures, a son can protect the deceased from going to hell if he is present at the time of death. The son also must perform other post-cremation ceremonies to prevent the parent from being reborn in lower places. The absence of Naisha’s son brought shame to her and her family.
Haroon desperately wanted to see his mother before her death and fulfill his role in ushering her into her next phase. However, since he had an outstanding immigration application filed on his behalf by his sister, he was ineligible to enter the US until that immigrant visa became available.
Lisa contacted JFON West Michigan, to ask if there was any way to bring Haroon to the US so that he could be with his mother in her last days. JFON filed a petition for humanitarian parole, asking the government to allow Haroon to enter the US for a brief period of time to be with his mother. JFON included letters from Naisha’s doctors explaining her bleak prognosis for recovery, as well as letters from her and Lisa explaining how important it was to their family and their religion for Haroon to be with his mom at this critical time.
This month, the government approved Haroon's application and gave him 6 months to fulfill the role of eldest son to his dying mother. Lisa emailed JFON recently with this update: "My brother arrived last night in Grand Rapids, and my mother got very emotional when she saw him. She was so happy and could not stop crying." Lisa added that Naisha's condition has even improved slightly.
*not their real names