Our immigration work is forever challenging: there is a humanitarian crisis at the border with MPP, asylum bans, families in detention centers, separation of families, delays with immigration, increased request for evidence, public charge rule, elimination of fee waivers and increases in USCIS applications to name a few. Just when we thought it could not get much worse, we are hit with COVID-19 and everything that we just mentioned now has a new and more urgent meaning. The humanitarian crisis at the border is now heightened with migrants not only having to worry about what to eat and where to sleep but also about remaining healthy and free of the virus. By being denied entry into the country they are faced with inhumane situations in which they do not have access to resources that they need to remain safe and healthy. Families continue to be separated and cannot quarantine with their loved ones, uncertain of their family members health and fate.
As a local organization working on immigration legal services, we continue to serve our clients everyday-just a little differently now. As I write you this newsletter I am sitting in my daughter’s room while my husband keeps our two kids busy in another room. Our attorneys are working remotely and taking turns with legal staff to check into the office to pick up mail and send out important client documents. We have been on the phone with clients and with immigrants looking for services. We notice that many of them are asking for other services-like where to get help with utilities and questions related to COVID-19. Their immediate needs have shifted slightly as they struggle to keep their families safe and worry about being laid off work.
Through our rich network and dear partners, we are able to provide resources that may be available to them and we try to help in any way that we can. Our focus is on keeping connected with our clients and continuing to work on their cases as much as we can. Please read below for more information on the immigration courts and our legal work, resources available due to the virus and how you can help protect immigrants during this time of need and uncertainty.
Stay healthy and check in on your loved ones as much as you can.
Executive Director NIJFON
As our country now faces a national emergency, it’s important to stay calm and take serious precautionary measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
At NIJFON, we are closely monitoring the situation and our staff is actively implementing steps to protect our clients, our community, and ourselves against COVID-19. While we are not public health experts, NIJFON wants to be a source of information for our community.
Below please find a list of credible online sources like the CDC and other public health experts.
The CDC’s COVID-19 Website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/index.html…
The World Health Organization:
Protegiéndonos a nosotros mismos y a nuestra comunidad contra COVID-19
Como nuestro país ahora enfrenta una emergencia nacional, es importante mantener la calma y tomar medidas de precaución serias para prevenir la propagación del coronavirus. En NIJFON estamos monitoreando de cerca la situación y nuestro personal está implementando activamente pasos para proteger a nuestros clientes, nuestra comunidad a nosotros mismos contra COVID-19.
Si bien no somos expertos en salud pública, NIJFON quiere ser una fuente de información para nuestra comunidad. A continuación encontrará una lista de fuentes creíbles en línea como los CDC y otros expertos en salud pública.
The World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/es/home
[The statement below is quoted in full from National Justice for Our Neighbors.]
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.”
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!