Tennessee Justice for Our Neighbors provides free or affordable immigration legal services, advocates for immigrant rights, and educates faith-based communities and the public about immigration issues.
1. Operating support.
2. Bi-lingual volunteers.
4. Legal volunteers (law students and paralegals).
5. Volunteers with nonprofit management experience willing to consult or take on leadership roles.
6. Community leaders willing to advocate on behalf of immigrants and refugees.
7. Congregational leaders who can introduce the work of JFON in their religious communities.
Tennessee Justice for Our Neighbors holds monthly intake clinics in Nashville, and most of our clients are from middle Tennessee. We do have a number of clients from other parts of Tennessee however, and even a few who have moved out of state, but we are continuing to serve them. Numerous individuals have driven long distances to access our services.
We are thankful for our supporters including:
Innocent children and mothers are not guaranteed legal representation in Immigration Court. Many of them have expended all of their financial resources and energy to reach the United States in order to be safe from violence and poverty in their own countries. We believe that it is our obligation to provide competent, free immigration legal services to provide access to justice for immigrants in Tennessee.
TNJFON fills this staggering lack of legal resources for immigration needs in three ways. First, it is one of four non-profit immigration legal services providers in the state in which a lawyer (as opposed to a trained non-lawyer) handles cases. Immigration law is extremely complex, and many individuals’ legal problems require an experienced immigration attorney. Second, it is one of the only lawyer-staffed organizations handling immigration matters that are not related to domestic violence. We do handle many domestic violence cases, but we also provide legal advice and representation to clients with a broad range of immigration legal problems. Third, it is one of the only organizations that does not charge clients a fee for certain humanitarian services. This allows us to handle complicated and time-intensive cases for some of the most vulnerable and impoverished immigrants in our communities.
There are so few lawyers serving immigrants in our state that JFON has also become a resource for lawyers working in non-immigration settings with questions about how immigration matters might impact the issues on which an attorney is representing a non-citizen. Lawyers helping non-citizens with criminal matters, divorce and custody disputes, abuse and neglect proceedings, wage theft or other employment disputes, landlord-tenant disputes, access to health care and benefits matters, and other kinds of civil legal matters have contacted JFON for information about how immigration matters might affect their cases. Other advocates helping immigrants look to JFON for advice with non-legal problems to help connect individuals with other services.
1. Because Tennesseans new to the US are victimized at an alarmingly disproportionate rate, TN JFON is partnering with the District Attorney for Nashville and Davidson County to represent victims in obtaining U-visas (Victims of Crime Visas), which helps the D.A. prosecute perpetrators of crimes. The victim’s advocate in that office has informed JFON that she has an extremely large number of such victims in need of immigration assistance to help with their cooperation with the prosecution. We have asked her to refer to JFON the cases most urgently needing representation, although the numbers of individuals even in this most urgent category have been more than JFON can handle with our existing staff. We have a number of individuals on our wait list at this time. TN JFON is seeing many kinds of U-visa cases being referred from various agencies and churches. We have several heart-rending cases in which an undocumented child has been the victim of rape, which makes the child and their immediate family members eligible for a law-enforcement visa if the victim and parents help cooperate with the prosecution.
As an example, this year TN JFON received a Victim of Crime visa for a victim of domestic violence whose husband beat her nearly to the point of unconsciousness in front of their two young children and tried to run over the family with his vehicle when they returned home to get clothes and shoes. With her law-enforcement visa she is able to better provide for her two children and prevent her abuser from threatening further harm because of her immigration status.
· Visas for victims (U visas) received: 29 in 2011, 123 since founding
· Green cards: 43 in 2011, 54 since founding
TN JFON helps individuals who are citizens or lawful permanent residents apply for their relatives to join them in the United States, as provided in federal immigration law. For example, we have a client who is a citizen, but is originally from Canada. Under our immigration law, she can petition for her daughter to obtain legal status here in the United States. With our help, her daughter, who is 20 years old, is now in the process of applying for her green card.
A woman came to the Nashville JFON clinic because her application to naturalize to become a U.S. Citizen had been denied. She had been a lawful permanent resident for a number of years. The immigration officer had denied her naturalization petition because she had not established good moral character, as required by law. The reasoning the officer gave was that he believed she had been associated with a terrorist group in Central America. As a younger woman, she had been kidnapped by this terrorist group, forced into slavery, and repeatedly raped by its members. She had been granted asylum in the United States because of this persecution and had become permanent resident. Her major concern about having been denied naturalization was that she wanted to petition for her son to have status in the United States and not have to fear deportation. He was already twenty years old, and if she had been able to petition for him with the status of a U.S. citizen, it would have been a very fast process. If she spent time fighting the denial of her naturalization and lost, he would likely turn 21 in the interim, at which point he would enter a different category of relationship to her. In this new status, it would have taken her son approximately twenty years to be become a permanent resident. Although she did not realize this was relevant to her efforts, she was married to a U.S. citizen who was eligible to petition for her son as his step-son. We helped the family with the appropriate legal paperwork, and her son is now a lawful permanent resident with work authorization, a driver’s license, and on the path to citizenship. She may at some point choose to appeal the denial of her citizenship application, but for now, she has achieved her goal on behalf of her son.
Advising low-income Tennesseans about their rights under U.S. immigration law. TN JFON is one of the only lawyer-staff non-profit immigration legal clinics that advises individuals about a broad array of immigration legal issues without a charge. This is a very important service for low-income immigrants. Immigration issues deeply affect many of our immigrant neighbors’ lives, and they often fall prey to bad legal advice or, quite often, no legal advice. In the past year, TN JFON has given legal advice to two different immigrant mothers with extremely ill children. One mother who attended a clinic in 2009 had a child whose leukemia had just recently gone into remission, and she had important questions about the immigration process. Another mother was at a clinic in the spring of 2010 with a very small child on a ventilater, with a severely enlarged head, who also received free legal advice about her immigration situation.
On June 15, 2012, Secretary of Homeland Security announced a change of policy as to how DHS will enforce immigration law against young persons who came to the United States without documentation as children and have only known the United States as home. Pursuant to this new policy, the Department will exercise prosecutorial discretion to defer removal action for qualifying young persons.
JFON helps unaccompanied minors under the age of 18 who are in the United States alone apply for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. This status will allow youth to apply for a social security number, work and obtain a drivers license. In 5 years, these youth are eligible for citizenship
TN JFON accomplishes its work by conducting monthly intake clinics at churches and recruiting volunteers from the church and surrounding community to assist in the process of providing legal services. While the actual legal services are provided by a paid staff attorney, volunteers play a central role in organizing each clinic, creating a welcoming atmosphere, and advocating for the immigrant community in diverse forums.
JFON volunteers do everything except provide legal advice on clinic days. They are trained to plan, coordinate, and run each clinic. They are given the skills needed to ensure the clinic flows well, provide case management services, provide translation services, and conduct an initial intake interview with clients. They are trained to maintain confidentiality of client information, as well as in issues regarding the prohibition of the provision of legal services by non-licensed individuals. They also arrive early to set up the space, prepare the files, bring food for the volunteers and clients to share, play with the children who come with their parents for intake, and generally provide hospitality.
graduated from Trevecca Nazarene University and Vanderbilt Divinity
School. Wade’s work with the National
Healthcare for the Homeless Council gave him experience in fundraising,
communications and public policy. Wade
has volunteered with Big Brother Big Sister, the Mary
Parrish Center for
Domestic Violence and the Hawassa Children’s Project in Ethiopia.
Adrienne received her undergraduate degree in English from Vanderbilt University in 2006, and her law degree from Vanderbilt University Law School in 2009. In the summer of 2007, Adrienne worked as an intern at the Tennessee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence Immigrant Legal Clinic in Nashville, Tennessee. In the summer of 2008, Adrienne worked as a law clerk at Rose Immigration Law Firm in Nashville, Tennessee.
Bethany joined TN Justice for Our Neighbors in December 2014 as the DACA Attorney and is delighted to be working with immigrant youth in the metro Nashville area. She is a graduate of Rhodes College and Tulane University School of Law. Prior to joining JFON, Bethany was in private practice in New Orleans, Baltimore and Nashville. She has lived in Nashville for over a decade and volunteered with Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC), Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), the Nashville Bar Association Pro Bono Program and the Nashville Public Library. She enjoys reading, traveling and spending time her family.
In September 2014, JFON will worked with Kate Monaghan, consultant with CNM, to develop a more comprehensive strategic plan. In January 2015, JFON hired an Executive Director to carry out the strategic plan.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
The United States stands out among nations as a melting pot of cultures and ethnicities. Demographers predict that by 2050, no single majority group will exist in the United States. Diversity is a key part of Middle Tennessee’s past, present and future. Nashville, especially, is a model of the American "melting pot," with an active Native American population, thriving Hispanic community and growing Middle Eastern and Asian presence. Different cultures, religions, ideas and customs come together harmoniously in Music City.
In today's climate of economic uncertainty, Middle Tennesseans may be concerned about the potential of rising crime. Fortunately, there are ways we can work together to protect ourselves and our communities from crime.
Crime prevention cannot be achieved by one body alone. Rather, effective crime prevention results from a web of institutions, agencies, and daily life — including communities, families, schools, and the legal institutions of policing and criminal justice.
Copyright © 2014 The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee
3833 Cleghorn Avenue, Nashville, TN 37215