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

First Monday

First Monday

March 2012

JFON Network Update

National JFON Becomes Independent

National Justice for Our Neighbors (NJFON) became separately incorporated in January from its parent organization, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). NJFON’s board of directors has nine members and three ex-officio officers.

“The members of this inaugural board are honored to have the opportunity to build a strong foundation that will catapult NJFON into its next stage of growth and development,” said John Redmond, NJFON’s board chair. “We know that we have a lot of work ahead of us, but we’re excited about the possibilities and the impact that we can have on such a vital and needed ministry.” Read more.

Advocacy Update

General Conference Action on Detention

The Interagency Task Force on Immigration is planning an action on detention during the upcoming General Conference in Tampa, Florida. The action, which will take place on April 28 at lunchtime, is still in its formative stages. For more information about how you can be involved in this event, please contact Alice at amar@gbgm-umc.org.

Take Action: National End Racial Profiling Advocacy Week, April 16-20, 2012

Racial profiling by law enforcement has long been a problem in the US. Incidences of racial profiling continue to rise due in part, to the increased number of border patrol agents, the proliferation of programs that engage state and local police in immigration enforcement, and Customs and Border Protection methods when admitting people to the US. Learn more or access an advocacy tool kit.

Update on State’s Restrictive Immigration Legislation

After the collapse of comprehensive immigration reform in 2007, state legislators introduced approximately 500 immigration-related bills. By 2008, that number had tripled to 1,562. By 2011, legislatures in all 50 states have considered at least one measure related to immigrants.

Proponents of these bills claim that the departure of unauthorized immigrants will save states millions of dollars and create jobs for US citizens. However, experience shows that the opposite can occur: the impact of the laws can hinder prospects for economic growth, and the costs of implementing, defending, and enforcing these laws can force taxpayers to pay millions of dollars. Read more.

Encouragingly, there have been recent signs that courts and state legislators are beginning to pull back on these costly bills. Read more.

In February, the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) launched a new, interactive web feature that highlights state and local immigration initiatives across the country. It provides practitioners, advocates, and the general public with legal and policy analyses, technical assistance, and advocacy tools. Read more or access the map.

New Regulations Create Protections for All Workers

The US Department of Labor (DOL) recently released a comprehensive set of H-2B guest worker regulations to protect all workers from discrimination, retaliation, and abusive practices. These regulations come in light of numerous news reports of egregious behavior on behalf of major employers that imported workers and subjected them to abusive labor practices. Read more.

“For too long, we’ve seen abusive employers that have imported foreign workers, often under false pretenses, forced them to work in subhuman conditions, and quashed any attempt to organize. These regulations remove the perverse incentive to abuse immigrant guest workers by raising the floor for all workers, guest workers, and citizen workers alike,” said Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center.