National Justice For Our Neighbors (NJFON) was created in the wake of Immigration Reform and Immigration Act of 1996, which created an increase in complex regulations around immigration. After September 11 and the passage of the Patriot Act, application backlogs grew along with deportation orders, increasing the need for NJFON services. West Michigan got its first JFON site in 2004, hosted at Grand Rapids First United Methodist Church. We now also have satellites in Traverse City and Kalamazoo. JFON is a faith-driven ministry out of the United Methodist Church that welcomes immigrants into our communities by providing high-quality immigration legal services, education, and advocacy. We provide free or low-cost immigration legal services to those earning 200% of poverty or less. Since 2004, JFON of West Michigan has worked with over 2,500 clients from over 87 nations.
In our legal clinics, staff and volunteers work together to set appointments, welcome clients, conduct intake interviews with new clients in addition to many other tasks. Our attorneys meet with clients in confidential sessions to provide advice and counsel. Many clients are then taken on for full representation by JFON staff attorneys. Staff and volunteers at JFON sites advocate for immigration reform that reflects our shared values of fairness and equality. We take every opportunity to educate our communities about immigration issues and laws. We strive to keep families together and to provide our immigrant neighbors with hospitality, compassion, and respect. JFON takes pride in welcoming all refugees and immigrants regardless of their race or religion.