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.
As we prepare for the holiday season and all of its blessings, we invite you to reflect on what it means to be an American today and what your support means to JFON-SEMI. From the four corners of the United States and everywhere in between, JFON family and friends contributed to make this short video. We hope it will kick off some illuminating conversations in your house this holiday season. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rg–mmVJAf8&feature=youtu.be
November 28th is #Giving Tuesday
November 28 is #GivingTuesday, a day to support the causes we believe in. Our newest Board members Alix Smith and Rev. Anthony Ballah describe why they devote their time and resources to JFON-SEMI.
I was one of the founding volunteers when we started the JFON clinic at First United Methodist Church of Ypsilanti. I was only able to help for the first few months before I began law school classes on Monday evenings (the Monday classes conflicted with the Monday clinic date). Shortly after I finished law school, the clinic coordinator and volunteer coordinator both moved on to other positions so I was happy to step in as the clinic coordinator/volunteer coordinator. In Fall 2017 I accepted a position on the Board of Advisors.
My family always hosted dinners at Thanksgiving and over the Christmas break for international students who were away from home. JFON also offers a similar welcoming environment to our clients. I enjoy meeting the clients and learning about different cultures. Our immigration system is so complicated for immigrants and to me, JFON-SEMI represents more than immigration law – it represents social justice for those who are disenfranchised from our society. I want our clients to know that they are welcome in our clinic and appreciated in our society.
Alix and her family are members of FUMC of Ypsilanti. She and her husband Ed live in Ann Arbor and have two adult children.
In Matthew 25:40, the Bible instructs us to care for the “least of these.” I believe JFON embodies that call by advocating justice for immigrants. I decided to join the JFON-SEMI Board of Advisors to lend my voice and talent along with many others as we maximize space and time in seeking that great earthly destiny to which God has called us all.
The ministry at Beverly Hills UMC strives to make a difference in the community by intentionally liaising with individuals and other groups to carry out the mandate of Jesus Christ. In that regard, a free office space is our way of supporting JFON’s mission and encouraging the staff and volunteers to care for the legal needs of immigrants. As a small membership church, we may not have the physical cash to contribute to JFON’s work but do have other resources that can buttress their endeavors.
Rev. Ballah is originally from Liberia and has lived in the U.S. since 2001. He is the pastor at St. Paul United Methodist Church and at Beverly Hills United Methodist Church where JFON-SEMI has enjoyed free office space since it began. Rev. Ballah lives with his wife and two young daughters in Beverly Hills.
There are several ways you can support our work!
Make a donation
1. Give online at http://tinyurl.com/p8qqppv.
2. Make a check out to The Detroit Annual Conference and write “JFON-SEMI” in the memo line. Then, mail your check to:
Justice for Our Neighbors Southeastern Michigan
Beverly Hills UMC
20000 W. 13 Mile Road
Beverly Hills, MI 48025
Stay in touch
1. Follow us on Facebook – Justice for Our Neighbors Southeastern Michigan
2. Read our e-newsletters
3. Come visit us at our office Beverly Hills UMC
4. Join our Immigration Book Club
1. Volunteer at our legal clinics, in the office or “as needed”
2. Join us at educational presentations or advocacy actions such as rallies, vigils or marches
Sept. 2017 DACA Executive Order
We join National Justice for Our Neighbors and the entire Justice for Our Neighbors network in our deep disappointment at President Trump’s cruel decision to revoke Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, on behalf of the entire Trump Administration, announced on Sept. 5, 2017 that he will end DACA by March 5th, 2018, essentially giving Congress six months to take action on DACA and pass legislation.
This decision will not only affect the 800,000 young people currently with DACA status, but many more DACA-eligible people whose applications filed after today will not be considered.
DACA recipients are not only JFON clients, but board members, staff, partners, friends, and family. Our future is intertwined with theirs, our country and lives enriched by their many contributions. We stand in full solidarity with immigrants and our allies and will lift our voices unequivocally in opposition to this decision and in full support of the Dream Act of 2017.
In the meantime, JFON attorneys will identify any other avenues of relief for clients with DACA and help these individuals to apply for immigration benefits. We will stand together and fight for justice!
Here is what DACA recipients and their families can do now or need to know:
If you have DACA, your DACA is still good until it expires;
If your DACA request is pending, it will be adjudicated;
If your DACA is expiring between now and March 5, 2018, you can file to renew by October 5, 2017. JFON-SEMI can help you! Call 734-709-1151 to make an appointment with our attorney.
If you already have advance parole, it will be honored BUT USCIS will not approve pending AP requests and no longer accepting new ones.
NO NEW DACA applications will be accepted (as of September 5, 2017).
Here is what everyone (immigrants, allies, friends, activists, supporters) can do now:
Join your community in the streets.
Call your Representatives.
Tell Congress to enact the Dream Act of 2017 and protect immigrant youth. Use this call-in script and information provided by the Interfaith Immigration Coalition.
If you didn’t receive our August 2017 e-newsletter, click here to read what we’re up to.
Download and share this new ringtone just introduced by United Farm Workers (UFW) to help immigrants in their dealings with federal agents. The lyrics of the ringtone offer guidance on what to do if stopped by ICE.
Congratulations to JFON-SEMI Legal Director, Melanie Goldberg who recently became the Chair of the Michigan chapter of AILA (American Immigration Lawyers Assoc.). As Chair, she’ll lead 300+ members as they seek justice for immigrants. Here she is at the recent AILA National Day of Action in DC (second from right).
2016 Annual Report
The year 2016 was a busy one. Free legal help for immigrants and refugees is needed more than ever. Click here to see the 2016 report for Justice For Our Neighbors – Southeastern Michigan (JFONSEMI).
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.
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 email@example.com. To support our work with a donation, please click here. Please be sure to select the box for Justice for Our Neighbors.
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.
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
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!
JFON SEMI partners with
MI State Bar Foundation
“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.”