NJFON statement on the Executive Order

[The statement below is quoted in full from National Justice for Our Neighbors.]

Dear Friends,

Please see this video and story from The Intercept about Austin JFON legal director Virginia Raymond‘s efforts to help a mother seek asylum and reunite with her five-year-old son. Mother and child had been forcibly separated at the border.

This is one of the first known parent and child reunions since the Trump administration rolled out its “zero tolerance” policy in April.

Delia and her son are two of the lucky ones. “As happy as I am for this family,” says Virginia, “I am heartbroken for the others.”

Read more in The Mother and Child Reunion.

Yesterday, reversing a draconian policy his own administration created, President Trump issued an Executive Order announcing that parents and children apprehended at the border will no longer be separated.

These families will instead be detained together. While it is essential for the well-being of children that they remain with their parents, this order keeps in place the “zero-tolerance” policy that criminally prosecutes individuals for migration-related offenses.

It will also likely violate the Flores Settlement, a 1997 immigration court case which mandates 20-day time limits for detaining children. This means that parents and children will still be unjustly criminalized and imprisoned for seeking asylum. This Executive Order is immoral and undermines real solutions to family separation while continuing to violate the rights of refugees seeking legal asylum.

And so we have moved from one crisis to another.

The 2,000+ children who have been split apart from their parents by the federal government remain separated. We cannot overlook the gross negligence that the government has exhibited throughout this fiasco with no plan for keeping track of the children or for assisting with the reunification process. We have no reason to believe that this executive order is more sound or humane than the original plan.

National Justice for Our Neighbors condemns policies that jail families, together or separately, mandates expedited court proceedings for those seeking asylum, and limits access to legal representation or any hope for justice.

While the details of this new executive order are unclear, we know the legal needs of these detained families will be overwhelming. Our JFON network will continue our mission to safeguard justice for all.

We need your help! Here are some ways to join us and get involved now:

1. Volunteer:

  • If you are not a lawyer, Immigration Advocates Network (IAN) and partners created to connect volunteers to opportunities and resources. You can sign yourself up under “the pledge” section and indicate your skills and interests. Under the “volunteer” tab, you will also find a guide to national volunteer opportunities, a page on national volunteer programs and other/local initiatives, basic legal information, and a calendar of training sessions.
  • If you are a lawyer, you can join more than 1,000 attorneys who have already signed up to volunteer to do legal work for immigrants separated from their children here.
  • If you are in Texas or willing to travel there, you can volunteer with local organizations. Sacred Heart Church of McAllen, Texas, NETA, ProBAR, and the Texas Civil Rights Project are just some of the organizations that need assistance. Please refer to the Families Belong Together Guide on How to Help for more details.

2. Join the June 30th Mass Mobilization:

  • Click here to find events near you on June 30th or to register your event.
  • Click here for more information on the June 30th mobilization in Washington, DC

3. Donate:

You can donate directly to National Justice for Our Neighbors:

  • Click “Yes, this is an honor gift.”
  • Type “Texas” as the honoree.

We will direct the funds to our sites in Texas that have immediate costs serving affected clients, including staffing, international phone calls, FedEX mailings, travel to detention centers and immigration court, laptops, and much more. Your tax-deductible gift will also support our network’s long-term casework for these parents and children.

Thank you,

Rob Rutland-Brown
Executive Director
National Justice for Our Neighbors

Love conquers the border

David and Blanca met the summer they were both 15. His family spent the summer in Mexico in the town where Blanca lived. It was an ideal summer romance, complete with walks on the beach and horseback riding in the mountains. They stayed in touch for a short while, but life took them in other directions.

Blanca married and had two children, living an upper-middle-class life in Mexico. Meanwhile David joined the US Army. He served with distinction, including tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, retiring due to medical issues in 2007. David laughs when he talks about the aimless years after the Army, when he lived wherever he could find the best surfing. His drifting led him to Mexico, where friends re-introduced him to Blanca, now divorced with two children. Their teenage summer romance rekindled!

After David moved to Dallas he and Blanca continued their now-long-distance romance for three years. On Valentine’s Day 2016 David surprised Blanca by proposing. JFON became a part of this love story when David asked for help petitioning for his new wife and step-children to receive their green cards. After large amounts of paperwork, it is a pleasure to report that David and Blanca will be going to the United States Customs and Immigration Service for their interview any day now. They will have no trouble proving the validity of their marriage, with a courtship that began so long ago. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Be a Champion for Justice – Oct 22 Fundraiser!

Join us on Sunday, October 22nd from 4-7 p.m. at the Two Brothers Roundhouse in Aurora for our 6th Annual NIJFON fundraiser.  Help us honor this year’s Champions for Justice Awardees: the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and immigration attorney/JFON board member Sara Dady and celebrate JFON’s work from the last year.

Sunday, Oct. 22
4 – 7 pm
Two Brothers Roundhouse
205 N Broadway Ave

For information on tickets and sponsorships, please click here

To download an order form to mail in, please click Sponsor-ticket order form

The Illusion of Inclusion: The many broken promises made to Haitian Refugees


Article by Mannis Wesley III

Per the United Nations Human High Commissioner for Refugee Rights  (UNHCR), there are 63.5 million people (1 out of 113 people) who are refugees worldwide.  While some refugees receive the aid and service they need to turn their lives around, other refugees are not so fortunate.  Some refugees get denied services based on racial ethnicity, political interests, and economic status. The Haitian refugee crisis depicts this unfortunate circumstance. Studies have shown that Haitian refugees have experienced systematic and physical abuse for years without many repercussions. Agencies have failed to abide the policies of the 1951 UN Refugee Convention. This article will explore the plight of Haitian refugees in Brazil and in the United States and the many fallacies of their policies that are suppose to serve in the best interest of ALL Refugees but don’t. Continue reading “The Illusion of Inclusion: The many broken promises made to Haitian Refugees”