Iowa JFON office will be closed today Tuesday, Jan. 22nd. Please stay warm and drive safe.

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You can Donate online to Iowa JFON to Keep Families Together.

Dear Friends,

We have all read and seen in the news the recent horrific scenes of immigrant children along our southern border being taken from their parents.  More than 600 children were separated from their parents in the first two weeks of May alone, with no signs of a slowdown. 

This is part of a new policy undertaken by the administration to deter illegal entry. And yet, the majority of these families are fleeing unspeakable violence in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras and seeking asylum in the U.S.  The U.S. maintains statutory and regulatory rights for people who arrive with or without papers and seek protection here. Those fleeing persecution and violence have a right to make their case heard, and Justice for Our Neighbors is here to help them.

Those parents in detention-- mostly mothers-- will need attorneys to guide them through their credible fear interviews with Immigration as an initial determination of whether they may have a valid asylum claim.  The detained parent will also need to demonstrate they’re not a flight risk or danger to the community.  They will need a competent attorney in the U.S. to prepare a detailed bond package so they can be released to rejoin their children.  Meanwhile, the children will also need representation for their immigration cases. 

As a father, I cannot imagine the anguish parents must feel at having their child forcibly taken from them, with no knowledge of where they are being taken and no reunion in sight.  Social workers assigned to care for separated children have reported that younger children are suffering from severe trauma due to their separation.  Justice for Our Neighbors cannot undo the long-term mental and emotional scars this “deterrence strategy” will leave on parents and children alike.  However, through skilled and targeted immigration legal services, we can expedite reunions of some families and increase their chances of being able to remain in the U.S. safely and permanently.

Today, I ask for your help in this work. Your tax-deductible donation will allow the Justice for Our Neighbors network to offer vital, high-quality immigration legal services to these separated families.  With your support fewer families will have to endure the pain of an unjust and inhumane separation.

Thank you,


Rob Rutland-Brown
Executive Director
National Justice for Our Neighbors

DES MOINES REGISTER: Iowa ‘sanctuary’ city ban signed into law

By Brianne Pfannenstiel

April 10, 2018

Iowa cities and counties that intentionally violate federal immigration law will have their state funding revoked under a bill signed into law by Gov. Kim Reynolds Tuesday. 

Senate File 481 targets so-called sanctuary communities across the state and has drawn widespread debate in the Capitol and across the state. It takes effect July 1. 

Reynolds, a Republican, did not hold a public bill signing event. 

Supporters say the new law will maintain public safety and uphold the rule of law, but critics argue that Iowa has no sanctuary cities and that the bill will only stoke racial fears that could fuel discrimination.

Republican leaders have said the legislation is in response to a policy adopted in Iowa City that says the city will not commit local resources to enforcing federal immigration law, as well as to similar policies in cities across the country. 

Officials in Iowa City have stopped short of identifying themselves as a "sanctuary" community, and they argue they comply with all federal laws. 

What's required under the new law:

  • A "local entity" cannot "adopt or enforce a policy or take any other action" that "prohibits or discourages the enforcement of immigration laws."

  • Local entities can't prohibit or discourage law enforcement officers or other employees from "assisting or cooperating with a federal immigration officer as reasonable or necessary, including providing enforcement assistance."

  • Local entities can’t prohibit or discourage law enforcement or other officials from inquiring about the immigration status of a person who is under arrest, sharing that information with other authorities, or assisting federal immigration officers as reasonable or necessary

  • Local entities and their employees can’t ask about the national origin of a person who is the victim of a crime, witness of a crime or is otherwise reporting a crime unless it’s pertinent to the investigation.

  • Each state or local law enforcement agency subject to the new requirements must put in writing any unwritten or informal policies relating to the enforcement of immigration laws and update those policies to be in compliance with the new law.

  • Those people who are enforcing the law "shall not consider race, skin color, language spoken, or national origin" while doing so.

  • Allows local entities to apply for reinstatement of lost funding after 90 days.

Mail Address:   P.O. Box 41006  Des Moines, Iowa 50311   NEW OFFICe ADDRESS:     2024 FOREST AVE. SUITE 101    DES MOINES, IA 50311    Office hours: Monday-Friday from 9 AM to 4:30 PM ( call for appointments )    Phone: 515-255-9809    Fax: 515-619-5765

Mail Address:

P.O. Box 41006

Des Moines, Iowa 50311




Office hours: Monday-Friday from 9 AM to 4:30 PM ( call for appointments )

Phone: 515-255-9809

Fax: 515-619-5765



**Clinics are by appointment only.  To make an appointment, please call JFON at 515-255-9809 during normal business hours.  Appointments are giving on a "first come first serve" basis, in the order that the phone calls were answered.  


Types of cases:  Iowa JFON provides services to low-income Immigrants and Refugees for Work authorization, Family reunification, Escape from violence (asylum, victims of domestic violence, victims of other violent crimes), Naturalization and citizenship, DACA, TPS, limited removal defense, and advice and counsel.





Iowa Justice For Our Neighbors is a non-for-profit organization, welcoming immigrants of all faiths into our churches and communities by providing free, high-quality immigration legal services, education, and advocacy. Iowa JFON has been serving clients in our communities since 1999.  Established by the United Methodist Committee on Relief in 1999, Iowa JFON helps people from all over the world.  Our services are available to all without regard to national origin, race, gender, or religion. Clinics are located in Cedar Rapids, Columbus Junction, Decorah, Des Moines, Ottumwa, Marshalltown and Storm Lake.

Your donation allows Iowa Justice For Our Neighbors to provide free immigration legal counsel to low-income refugees and immigrants.  For more information and if you would like to donate please visit our website:


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