Justice for Our Neighbors Southeastern MIchigan (JFON-SEMI) is a faith-driven ministry, welcoming immigrants and refugees into our churches and communities by providing free, high-quality legal services to immigrants who cannot afford a private attorney. In addition, we are committed to providing education to both the immigrant community and the community at large, as well as opportunities to advocate for fair and humane laws and policies.

The JFON model was initiated by the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries in 1999 and has served thousands of immigrants throughout the United States via a broad network of JFON sites throughout the country.

JFON-SEMI was formed in 2009 and hosts monthly legal clinics in Dearborn, Detroit and Ypsilanti. Immigrants can seek our help by making an appointment at 734-709-1151.

Habla Español? Clic acá.



Immigration Forum 2017


Date & Time: Saturday, March 18, 2017, 3:00pm to 5:00pm

Where: Beverly Hills United Methodist Church
2000W. 13 Mile Rd., Beverly Hills, MI 48025

Come and be part of the discussion on current immigration issues, needs of immigrants, and what the United Methodist Church does through Justice for Our Neighbors (JFON).

All immigrants, refugees, community groups, congregations, and other individuals are welcome.

PLEASE NOTE: This is not a protest gathering; this forum is to provide education on issues surrounding immigrants and immigration. For more information, contact: ajballah@gmail.com or director@jfonsemi.org.


Update- Recent Immigration Orders

To learn about the Administration’s newly released orders impacting immigrants on Feb. 21, 2017 click here. Visit our Facebook page for timely updates and information on how you can respond and take action – Justice for Our Neighbors Southeastern Michigan

In response to the announced ban on travel issued by the President in late January, on Friday, February 3,2017 a federal court in the State of Washington issued a nationwide, temporary injunction barring the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Patrol from preventing persons with valid immigrant and nonimmigrant visas from entering the United States if they are/were nationals of the seven countries. The administration has vowed to file an emergency appeal.

In the meantime, this is a window of opportunity for people affected by the ban to travel to the United States. Please bear in mind that there is a potential risk (emotional, financial, etc.) as the administration is in the process of filing an appeal, which could close this window.
This link is a great resource tracking all of the ongoing litigation by law students at the University of Michigan:https://www.clearinghouse.net/results.php?searchSpecialCollection=44
Thanks to Ruby Robinson from MIRC for this update.



JFON-SEMI Supports Refugees


Like many of you, we have been saddened yet galvanized by recent Executive Orders impacting our immigrant clients and neighbors. We are following developments closely, and are in touch with colleagues such as Michigan United, the General Board of Church and Society and the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center, about how to best respond to help our clients and others. There are many ways to share your voice and participate in national actions you support – too many to describe here, but outlined nicely on National JFON’s website.

Closer to home, here are two action alerts for your consideration:
1. Tell the Michigan House that you oppose the Sanctuary City Prohibition Act. http://p2a.co/gcOUUPx
2. Ask your state representative to support Representative Jeremy Moss’ resolution to denounce anti-refugee policies and urge the President of the United States to reverse his executive order blocking refugees from entering the United States. Find your representative at http://house.mi.gov/mhrpublic/
If you are interested in learning more about how to advocate for and against current and emerging legislation, follow us on FaceBook or send an email to director@jfonsemi.org. To support our work with a donation, please click here. Please be sure to select the box for Justice for Our Neighbors.


Womens’ Marches


For information on Sister Marches taking place in MI Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017, click on the link: https://womensmarchonwashingtonmichigan.wordpress.com/2016/12/06/blog-post-title-2/

In addition, Swords into Plowshares in Detroit is having an event:

If you can’t join Women’s March marchers in Washington, DC or Lansing, head over to the Swords Into Plowshares Center from 10:45 am – 2:00 pm. Plan to join us for reflection, song, movement, wisdom quotes, action resources and lunch (provided). Feel support / Rekindle hope / Determine action! For a flyer download for this event visit http://media.wix.com/ugd/50be72_41a52894ec0241838bc834067e9dd9cc.pdf

And, there will be a “Call to Courage” event on Friday, January 20, at 6:30pm at Ferndale UMC. The gathering includes dinner and a panel of interfaith leaders sharing how to engage in courageous resistance in the days, months, and years ahead.

Lots of good ways to get engaged!



Bringing Lina Home


JFON of Southeastern Michigan comes to the rescue of a former Afghan interpreter for the U.S. Armed Forces as he struggles to bring his infant daughter to their new American home. 

Click here to read this inspiring story of how JFON SEMI makes a difference.


Today is #GivingTuesday! Board member, Suzanne Stichler shares why she gives to JFON-SEMI.

I have the good fortune to be a language teacher. As such, I’ve had the opportunity to get to know people from many different countries. I’ve learned that most are just like you and me. They come to our country, as my ancestors did, to make a better life for themselves and their families. Because our immigration system is very complex, and attorney fees are very expensive, I support JFON for the hand up it gives to immigrants who want to stay in compliance with our laws.

Your gift of $25 can sponsor an advice and counsel session for an immigrant seeking legal advice. Will you consider a donation to JFON-SEMI today? http://tinyurl.com/p8qqppv

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JFON SEMI post election statement

As we face the transition to a new administration led by President Donald Trump, JFON SEMI continues to remain committed to providing high quality legal services to people facing immigration legal issues who cannot afford an attorney. We will stay educated and prepared to address the fears and provide solid, honest legal advice to the clients we meet.

We will continue to work with a coalition of non-profits and professional organizations who advocate for systemic immigration changes which will benefit the immigrant population as a whole in the United States. Immigration reform has been an uphill battle for years…and will continue to be an uphill battle. Recognize that the past 8 years have not necessarily been favorable to immigrants as there have been more deportations during this period than in any preceding administration. Together with our supporters and volunteers we are ready to face the challenges that the next administration may present!





2016 Fall Celebration Fundraising Event

Join Justice For Our Neighbors Southeastern Michigan (JFON-SEMI) as we celebrate our work of welcoming immigrants to our community.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

6:30-8:30 pm

Genitti’s Hole in the Wall

101 E. Main Street, Northville, Michigan 48167

Tickets:  $55 per person

Get to know our staff, board, volunteers and friends while we mix and mingle at Genitti’s Hole in the Wall in Northville. Enjoy hearty appetizers and drinks, learn what we’ve been up to and listen to the music of our special guests. Back by popular demand will be Gary Allen, the fantastic jazz guitarist from our event last year. During our program, renowned folk singer Katie Geddes will perform a selection of songs.

We look forward to spending time with you and sharing a special evening together!

Please confirm your attendance by Thursday, November 3, 2016 by either:

Sending an email to director@jfonsemi.org or calling 734-629-6271

Purchasing tickets online at http://jfonsemifallfundraiser.brownpapertickets.com/

Our Fall Fundraiser is our major fundraising event.
Please consider making a donation if you are unable to attend at
http://tinyurl.com/p8qqppv. Your donation will be matched 100%.



Read a new article on JFON-SEMI and the work that we do with immigrants.  None of this could be accomplished without our volunteers and partnerships with local churches.  THANK YOU FOR YOUR FAITHFUL SUPPORT!!!

People are not issues


“Justice for our Neighbors Southeast Michigan (JFON-SEMI) is proud to
participate in the Access to Justice Campaign. The Access to Justice
Campaign is a partnership of the State Bar of Michigan, the Michigan
State Bar Foundation and Michigan’s civil legal aid programs to
increase resources for civil legal aid to the poor in Michigan. Tax
deductible contributions to the ATJ Fund are received and administered
by the Michigan State Bar Foundation according to the Access to Justice
Fund Guidelines located at www.msbf.org/atjfund. For information about
the ATJ Fund, and to support JFON-SEMI through the ATJ Fund, click on
the “Donate online using a credit card” link at www.atjfund.org and
select “Justice For Our Neighbors-Southeastern Michigan” from the
Operations drop-down list.”


Please see the YouTube videos below addressing community education about the new law on foreign driver’s licenses in Michigan (SB 501) courtesy of Susan Reed, Managing Attorney, Michigan Immigrant Rights Center.

You will see that the lists of “treaty countries” (whose licensed drivers do not have to be legally present to be driving legally) and “nontreaty countries” (whose drivers do have to be legally present to be driving legally) are part of the video.
I’m also attaching a “translation template” because SB 501 now requires either an “IDP” which is a foreign state-department issued translation of a license (and not the grocery story “international license”) or if a person’s country won’t issue one, a “document containing a photo and an English translation that substantially corresponds to an international driving permit” is now required.   It’s just a suggestion — some translators might want to go further or take a different approach, but this is the information that an IDP contains.
Where can people get licenses translated?  Here are translators who have applied to be on the Secretary of State’s list, although SB 501 does not require that a translator be listed here:
Note that you have to attach a photo to the translation.


U.S. Supreme Court Ties in Immigration Case

Brief History: Texas and 25 other states (including Michigan) challenged the implementation of President Obama’s 2014 DAPA and expanded DACA programs. The district court in Texas issued a nationwide injunction against the programs, and the federal government appealed (U.S. v Texas).

The Decision: The U.S. Supreme Court issued their tied (4-4) decision in U.S. v Texas on June 23, 2016.

What this means: The Texas court’s nationwide injunction remains in place. The DAPA and expanded DACA programs (also called DACA+) will not move forward for now. The original 2012 DACA program remains in tact. Applications for those who qualify under this program may continue to file initial and renewal applications.

Next actions for JFON SEMI: JFON SEMI will continue to seek justice for our clients who are seeking better lives for themselves and their families. JFON SEMI and our partners in the Ready Michigan coalition will be participating in activities in support of a future DAPA/DACA+ and keeping families together.

What can you do?: Please stay tuned for future activities and continue your support. http://jfonsemi.org/; @jfonsemi.org ; ‪#‎keepfamiliestogether‬

As National Justice for Our Neighbors says:

It is up to organizations like JFON and our partners that serve immigrant communities to guide and equip individuals with the resources that they need to stay informed, to grow in organization, and to retain hope for progress on immigrant rights. Visit their website to read their full statement on the Supreme Court ruling, and check-out the latest United Methodist News Service article on the ruling, which features NJFON’s Rob Rutland-Brown.


See how National JFON is partnering with JFON-SEMI and other JFON organizations across the country to keep families together this Father’s Day!  Learn more about it by watching this video .  You can also make a donation to JFON-SEMI and help immigrant families trying to stay together by providing free, high-quality immigration legal services, education and advocacy.  Don’t wait, get involved now.  Contact us through our website today to schedule an appointment at one of our clinics, volunteer, or get general information.  Thank you for your support!


On Monday, April 18th, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the constitutionality of expanded DACA and DAPA relief in U.S. v. Texas. Please make a donation to JFON-SEMI today in recognition of this critical decision and of the work we do every day to help immigrants with their legal needs. Each $1 you donate is worth $3 to JFON-SEMI. National Justice For Our Neighbors will match your donation, and in addition, a fellow JFON-SEMI supporter will match all donations received between now and May 15th up to $1,000!

Please donate today and your impact will be tripled!


Make a donation.


Justice for Our Neighbors Southeastern Michigan's photo.



Read our 2015 Annual Report here.  Thank you for working with us to make this possible!


The U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service’s (USCIS) Public Engagement Division recently sent the following message to stakeholders, regarding Immigration Phone Scams.  For more information, please see the message below, which explains how to avoid becoming a victim and who you can report the scammers to.  Thank you.

Immigrants all over the country are being targeted for phone scams. Don’t be one of the victims!

Scammers pretend to be a government official and call immigrants saying there is a problem with their immigration record. Sometimes they know personal information about the immigrant. They ask for personal and sensitive details, and demand immediate payment to fix the problem. They get angry and threaten people with deportation if payment is not made immediately with electronic money transfers.

Sometimes, scammers use special software to make it look like our 800 number is calling. Other times they leave a message to call a number that sounds exactly like our 800 number.

Remember, USCIS officials rarely call customers on the phone, and WE WILL NEVER ASK FOR PAYMENT OVER THE PHONE. If we need payment, we will send a letter on official stationery requesting payment.

If you receive a call like this, hang up and report it to the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov.

Visit www.uscis.gov/avoidscams for information on where to report scams in your state. If you have a question about your immigration record, please call customer service at 800-375-5283, or make an InfoPass appointment at http://infopass.uscis.gov.

Kind Regards,

USCIS Public Engagement Division


In honor of National Reading Month in March, we will be posting titles of books we recommend. First up is The Book of Unknown Americans, the 2016 Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti selection.

Our second recommendation for National Reading Month is Americanah, a novel about race and immigration. http://chimamanda.com/books/americanah/

This third week’s post related to National Reading Month offers an article written by our volunteer intern Greg Sollish. Greg’s article on “Refugees at the Mexican/Guatemalan Border” appears in Schoolcraft College’s International Agenda.Winter 2016 issue on page 23. http://www.schoolcraft.edu/…/internati…/international-agenda

4th recommendation for National Reading Month is “I Speak for Myself” – a collection of essays edited by Maria Ebrahimji and Zahra Suratwala – described as “40 women under the age of 40 born and raised in the United States, dismantle stereotypes of what it means to be a Muslim woman in America.” State Rep Rashida Tlaib, as well as Attorney, Dearborn resident and one-time JFON-SEMI volunteer Dewnya Bakri-Bazzi contributed essays to this book.


JFON-SEMI Clients, Staff and Board THANK YOU for

helping us reach our $10,000 fundraising goal, which will

be matched 100%!

For information about the raids of Central Americans that began a few days ago, go to:
If you’d like to take action, call the White House Comment Line directly at 1-888-907-2053.  “I’m from _______ City, State, Congregation/Community and as a person of faith, I urge President Obama to immediately STOP plans to deport Central American children and families. These individuals are fleeing violence and should have access to legal counsel so that they can apply for asylum and protection in the United States.”
Or, share this “know your rights” video with neighbors and friends who can benefit from the information:


Last week Methodist representatives gathered to learn how their congregations could support Refugee and Resettlement efforts in southeastern Michigan. A recording of the meeting will be posted soon. In the meantime, there will be an Interactive Interfaith Dialogue this Friday, Dec. 18th at 7 pm at the Islamic Center of America (19500 Ford Road, Dearborn) Rev. Dr. Jill Zundel will be one of the faith leaders participating in the event.


Read the following articles to see how people, our legislators and Bishop Kiesey are responding to Friday’s horrible killings in France.

Image result for grieving terrorist attack image





We are so grateful to UMCOR’s Refugee Ministry program for recently awarding us a grant to help more immigrants with political asylum applications in 2016!





Justice for Our Neighbors – Southeastern Michigan joyfully invites you to our 

Saturday, September 26, 2015
Beverly Hills United Methodist Church
20000 W. 13 Mile Road, Beverly Hills, MI 48025

5:30 pm Registration & Gathering
7:30 pm Concert featuring Brazil and Beyond
-Jazz-influenced Brazilian and World Music-


DINNER AND CONCERT: $50/person when reserved by Sept. 18
$60/person at the door
CONCERT ONLY: $15/person when reserved by Sept. 18
$20/person at the door

Enjoy a full evening’s worth of festivities as we celebrate this milestone!
Catered Middle Eastern dinner
Silent Auction
Ballet Folklórico by MATICES (traditional Mexican folk dance troupe)
Music by Jazz guitarist, Gary Allen
Concert performance by Brazil & Beyond
Update on JFON-SEMI’s accomplishments and award presentation
Message from Rob Rutland-Brown, National JFON Executive Director

Please confirm your attendance by Friday, Sept. 18, 2015 by either:

Printing and returning the RSVP card OR
Purchasing tickets online at http://jfon5yeargala.brownpapertickets.com/

The 5 Year Celebration is our major fundraising event.
Please consider making a donation if you are unable to attend at
http://tinyurl.com/p8qqppv, or by returning the RSVP card with your gift. Your donation will be matched 100%.


A small portion of event proceeds will go to NJFON to support a national network of legal
immigration service providers that includes JFON-SEMI.

Justice for Our Neighbors (JFON) is a ministry of hospitality that welcomes immigrants by
providing affordable, high-quality immigration legal services, engaging in advocacy for immigrants’ rights,
and offering education to communities of faith and the public.


Please watch this video about JFON-SEMI made by Kurtis Zetouna when he was studying at the Motion Picture Institute! Thank you for making all of this work possible. Please share with friends, networks and people in need.



Your advocacy has made a difference so far!  Let’s continue our efforts and monitor the situation over the next several weeks.



On May 26th the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans denied the Department of Justice’s request to lift the order against DAPA and DACA+ during the appeal process.

iAmerica has created a simple infographic to explain the ruling and what to expect in the future.  Click here to check it out:  http://iamerica.org/fight-for-dapa-daca/

An informative summary of the current situation of immigrant detention in the country.
If you’re interested in volunteering with our Interfaith Detainee Visitation Program, which visits immigrant men  in detention in Monroe twice a month, contact Tori Booker; director@jfsonsemi.org or 734-629-6271.
United Methodist Women are leading the movement to end family detention

In response to a surge of children and mothers fleeing violence and migrating to the United States, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has opened and expanded detention centers in recent months. These “family detention centers” house women and children, a practice long condemned in case law and by the administration in 2009[1].  Family detention is immoral, puts young kids in a prison-like situation, impedes immigrants from access to proper healthcare and legal services that may save their lives, and puts multitudes of stress on mothers[2]. Imagine being in jail with your children and how distraught you would feel.

Read one mother’s story here:


On May 2nd, United Methodist Women, National Justice for Our Neighbors, immigration advocates and faith communities gathered in Dilley, Texas to march to a family detention center in protest. Read Bill Mefford’s reflections here:


 What can you do?

Click on this link to learn more about what UMWs are doing and how you can join them:


Call or write your Senators or your Representative.

Find your Senators’ contact information here and your Representative’s contact information here. Use this suggested script:

o    My name is _____ calling from _____.  I am a [name of your UMW and/or faith community] and a constituent, and I oppose immigrant family detention. Central American families held in DHS custody are seeking protection from violence, trafficking, and domestic violence. Children require specialized medical, educational, and legal support that detention facilities cannot provide. The Obama administration has rapidly expanded family detention since June 2014, claiming that women and children fleeing violence should be detained in order to deter others from migrating because this migration is a national security threat. This fails to live up to our most basic obligations to treat people humanely. I hope you will publicly speak out against family detention and contact the White House to express your alarm over this practice. I want to see the Karnes and Dilley family detention centers closed, and the use of family detention ended. Thank you. 

Article adapted from National Justice for Our Neighbors.

[1] For more details and the history of family detention, see Locking Up Family Values: The Detention of Immigrant Families, an extensive 2007 report by the Women’s Refugee Commission and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service.

[2] Women in Karnes Detention Center have gained serious media traction after a hunger and work strike in protest of human rights abuse allegations.


Since April was Volunteer Appreciation Month, we featured some of the amazing people who volunteer with JFON-SEMI.


To close out our Volunteer Profiles we have our own Migladys Bermudez.  Migladys is our amazing legal assistant who has been volunteering with JFON-SEMI for 1.5 years. She is a law school graduate of University of Detroit Mercy and is passionate about immigration law. Migladys currently assists with preparing  DACA and other applications; meets with clients under our attorney’s supervision; and accomplishes much more as an all around legal assistant. In her free time, she loves to visit family in Puerto Rico and relax with Netflix.  We are so happy to have her legal experience extend the talent of our team.

Justice for Our Neighbors Southeastern Michigan's photo.


Check out a colorful interactive immigration graphic.  Click on the link and hover over the graphic to get more data.


200 Years of U.S. Immigration, in 1 Colorful Infographic

A new data visualization captures the waves of arrival.


Image Insightful Interaction/Natalia Bronshtein

Visually transmitted knowledge: data visualization, interactive maps, charts
insightfulinteraction.com|By Natalia Bronshtein
New Faces Around the Office

(Trevor Hass and Charlie Callis) This winter, we welcome two new volunteers who are completing internships as part of their courseloads.  Trevor Hass is currently a third year law student at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law. He graduated from Wayne State University with an undergraduate degree in secondary education. As Trevor states, “When I started law school, I had no idea about what type of law to go into or what interests to pursue. However, after taking a basic immigration law course, I enrolled in the immigration clinic to fulfill my requirements. During my time in the clinic I assisted with cases involving Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and asylum, including appeals of asylum decisions and found a passion for immigration law. During my last year of law school, I enrolled in the externship program at the school and was referred to Justice for Our Neighbors where I hope to put my existing knowledge to work and learn more about this field of law.” Trevor works eight hours a week assisting Attorney Melanie Goldberg.Charlie Callis is a first year student at the University of Michigan who loves to speak Spanish and work in the community.  What drew him to volunteer at JFON-SEMI are the free monthly clinics we offer.  In Charlie’s words, “The clinics seemed like a great way to help people in need and to practice my Spanish. What really caught my eye about Justice for Our Neighbors however, was that they held one of their clinics in Southwest Detroit.  I grew up and lived about a mile away from what is recognized as the border of Southwest Detroit. Due to its large Hispanic immigrant population, it seemed to me like the area always had a certain life and energy that much of the rest of the city had lost over the years. I love the idea of further helping and working in Southwest Detroit.” Charlie works three hours a week translating for clients at the office and at the monthly legal clinics.
Update from National Justice for Our Neighbors on Administrative Relief:
On Feb. 16th, federal judge Andrew Hanen in Brownsville, TX issued a ruling in response to the lawsuit brought by anti-immigrant governors and attorneys general from 26 states, to temporarily delay implementation of the expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the new Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) programs. The ruling comes just days before the expanded DACA program was set to take effect, and it also comes after countless failed attempts by Republicans in Congress to block the implementation of the executive actions and promote harmful legislation targeting immigrant communities. In response, President Obama said the Justice Department will appeal Hanen’s preliminary injunction and that the expanded DACA and DAPA programs will be fully implemented as soon as the legal issues get resolved.
The injunction does not affect the existing DACA program and it also does not impact the implementation of DHS’s enforcement priorities established in the November 20, 2014 memo, “Policies for the Apprehension, Detention and Removal of Undocumented Immigrants.” Individuals who are currently in removal proceedings, have a final order, or are in immigration detention remain able to request prosecutorial discretion.
National Justice For Our Neighbors views the preliminary injunction as just a temporary setback; the higher the case goes in the court system, the more likely judges are to side with the administration. Therefore, our network should continue preparing for expanded DACA and DAPA to ensure that immigrant families are able to access this much needed relief, and ensure that our community members receive accurate information about the status of these programs. We believe that it is a question of when, not if, these constitutionally sound programs will take effect.


We recently received a $3,000 UMCOR Refugee Ministry Grant for the Interfaith Detainee Visitation Program. These funds will allow us to offer more training to the volunteers and provide legal services to some of the men in detention. Very few free legal service organizations offer such services, so we’re grateful to be able to do so.



Read about President Obama’s immigration plan announced on Nov. 20, 2014!

Michigan United will be holding two information sessions on the following dates:

Thursday, December 4th
Iglesia Evangelica Misionera Yo Soy
551 Phelps Street
Kalamazoo, MI 49048
Monday, December 1st
St. Gabriel Catholic Church
8118 Vernor Hwy.
Detroit, MI 48209



Michigan JFON leaders return from Washington


Kay DeMoss
Senior Editor-Writer, Michigan Area

WASHINGTON — As President Obama continues to delay an executive order on immigration, Michigan staff, board members and attorneys for Justice for our Neighbors (JFON) participated in a rally and spoke with congressional leaders last week.
Those JFON supporters included Jackie Euper, Jorge Luna, Melanie Goldberg and Tori Booker, Justice for our Neighbors, Southeast Michigan and Laure Miskowski, Laura Rampersad and Liz Balck, JFON West Michigan.
JFON is a United Methodist immigration legal services network with affiliates in both the Detroit and West Michigan Conferences.
On September 17 over 50 immigration lawyers and faith and community leaders gathered to pray outside the White House to call on President Obama to act and fully protect unaccompanied children fleeing violence in Central America.
“As people of faith and a nation with a rich history of immigrants, we call upon President Obama to fix our broken immigration system, who not only has the legal executive authority, but has the moral obligation to do so immediately,” said Rev. Denise Honeycutt, Deputy General Secretary of the United Methodist Committee on Relief.
Rob Rutland-Brown, Executive Director of Justice for Our Neighbors, said, “The continued inaction by the President and recent immoral votes in the House of Representatives are of grave concern to people of faith. We have come to Washington to raise our voices and ensure our leaders know the cost of their decisions for immigrant families.”
Tori and Melanie returned to Michigan hopeful overall. “Although it remains to be seen with the offices of Senator Levin and Representative Dingell, who are now retiring,” they said. “We need to make sure that Congress people who are voted in in November will support comprehensive immigration reform.” They encourage Michigan voters to pay attention to the positions of the candidates on this issue.
Laura felt positive about the visits with the politicians but she urges, “Our work remains in the field dispelling the fear and hatred that keep our senators and representatives from passing good legislation.”
Rev. Dean Reed of JFON in Dallas, TX, stated, “The administration’s delay on executive action has a daily human cost that violates the core American value of family unity. With each day that passes, another 1,100 people are deported, unjustifiably and unnecessarily tearing families apart. By the time Obama finally takes action, 70,000 families will have endured the catastrophic consequences of political expediency.” He called for bold administrative relief “that protects all undocumented immigrants who are proving to be faithful, productive neighbors in every community of this great nation.”
Asked what reform(s) would make a difference to the persons they work with day by day in places like Grand Rapids, Dearborn, Holland, and Ypsilanti, JFON staff said:
“A detention bed quote has been set by the Immigration It appears that ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) expects these beds to be filled each night,” Tori reports. “A proper interpretation of this law would make a big difference to a lot of families.”
Laura hopes for no more “rollbacks of immigration laws. We need to stop breaking families apart with needless deportations that could be fixed with administrative order.” She notes,”What we don’t need is more patchwork fixes that only complicate our laws.”
Melanie adds, “In the past someone could apply for legal permanent residence (Green Card) no matter how he or she entered the country. They could pay a $1,000 penalty and stay in the U.S. if their legal status lapsed. Restoring this piece of law alone would affect so many people and keep many families together.”
Michigan’s JFON leaders have a three-point ask coming out of their daily work and their trip to Washington:
1) Acts and Service–JFON can always use more hands.
2) Financial Suppport–consider including JFON in the congregation’s annual giving, special offering, or individual giving.
3) Advocacy and Prayer–support the immigrants in your community. Hold prayer vigils for just and fair immigration reform
The vigil was sponsored by National Justice for Our Neighbors, the United Methodist Committee on Relief, the United Methodist Board of Church and Society, and Church World Service.
–Church World Service contributed to this report.


Welcoming Michigan is gearing up for the third annual National Welcoming Week September 13-21! This nationwide event will promote meaningful connections and a spirit of unity among U.S. and foreign-born Americans by providing opportunities to learn about each other and work together to create stronger communities. Welcoming Michigan is one of 22 Welcoming America affiliates around the country organizing activities to highlight the shared values and contributions of immigrants in local communities. Like last year, Welcoming Week has turned into Welcoming Month here in Michigan! Check out our extensive list of activities to mark the occasion!



Did you know that twice a month a group of interfaith volunteers go visit immigrant men in detention in Monroe?  We talk with them and offer friendship and prayer. Read about Mary Margaret Davis, one of these wonderful volunteers. http://ihmsisters.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Quarterly_Summer-2014.pdf


Rev. Paul Perez and Melanie Goldberg shared at Vassar First UMC’s Faith and Immigration presentation held this past Monday (August 18th, 2014) including a Q&A format.



Collaborate along with Michigan United to defend immigrant families!

Attend the Town Hall Meeting to Stop Deportations and keep families together.  Join in asking President Obama to stop deportations through administrative relief.

Thursday, August 28, 2014
6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
St. Christopher Catholic church
7800 Woodmont Ave. Detroit, MI


Former JFON Site Director Paul Perez talks about Reading and Praying the News:  http://www.detroitconference.org/news/detail/1230


Read up on the experience of one of our United Methodist District Superintendents, Rev. Dr. Dottie Escobedo-Frank, who was at U.S. Border Patrol in Nogales, Arizona.  Hear about what this border town experiences with the influx of unaccompanied children and how Rev. Dr. Dottie Escobedo-Frank came to experience this place as holy ground.



Unaccompanied Minors Crisis
As many of you have heard, JFON is responding to the surge of unaccompanied minors by sending attorneys from our network to conduct intake of children housed at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio.  To learn more, check out the story here:  http://njfon.org/resources-on-unaccompanied-minors/.  Feel free to circulate this to anyone who might be interested.
Also, the United Methodist News Service published an article featuring JFON and other groups within the United Methodist Church responding to the crisis:  http://www.umc.org/news-and-media/church-seeks-to-meet-needs-in-border-crisis


On July 31-August 1, the United Methodist Church General Board of Church of Society , Church World Service, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and many other faith organizations will be sponsoring a Faith Summit on Stopping Deportations and granting administrative relief for our immigrant brothers and sisters. Faith leaders, including Bishop Minerva Carcaño, lay leaders, and immigrant community leaders will gather in Washington, D.C. to discuss and strategize about next steps to engage our congregations in pushing the Obama administration to provide relief from deportations so that not one more family will be separated.


The event will include an act of prayerful civil disobedience at the White House to press the Obama administration to take broad executive action to defer action on deportations.

JFON-SEMI is trying to organize a group to attend the rally. If you are interested in learning more about this, please contact Tori Booker at 734-629-6271 or director@jfonsemi.org.  We are exploring options for scholarships for a local team to attend.


Check out this powerful editorial written by an immigration judge in San Francisco to hear more about our immigration courts, how they are struggling to function, and the high stakes immigrants are faced with in going through this judicial system.



Recently the country has been made aware of the critical situation at the border involving thousands of unaccompanied children crossing into the U.S. and being detained. The stories and images are alarming and daily.
Even though this crisis is said to be on the Mexican border, it is reaching all across the country.  Children are being sent to all states in order to find space in foster agencies and unite them with family members.  This is not just a border crisis.


Our friends at National Justice for Our Neighbors shared this article on the crisis at the border and what can be done.



Visit this website to read and view the slideshow, An American Life, Lived in Shadows, which describes the daily and long-term stressors of living undocumented in the U.S.



The United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued guidelines and a new form I-821D for DACA  renewal.   In 2012, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals [DACA] was created to give eligible, young adult immigrants deferred action and  access to work authorization.  This allowed recipients to apply for Social Security Cards and in some cases a drivers license so that they may continue their education and/or work legally.   Last week, USCIS announced that DACA may be renewed for another two years.
Anyone who would like assistance applying for or renewing their DACA status, can contact JFON-SEMI for help.  734-709-1151.


JFON-SEMI staff presented several sessions on Immigration and Justice for Our Neighbors to United Methodist Women at FUMC Ann Arbor, Utica UMC, and Dixboro UMC in early May.  We were lucky enough to have District Superintendent and JFON-SEMI Co-founder Rev. Melanie Carey, as well as Jasmine Franco join us for the session in Ann Arbor.

If you would like JFON-SEMI to present at your church or community group, please contact Tori Booker, Site Director, at 734-629-6271 or director@jfonsemi.org.


Follow the link to read about the good work you helped make happen in 2013!



March 27, 2014

Call to Action!

Everyday more than 1,000 people are deported. It is predicted that in April, 2 million people will have been deported by the Obama Administration. On Friday, March 27 in Chicago, Bishop Sally Dyck will stand beside Rep. Luis Gutierrez and many other people of faith and they will participate in an act of civil disobedience, protesting the 2 million deportations under the Obama Administration.

What can you do?

1.  Plan or attend a prayer vigil the weekend of April 4-6 that involves your congregation and includes members of your community. Visit this website for more information  http://www.notonemoredeportation.com/take-action/april-5th-day-of-action-against-deportations/

2. Ask your church to take some time during worship the weekend of April 4-6 to pray for the families torn apart. For information and ideas, email Bill Mefford, General Board of Church and Society at bmefford@umc-gbcs.org
3. Participate in a day of fasting the weekend ofApril 4-6 and share your experience through social media and email. Some people are writing and photographing statements of solidarity and posting on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media.

For more information or to share your actions, contact JFON-SEMI at director@jfonsemi.org or 734.629.6271.



JFON-SEMI is looking forward to continued growth in 2014.  To help make that happen, we found a part-time  Administrative Assistant (five hours a week).

Welcome to Jill Sestok!!!   Jill’s first official day with us was March 6th.  Jill graduated from Michigan State University and has her Paralegal Certificate from Southeastern Career College through their ABA approved program.  Her experience in administration started early on in her career while she was a working student at MSU and continued throughout in some capacity as recently as while she was working as a corporate paralegal.  She is very pleased to be joining the JFON-SEMI team, where her passion for social justice can flourish while her administrative talents are put to use and work hard as well.  She looks forward to the continued growth with JFON and being a part of as one volunteer, Maya Barak, so eloquently put it… the “power of individuals to unite for positive change in the face of structural adversity”.



National Justice For Our Neighbors featured our own Kirstin Karoub in its February 2014 update.  Click here to see the entire update:  http://tinyurl.com/k7wdm5p .  Read below to find out more about our Board Member.

Southeast Michigan JFON

Volunteer Kirstin Karoub
Kirstin Karoub’s home church, the First United Methodist Church of Dearborn, Michigan, is located in an immigrant-rich neighborhood. Additionally, the church is always looking for ways to serve the community – including the large Muslim/Arabic community. In 2010, the Detroit conference identified the church as a good JFON site and immediately Kirstin’s interest was piqued. Her commitment to JFON was solidified when she witnessed the fragility of one’s guest status in the United States.Kirstin and her husband became friendly with Yousef*, a local shop owner who shared with them the unfortunate situation that had just occurred with his cousin Hassan* who had recently come to stay.  Hassan had an appointment with the immigration office which required him to bring his passport. Trying to be helpful, Hassan’s aunt washed his pants, unknowingly washing his passport in the pocket. Hassan brought the damaged passport to his appointment, but the immigration officer didn’t believe that Hassan was in the U.S.  legally and placed him in detention until adequate documentation could be produced.  Without his passport, he was in a Catch-22 situation, he couldn’t produce the paperwork to be released, nor could he go back to Lebanon where his wife was awaiting the birth of their child.  Of this incident, Kirstin comments, “This was when I began to realize how challenging our immigration system is.”
                                                                                                                                                   Kirstin Karoub
Kirstin serves as the clinic coordinator for the Dearborn clinic as well as a board member for the Southeast Michigan JFON site. Although the Dearborn clinic was established on the presumption that most of its clients would come from its Arabic neighbors, in reality, the client profile has been very diverse. As of November 2013, they saw clients from more than 20 countries, including China, India, Eastern Europe and Africa. Additionally, the clinic’s reach has gone far beyond its own community of Dearborn and extends into Detroit and surrounding metro areas, as well. Kirstin is gratified that her work helps many other immigrants as they navigate our complicated, confusing and, as Kirstin says, “challenging” immigration system.
  *Names have been changed to protect confidentiality


Thank you so much to everyone who supported us last year! Your donation enabled us to reach our $10,000 goal, which was matched 100% from National JFON. This $20,000 will allow us to continue to make a difference in the lives of immigrant families in our communities.

Thanks to everyone who helped us raise close to $1600

at the Hoe Down! If you were not there, join

us in the future – it’s too much fun to miss!