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Thank you letter…

Dear generous donors:

As my chapter as Executive Director arrives at a close on April 4th, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for supporting our work. During the past year we have gone through a lot of changes with Iowa JFON to keep up with the demand and all the federal law changes. I was able to witness the progress and help shape the potential of the organization for decades to come. Iowa JFON has an amazing team of volunteers across the state, together with hard-working staff and board members that make the work and success a reality.

In 2018 we were able to provide services to 1,201 new clients from 60 countries. We also secured two new grants that allowed us to increase our capacity and bring more free services to low-income immigrants around the state. Being part of the growing chapter of the organization, with a new office, new grant opportunities and two new positions, has been a personal and professional growing opportunity. While there were many moments that stood out from my tenure, a few I am especially proud of include:


**In October 2018, Iowa's JFON family came together in Cedar Rapids to honor Doris Knight for her 15 years of services. It was an honor for me to be part of the organizing committee.

**In December 2018, we hired two new positions for three year with the “Legal Staff Expansion” project

**During the month of February 2019 alone, we received $21,000 from individual and church donations! This type of support allows Iowa JFON to provide services free of charge for clients

Thank you for your generous financial donations, your donations of time and skills, and thank you most of all for making the state of Iowa a more welcoming place for thousands of immigrants.

It has been an honor to serve and work for this organization.

Sincerely,
Sol Varisco-Santini


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Welcome new staff attorney

Under “Legal Staff Expansion grant” two positions started last December 28th, a full time Staff attorney and a full-time Legal Assistant. Iowa JFON was able to hire its 4th attorney Timothy Greenwood. This position will allow to provide advice and counsel to 200 new clients and represent between 90-110 cases.

Timothy Greenwood joined Justice for Our Neighbors as an attorney. He was born and raised in Waterloo, Iowa. Timothy studied Philosophy, Spanish, and History in college, and then he went on to study law at Creighton University. Before joining JFON, he has worked as an immigration attorney in Lincoln, Nebraska for the past two years. Throughout his high school and university years, he developed a passion to work with immigrant populations in the United States, particularly those from Latin America. Timothy is licensed to practice law in Iowa, and he is fluent in Spanish. When not practicing law, Timothy enjoys reading, traveling, and playing sports.

June Keith Marcos Lester Geraldine de Paz

Part-time staff attorney, June Keith:

June Keith has accepted the part-time attorney position for Iowa JFON and she will start March 1st 2019. June has served as a pro-bono volunteer attorney at Iowa JFON two days per week since the fall of 2016. June has a long-standing dedication to volunteer work and is passionate about utilizing her legal background to advocate for immigrants and refugees. Working primarily with clients from Asia, June strives to make clients feel welcome and build a sense of community. In addition to her direct assistance with naturalization and green card applications, June’s ability to dedicate time to legal research and writing, helps JFON staff attorneys with the extensive briefs needed for asylum and waiver cases. June is a graduate of the University of California Hastings College of Law and previously worked for a private firm.

Intake Specialist, Geraldine de Paz:

Geraldine joined Iowa JFON on January of 2019. She was born and raised in Iowa, she has Salvadorian and Guatemalan roots, and she is fluent in both English and Spanish. Before JFON, she worked on getting her medical terminology and Patient intake and billing certification and she was working in the healthcare industry working with cancer patients in the Radiation department. She came to JFON because she enjoys working with people and helping with their needs. Geraldine loves to learn new things, listen to music, hang with friends, and cook. Geraldine will work under the “Victims of Crime Act federal grant”, coordinating legal services to victims of crime.

Legal Assistant, Marcos Lester:  

Marcos joined Iowa JFON as Intake Specialist in October 2017. Originally from Nicaragua, he graduated from Augsburg College in Minneapolis, with a BA in Biology. Before coming to JFON, he worked as a canvasser for a non-profit in Minnesota, then moved to Iowa where he worked in a laboratory doing nutritional testing. He is fluent in Spanish and English. Since 2017 at JFON, Marcos coordinated all the appointments for monthly meetings and handled data reports from our services. Currently Marcos is our new Legal Assistant since December 28th, 2018 under the “Legal staff expansion grant”.

 

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Becoming American

Documentary series at Franklin Public Library on Monday February 4th. This one the first Monday of the 6 weeks series from 6PM to 8PM

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You can Donate online to Iowa JFON to Keep Families Together.  http://www.iowajfon.org/donate-now/

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

Rob Rutland-Brown
Executive Director
National Justice for Our Neighbors
 

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

https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/politics/2018/04/10/iowa-sanctuary-city-ban-becomes-law-sf-481-reynolds-signs/504176002/

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

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


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**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.

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ABOUT IOWA JUSTICE FOR OUR NEIGHBORS:

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: http://www.iowajfon.org

 


Help us Keep Families Together in Iowa!