2017 Annual Impact Report

Dear Friends,

Thank you. Whether you volunteered at a legal clinic, interpreted for a client, made a donation, met with a lawmaker, or simply welcomed an immigrant neighbor, you helped make life better for those we are called to serve.

In 2017, the Justice for Our Neighbors network delivered a strategic and bold response to the most urgent legal needs of immigrants within our communities.

  • When the Trump Administration announced executive orders that brought significant change and confusion, JFON provided education and clarity.
  • When Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) came under threat, JFON held emergency clinics while steadily advocating for protections.
  • When underserved immigrant communities along the border or in detention could no longer be ignored, we expanded and adapted our services accordingly.

Below are a few of our achievements in 2017, realized through the work of our expert attorneys, compassionate volunteers and dedicated partners.

We know that in 2018 our mission is more vital than ever. National JFON is equipped with a new strategic plan that recognizes two essential priorities for meeting the challenges ahead: strong partnerships and strong leadership.

What is YOUR America? The JFON Network from all over the USA contributed to make this video.
What is YOUR America? The JFON network from all over the USA contributed to make this video. Click to view!

This focus will allow us to serve more clients with unparalleled excellence and to stand with immigrants and allies in advocating for a nation that will provide opportunity, security, and justice for all.

Thank you for joining us!

Rob Rutland-Brown
Executive Director
National Justice for Our Neighbors

We used legal services and advocacy to assist and speak up for immigrants and refugees affected by the various iterations of the Trump Administration’s Muslim travel ban.

Starting on January 28, 2017, when the first travel ban abruptly took effect, JFON attorneys rushed to airports in Virginia, Chicago, and Dallas to come to the assistance of stranded lawful immigrants, visitors, and refugees from the original seven Muslim-majority banned countries.

We signed onto litigation to allow people from the banned countries to once again be able to travel to the U.S., and advocated for continued refugee resettlement in our communities. All the while, we provided expert legal services to clients from affected countries, including 122 low-income individuals from nations in the most recent version of the ban: Libya, Chad, Somalia, Iran, Yemen, Syria, and North Korea.

As the Trump Administration announced plans to increase raids and detention of immigrants, JFON assembled Know Your Rights packets and led educational presentations alongside partners throughout the country.

West Michigan Clinic
West Michigan Clinic

We worked to ensure that families were able to create “safety plans” in the event one or both parents were detained or deported. We helped immigrants understand their rights if they were stopped and searched by immigration agents on the street or met by them at home or at work.

Meanwhile, some sites, like Austin Region JFON, began to focus on men, women, and children in detention to help them identify lawful options to remain in the United States.

We expanded our immigration legal services to areas where they are needed most—especially the Southern border, where immigrants face unique challenges and have few places to turn for help.

Immigrant farmworkers laboring in the strawberry fields of California.

Imperial Valley JFON, in the desert along the California-Mexico border, began serving clients in March 2017.

Arizona JFON launched in Tucson to provide much-needed legal services to vulnerable immigrants.

From Florida to Tennessee, Nebraska to Northern Illinois, JFON expanded its legal services for asylum seekers.

Asylum seekers are men, women and children who flee their country of origin for many reasons, including persecution because of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or gender.  Asylum cases are among the most time-consuming of all immigration cases, often lasting years and requiring knowledgeable and experienced attorneys.

In 2017, between representing clients directly and training teams of pro bono attorneys, we helped more than 300 people navigate the complexities of the asylum process so they would not be forced to return home to persecution, torture or death.

As Temporary Protected Status (TPS) ended for individuals from certain countries and is on the verge of closing for others, we continued to assist hundreds of TPS holders from Haiti, El Salvador, Honduras, and elsewhere.

Our legal work focused on renewing work permits and helping immigrants identify lawful ways of remaining safely and securely in the United States. Through a variety of advocacy efforts, we also fought for a permanent legislative solution for TPS holders that would provide them an opportunity to become naturalized U.S. citizens.

We helped nearly 700 young men and women with their Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) applications and renewals, ensuring these immigrants could live and work in the U.S. as long as possible. We advocated tirelessly for permanent legislation that would allow DREAMers to become U.S. citizens with no strings attached.

JFON produced two DREAMer videos in 2017In 2017, the JFON network offered two videos in the cause of protecting DREAMers: “The JFON DREAMers” features former and current JFON DACA clients in their own words.  “Doesn’t the American Dream belong to those who need it the most?” asks Bono, of the band U2, in “We are ALL DREAMers,” produced by JFON’s Nebraska affiliate, Immigrant Legal Center. Click on the photo to visit our NJFON YouTube Channel!