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

First Monday

November 2011

JFON Network Update

National JFON Update

UMCOR’s board of directors approved a slate of nine inaugural board members of the new National JFON at its October board meeting. This milestone is the first of many, as National JFON will soon be separately incorporated after being administered by UMCOR since 1999.

National JFON will retain a strong relationship with UMCOR via its own board of directors. The new board will hold its first meeting before the end of 2011 and soon afterward will complete work on its bylaws and terms for its directors and officers.

Brynne Howard, JFON Iowa Attorney Commissioned

On Oct. 1Brynne Howard Commissioning1, 2011, Brynne was commissioned as a Church and Community Worker missionary of The United Methodist Church at a service during the annual meeting of directors of the General Board of Global Ministries, the mission agency of the denomination. “I have really appreciated the opportunity to meet and learn from the other Church and Community Workers and the eight other international missionaries. I am looking forward to continuing my work as a JFON Attorney,” says Brynne. Read more.


JFON Arkansas holds Citizenship Classes

In partnership with Village Commons, JFON-AR is hosting weekly citizenship classes in Little Rock. Using materials from the USCIS Citizenship Resource Center to prepare presentations on history and civics and aided by their JFON regional attorney, volunteers teach as well as lead activities, discussions, and review sessions.


Advocacy Update

Commemorate International Migrant Day – December 18

The United Nations has declared December 18 as a day to highlight the experiences and human rights of migrants. The United Methodist Interagency Taskforce on Immigration and United Methodist Women are assembling a packet of resources for reflection, worship, and action, which may be useful to commemorate this day. If you are interested in receiving these materials once they are completed, please email

The Harsh Truth about Immigration Detention

According to a National Immigration Forum report, on any given day, more than 33,000 migrants, including 1,400 asylum seekers fleeing persecution, are detained in the US. They are frequently held in conditions that fall below international standards, and denied due process. It currently costs approximately $166/day to detain an immigrant. For 2012, the House of Representatives has approved a budget of $2.75 billion for Detention and Removal – over $184 million more than 2011 and enough for ICE to keep 34,000 immigrants detained at any one time.

Although ICE says that its policy is to prioritize apprehension and detention of individuals convicted of serious criminal offenses, 65% of immigrants who were detained and deported from 1996 to 2006 had been arrested for nonviolent crimes. In 2009 and 2010, more than half of all immigrant detainees had no criminal records. Of those with any criminal history, nearly 20% were for traffic offenses.

Learn more:
Read LIRS’s recently released report, Unlocking Liberty that examines the immigrant detention system and community based-alternatives.

Read the New York Times’ latest article on the business of detention, and learn how companies are using the immigration crackdown to turn a profit.

Watch “Lost in Detention,” a Frontline examination of the Obama administration’s controversial get-tough immigration policy.

Listen to a webcast of a United Nations forum called “Strengthening Asylum in the US,” which included a panel discussion of the detention of asylum seekers.

Take Action:
Join the campaign to encourage the UMC to divest itself of investments in the for-profit Corrections Corporation of America and The GEO Group. Currently there are 452 United Methodists signed on to the petition. Join here.

Join the Detention Watch Network’s Dignity Not Detention campaign against the mandatory detention of immigrants awaiting deportation hearings—more than 200,000 every year—without any individual assessment of their risk to public safety or their vulnerability in detention.