Wesley United Methodist Church, just east of downtown Ottumwa, hosts a monthly clinic to help low-income residents navigate U.S. immigration laws. Iowa Justice for Our Neighbors (JFON) provides free, high-quality immigration legal services, education, and advocacy through a network of clinics across the state. Some clients may drive a couple of hours to make use of JFON’s service, Carol Ryan reports, but last year about “half of the clients were from Wapello County,” where Ottumwa is the county seat.
One case from the clinic at Wesley UMC involved a mother who had been separated from her children for seven years. She was told as she fled her homeland to seek asylum that the children could join her once she became established in the United States. She encountered many roadblocks and feared that her children would grow up without her. But a JFON attorney, Ann Naffier, was able to provide the legal counsel needed to resolve the situation.
JFON is supported in part with a Matthew 25 grant from the South Central District. These funds are made possible by the apportionment contributions of United Methodist churches throughout Iowa. Learn more about the ministry of Justice for Our Neighbors in Iowa at their website, www.iajfon.org.