A donated camper becomes a bridge to South Florida’s diverse and vulnerable immigrant communities
After months of praying, planning, and preparing, the South Florida JFON Mobile Immigration Clinic made its first public appearance on a beautiful Sunday afternoon in February.
First United Methodist Church of Homestead hosted the clinic, generously providing electrical outlets, freshly-baked cookies, and volunteers.
“The church is right in the middle of downtown Homestead,” says Caitlin Kastner, a missionary currently serving with South Florida JFON. “We parked the camper so that it could be seen by people driving by, but set up our intake tables behind the camper and close to the church building for a little privacy. We used the outside tables for intake and then brought people inside the camper to meet with the attorney.”
Altogether the mobile clinic saw eight clients, including four unaccompanied minors. One of the minors missed his two previous weekday appointments because of his work in the fields. For so many clients, potential and current, getting to an appointment during the work week can be a nearly insurmountable obstacle. Taking a day off work is just not possible.
Finding a way to get to a clinic can also be a problem for low-income immigrants. Once out of Miami, there are few public transportation options available. But with the mobile clinic, says site attorney and director Janet Horman, South Florida JFON can reach the more isolated and rural areas where they are so urgently needed.
“We hope to become a bridge to some of these outlying areas,” Janet adds. “There are so many people out there without access to legal help. It just tears me up. I wish we could serve everybody.”
With the mobile clinic up and running, Janet and her crew are one small step closer to building that bridge—and helping more of our immigrant neighbors.
Meanwhile, the mobile clinic’s next appearance will be in a North Miami Haitian neighborhood in April.