Author: Dean

JFON DFW Searches for New Attorney

Justice For Our Neighbors Dallas-Fort Worth has launched its search for a new Staff Attorney.

The position is being posted through several venues. What follows is a condensed version of the Posting. For the full text, or for more information, contact JFON DFW Executive Director Dean Reed at jfondfw@gmail.com.

Job Title: Staff Attorney; Job Type: Full-time

The “Justice For Our Neighbors” (JFON) staff attorney is responsible for the provision of immigration legal services and for the supervision and training of volunteers and support staff. In addition, the staff attorney may work in coordination with each clinic to promote community education and advocacy of immigrants’ rights and “know your rights” popular legal education.

The staff attorney should have a strong commitment to public interest legal service and to the enfranchisement and empowerment of newcomer immigrant communities. The staff attorney should have an appreciation of the spiritual principles of this work and an ability to work sensitively with numerous volunteers and clients having diverse personalities, lifestyles, cultures, political orientations and faiths.

General knowledge of immigration and nationality law and prior experience in this field are strongly preferred.

Professional and Educational Requirements

  • The successful candidate will have passed the bar before the hire date . [J.D. required].
  • Ability to work in a multi-lingual setting is required. Foreign language ability is preferred.
  • Demonstrated ability to work with religious and non-profit institutions is a plus.
  • The successful candidate will demonstrate knowledge of national and immigration law, especially experience in family reunification and asylum/refugee applications.
  • Licensure in the state of Texas is not required.

Salary/Benefits: Salary negotiable and competitive. Additional benefits include health insurance, pension, 2 weeks paid vacation, and an allowance for professional expenses.

Application Process: Send resume and cover letter to Dean Reed (jfondfw@gmail.com). Job title must be specified in the Subject line. No faxes will be accepted. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, with hiring at the earliest possible date.

Celebrating Mary Beth Garcia

th

“Hats Off” and

 

“Happy Trails”

The Justice For our Neighbors DFW Board of Directors  cordially invite you to join them in

Celebrating Mary Beth Garcia’s 14 years of dedicated service

and

Wishing her well as she embarks on a new Journey in the private practice of Immigration Law            

Thursday, July 25, 2013

5:00 to 7:00 PM

First United Methodist Church of Grapevine – Leach Hall

422 Church Street * Grapevine, TX 76051

Immigration Experience a Big Success

The main room was a beehive of activity at the Conference Immigration Experience.
The main room was a beehive of activity at the Conference Immigration Experience.

 

The Central Texas Conference offered a 2-hour Mission Experience for conference members to take difference-making action, including an Immigration Experience that was created and led by JFON Dallas-Fort Worth. JFON offered 4 advocacy options: writing postcards to Senators, calling Senators’ DC offices, joining an advocacy email list, and guided prayer. A screening room with videos of Jasmine’s Story and the new JFON DFW video were available as an education option.

At each station there were resources handed out that gave instructions for the activity at that location, plus information about immigration, United Methodist positions on the issue, and immigrants’ stories illustrating both the struggles faced and how JFON helps so many.

An estimated 200 conference members took part in the 90 minute event, with more than 100 writing cards which were delivered in person to the Senators’ DC offices, an estimated 40-50 phone calls made, 130 viewing the videos, and many others joining the advocacy email list, and engaging in prayer.

A team from around the conference came together to make it all happen. A great job!
A team from around the conference came together to make it all happen. A great job!

Everyone agreed that the event was a great success, and several asked JFON to come to their churches to make presentations, lead workshops, offer sermons, etc.

Several churches plan to duplicate the Immigration Experience in their congregations, perhaps as a part of larger Missions or Social Action fairs that feature many ways to be engaged for the benefit of God’s children.

If you would like to know more, or receive resources used at the Immigration Experience to adapt for your setting, simply call Dean Reed at 254-485-5832.

Your Action Needed in Support of S. 744

Here is where the S. 744 immigration reform bill is in the legislative process:

IIC+Image-Action-+Senate+Floor

The Senate will consider amendments to the bipartisan immigration reform bill as early as Monday, June 10th, and vote on the bill in late June. Key amendments will be considered regarding who is eligible for the path to citizenship, additional border enforcement, and changes that could negatively affect refugees and asylum seekers.

Amendments will be considered very quickly, so it’s important that your Senators hear from you NOW and EVERY DAY until the Senate passes immigration reform! ALL Senators need to hear from their constituents that reform must prioritize family unity and create a clear and accessible pathway to citizenship.

To make your voice heard, simply….

1.     Call 866-940-2439 and follow the prompts of the automated system

2.     Leave a message on your first Senator’s message system (see suggested text below)

3.     After you complete the first call, repeat this process using the same dial-in number. You’ll be automatically connected with your other senator.

 

Suggested message:

“My name is _______ from [City, Church]. As a person of faith I urge the Senator to do four things:

1.     Vote YES for the bipartisan immigration reform bill, S. 744.

2.     Support a pathway to citizenship that is not tied to border security triggers.

3.     Protect the refugee resettlement program from negative amendments, and

4.     Support amendments to reunite families and make the path to citizenship more accessible.”

S. 744 – The Legislative Process

The material below maps out the anticipated timeline for the legislative process for immigration reform bill S. 744. It’s long, but every American should know this process and participate in it! This material is from Bill Mefford, National Director for Civil and Human Rights for the United Methodist Church. He will help us know how to advance our Biblical and Christian values in this process.

To be in the loop for Bill’s information, either “Like” the Facebook page for our friends at WIN – the Welcoming Immigrants Network (https://www.facebook.com/pages/WIN-Welcoming-Immigrants-Network/104304694507?fref=ts) or if you don’t have a Facebook account, then write Dean Reed at rdr17@me.com or call him at 254-485-5832 to see about getting the info by email. We will share some of WIN’s info here, but not all of it.

Bill tells us: What follows is the expected timeline for the coming weeks and months. We are not in control of the timeline, and House and Senate leadership can change this at the drop of a hat, so be alert and stay flexible. For persons in the Central Texas Conference (Fort Worth area),

May 9, 14, 16, 20-24 – We need to call all members of the Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC) urging support or opposition to various amendments. I will send out the list each morning along with reasons for supporting or opposing each. Please plan to call and get others to do so!

Before the May 27 Recess: SJC will vote on the bill as amended. If the bill wins the vote it will be sent to the floor

May 27: Recess. Time for teams to have “Neighbor to Neighbor” meetings with Senators or their staffs. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL. This will be the LAST TIME we can have access to the Senators BEFORE THE JUNE DEBATE.

June: Senate Floor Debate – We do not have solid dates, but there will be more amendments and we will send out information on these so you can make calls to your Senators to support or oppose. At that time, the basic process is:

>> The first vote will be to determine if they can proceed to debate, 60 votes are needed

>> Then there will be a series of votes on amendments

>> After a set period of time, the next vote will be to determine to close debate, 60 votes are needed

>> Then they vote on the bill. 51 votes are needed for passage (though the Gang of 8 are hoping for 65-70)

At that point, things will move on to the House. The overall process will likely go into the fall, and perhaps all the way to the Christmas recess. We will share more later.

Be aware, be involved, live out your Christian values!

JFON DFW to Begin Affordable Fee Plan

The Board of Directors at Justice For Our Neighbors DFW has approved a client see system that goes into effect June 1. As of that date, we will begin charging “affordable fees” to our clients for the services we provide.

JFON has always provided its services free of charge, and this was even written into the National JFON By-Laws. But this February the National Board elected to change “free” to “affordable” so that the option of charging fees was open if Affiliates wanted to do so.

Our Board had discussed this in the past, and thought it would be an avenue we might pursue. We have been advised that granting organizations these days prefer to see that those benefitting from the ministries they support materially participate in the process themselves. So, “ministry with” is becoming rightfully important in many ways.

The JFON DFW Board debated the idea again, and decided that this is the appropriate step for the ministry at this time. The approved Fee Scale is quite modest, and we will still provide our services free of charge to those whose cases by definition involve hardship, such as refugees, victims of violence, etc. Clients will pay a $20 consultation fee, then flat fees of either $25 or $50 depending on the complexity of the case.

These fees are a fraction of the fees charged by comparable benevolent organizations, such as Catholic Charities, Proyecto Inmigrante, and others. We want everyone to know about this change, and encourage you to contact us with questions you may have. Simply call or write Executive Director Dean Reed or Local Attorney Mary Beth Garcia using the contact info listed under the Contact Us tab.

 

JFON Organizing Prayer Vigils for Reform

Protesters with crosses - interrJFON DFW has reached out to leaders across the North and Central Texas Conferences of the UMC to organize nearly 20 Family Unity Prayer Vigils in February and March, demonstrating the strength of support for immigration reform across the metroplex and Texas.

These prayer vigils are a response to an invitation from the Interfaith Immigration Coalition to hold as many events as possible by people of all faiths and denominations to show how widespread support for immigration is across the nation.

These vigils come at a time when the topic of reform is moving to center stage in Washington, as evidenced by the release of Reform Frameworks by both President Obama and a team of eight US Senators this week.

Upcoming Prayer Vigils are scheduled as follows:

Taylor – Thur. Feb. 28 at 6:30 PM, Tenth Street United Methodist Church, 410 W. 10th Street  76574

Arlington – Sat. March 2 at 6 PM, East Arlington Community Center, 2201 E. Park Row Dr. 76010

Acton – Sun. March 3 at 6:30 PM, Acton United Methodist Church, 3433 Fall Creek Hwy 76049

Arlington – Wed. Mar. 6th, 7 PM at St. Matthew Catholic Church, 2021 New York Ave. 76010

Georgetown –March Date at Time TBA, Getsemani Community Center, 412 E 19th St. 78626

Dallas – March Date TBA at Pleasant Mound/Urban Park Methodist Church, 8301 Bruton Rd. 75217

Dallas – March Date TBA at Place TBA

Dallas – March Date TBA at Place TBA

Check back here for updates and new additions.

Vigils have previously been held during February as follows: Dallas Christ’s Foundry UMC on Feb. 8; Fort Worth Nueva Vida UMC on Feb. 13 (noon and 6 PM); Dallas Cathedral of Hope UCC on Feb. 13; Alamo, Texas, Precinct 2 Center on Feb. 16; Arlington at Methodist Community Center on Feb. 18th; Alton Head Start Center on Feb 19; Brownsville Cameron County Courthouse on Feb. 20; Fort Worth All Saints RCC on Feb. 21 (Mass & Prayer Meeting); Grapevine 1st UMC on Feb. 23; and Fort Worth Nueva Vida UMC on Feb. 24.

At many of the vigils, a 12 minute video called “Jasmine’s Story” will be shown. It tell the true story of a 17 year old girl whose parents were both deported, leaving her on her own. It illustrates the problem of separated families that is a major issue for many immigrants.

For more information, contact Dean Reed at 254-485-5832 or jfondfw@gmail.com

Immigration National Call 3 PM Monday

Call in and gear up for the Reform effort!

The Senate released their principles and Obama announced his blueprint. But there is still a long way to go to attain humane and sensible legislation– you and your team will make a difference!

Participate in the Interfaith Immigration Coalition’s National Call this Monday, February 4th, at 3 PM Central.

Spread the word about the call – lets bring as many folks together as we possibly can and focus on building a movement strong enough to make the dreams of reform a reality!

Call in Number 805-399-1000 and Code 104402

RSVP at this site for powerpoint – the link for the webinar will be sent the morning of Feb. 4.

Proposed Agenda
* Updates and Analysis of Recent Principles and Blueprint
* How to build teams for local actions- Bill Mefford (GBCS)
* Family Unity Vigils and Actions in Field
* Q and A- Discussion

Obama Offers Speech and Framework for Reform

President Barack Obama speaks on immigration

At a planned speech Tuesday, President Obama expressed his support for immigration reform.Obama said Washington was having a “bipartisan moment” in which both Democrats and Republicans are giving evidence that they may be ready to pass legislation for reform.

In yesterday’s post, we gave a link to a reform framework released by a group of eight senators. Now, in connection with his speech, Obama has released his own suggested framework for reform.

Bishop Minerva Carcaño, episcopal leader for the California-Pacific Annual Conference and chair of the United Methodist Interagency

Taskforce on Immigration, was invited by the president to be at the conference. After the speech, she said, “I was highly encouraged that he made it clear immigration reform is a priority …. I applaud the President’s leadership in addressing the broken immigration system…. The immigration problems we face as a nation are complex and difficult. President Obama’s clear commitment to provide leadership and full engagement in the legislative process toward immigration reform will be critical.”Both frameworks are comprehensive, and both feature both enforcement elements and the long-sought relief of a pathway to citizenship, reunification of families, and other features that address the concerns of immigrants. There are also differences, such as Obama’s plan to end backlogs in family-sponsored immigration, increase in personnel and improvements in immigration courts, and added protections for immigrants relative to labor rights. And the senators’ plan is an enforcement-first plan, but Obama’s is not.

Responses to the president’s speech abound. The United Methodist General Board of Church and Society released a statement, Church World Service released a statement, and Faith in Public Life released a compilation of statements by faith leaders on the speech.

Bishop Minerva Carcaño

In her statement, Bishop Carcaño said, “United Methodists have long been active in working with other faith leaders from across the country in mobilizing thousands of people through hundreds of public witness actions and meetings with members of Congress and their staffs. I look forward to working closely with President Obama and Congress to enact effective, just and compassionate reform.”

Additional resources of interest available online are a full transcript of Obama’s speech, an article about the speech by the United Methodist News Service, and a brief Op-Ed article in the New York Times. The articles are not heavy analysis, but give a little perspective.

Immigration Reform Gains Traction

Monday a bipartisan framework for immigration reform was advanced by eight key senators– Michael Bennet, D-CO; Richard Durbin, D-IL; Jeff Flake, R-AZ; Lindsey Graham, R-SC; Robert Menendez, D-NJ; John McCain, R-AZ; Marco Rubio, R-FL; and Charles Schumer, D-NY.

The framework includes a pathway to citizenship for undocumented people, a version of the DREAM Act, expedited reunification for families and visas made available sufficient to address the real needs of American businesses. But it also is an enforcement-first plan that includes the beefing up of personnel in border patrols, installing more surveillance systems, and potentially harsh penalties. The senators’ document can be seen here.

So there is something here for everyone to like and to dislike. It will be a struggle, but we do have an opening to some progress.

Statements about the plan run the gamut of course. Here are links to the happy statement from Church World Service, a less optimistic view by Border Network for Human Rights, and a pretty balanced perspective from the General Board of Church and Society of the UMC. Everyone is reporting on it, so you can google to get various flavors.

Obama’s speech is today, and we will report on that soon.