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Advocacy

Justice For Our Neighbors-Nebraska (JFON-NE) advocates for immigrants in our community by providing free legal representation, conducting educational presentations at churches and other organizations, and through community involvement. Below you will find ways in which you can become involved with JFON-NE, other organizations that advocate for just immigration laws, documentaries that reflect the realities of our broken system, and educational articles that will help you become more knowledgeable about immigrants in our midst.
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JFON-NE 2017 Legislative Priorities

LB 505: Anti-Refugee/Anti-Asylee Bill Violates Federal Law

March 2, 2017 — Today our Legal Director Charles Shane Ellison testified on behalf of JFON-NE against LB505, the anti-refugee and anti-asylee bill that declares a state of emergency and would require data compilation from refugee resettlement agencies to be publically published. Shane spoke to the legal impracticalities of the bill, which would violate federal laws protecting privileged refugee information from unauthorized disclosures, and also to its fundamentally problematic premise that refugees pose a security threat–despite being the most intensely vetted group of American immigrants and extremely unlikely to pose harm. 

Read his testimony and watch this page for updates.

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Previous Posts:

April 20, 2016: LB 947 is Now Nebraska Law
Mar 30, 2016:  JFON-NE Refutes Governor’s Claims re NE LB947
Mar 31, 2016:  To BIA: Asylum Definition Needed for Families
Feb 19, 2016:   LB947 Moves Ahead
Feb 22, 2016:  Senator Kintner Halts LB966

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Justice For Our Neighbors-Nebraska (JFON-NE) is a nonprofit organization providing free immigration legal service, education, and advocacy for indigent and low-income immigrant individuals and families in Nebraska and western Iowa.  We serve immigrants of all faiths, races, abilities and ages, with an emphasis on the most vulnerable.  Staff attorneys specialize in immigration law, representing persons who are eager to earn legal status as lawful citizens of our community.

Education

Presentations

Part of Justice for Our Neighbors- Nebraska’s (JFON-NE) mission is to welcome immigrants into our communities not only by providing them with free, high-quality legal immigration legal services and advocating for just immigration laws, but also by educating both immigrant and U.S. citizens about the realities of immigration laws and the effect they have on our families and our communities. Therefore, we provide educational presentations to service providers, churches, and community groups.

If your organization would like to invite a speaker from JFON-NE to conduct a presentation, complete and submit the Speaker Request Form. Please provide as much information as possible, and submit your application at least three weeks in advance of the date of the presentation or event. This will allow our staff time to coordinate and communicate whether it is possible to accommodate your request.  Thank you.

Educational Opportunities

Free Citizenship Classes

You may refer anyone interested in becoming a U.S. citizen to the following organizations which provide naturalization classes free of charge.

 Tree of Life Center

When: Every Monday
Time: 6:30PM—8:30PM
Where: 4101 Q Street
Omaha, NE 68107
Phone: (402) 346-3203

Catholic Charities

When: Every Tuesday
Time: 5PM—6PM
Where: 5211 S. 31st St.
Omaha, NE 68107
Phone: (402) 939-4615

Free ESL Classes

If you know anyone interested in English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, please refer them to the Metropolitan Community College’s ESL program. Additional information concerning non-credit ESL instruction can be obtained through the Adult Basic Education Office at (402) 457-2312.

How to Obtain an ITIN

An ITIN, or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, is a tax processing number only available for certain non-resident and resident aliens, their spouses, and dependents who cannot get a Social Security Number (SSN). It is a 9-digit number, beginning with the number “9”, formatted like an SSN (NNN-NN-NNNN). To obtain an ITIN please follow one of the links below.

English: Individual Taxpayer Identification Number
en espanol: Número de Identificación Personal del Contribuyente

Articles

Dispelling DREAM Act Myths

The DREAM Act—a popular proposal to provide legal status to undocumented youth who entered the U.S. as children, graduated from U.S. high schools, and attend college or enter the military—is the target of a smear campaign from anti-immigration hardliners. According to them, passage of the DREAM Act would cheat native-born students out of opportunities. This tired effort to pit immigrants and native-born—whether they are workers or students—against one another is not only destructive, but has no basis in fact. … Read the full article

Unauthorized Immigrants Pay Taxes, Too

‘The unauthorized, like everyone else in the United States, pay sales taxes. They also pay property taxes—even if they rent. At least half of unauthorized immigrants pay income taxes. Add this all up and it amounts to billions in revenue to state and local governments. … Read the full article.

Myths & Facts About Birthright Citizenship

The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution is enshrined in U.S. history as the cornerstone of American civil rights, ensuring due process and equal protection under the law to all persons. Equally important, however, is the Fourteenth Amendment’s affirmation that all persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to its jurisdiction are, in fact, U.S. citizen …Read the full article.

 5 Myths About Immigration

Despite the fact that we are a nation of immigrants — or perhaps because of it — immigration continues to be one of America’s most contentious topics. The new law in Arizona authorizing police to arrest individuals who cannot show documents proving that they are in the country legally has set off a fresh bout of acrimony. But as in the past, much of the debate is founded on mythology. …Read the full article.

Legal Services

Below are the JFON-NE areas of immigration legal practice. We offer legal consultations provided by professional attorneys who specialize in immigration law. To find out if  you are eligible for free legal services call our intake partner, the Nebraska Immigration Legal Assistance Hotline (NILAH), at 1-855-307-6730.

Asylum

In order to qualify for asylum, one must be within the U.S. and establish that he/she meets the definition of a refugee contained within the Immigration and Nationality Act.  A refugee is any person who is outside of his/her country of nationality or, if stateless, is outside any country in which he/she last habitually resided, and “who is unable or unwilling to return to, and is unable or unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of, that country because of [past] persecution or a well-founded fear of [future] persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.”  It is also important for one seeking asylum to file within one year of his/her last date of entry.

Family Based

A citizen of the United States may file a petition for certain relatives to help them obtain lawful permanent resident status within the United States if the otherwise qualify. Those relatives include the following:

  • Spouse
  • Minor children (who are unmarried and under 21 years old)
  • Adult sons or daughters (who are married or who are 21 years or older)
  • Parents, if the U.S. citizen petitioner is at least 21 years old or older
  • Brothers, if the U.S. citizen petitioner is at least 21 years old or older

A lawful permanent resident may also file a petition for certain family members to help them obtain lawful permanent resident status within the United States if the otherwise qualify. Those relatives include the following:

  • Spouse
  • Minor children
  • Adult unmarried sons or daughters

Note that wait times can vary widely and other restrictions may prevent certain people from qualifying for lawful permanent resident status.

Refugee

As explained above, a refugee is a person who has fled his or her country of nationality because of past persecution or a fear of future persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. People who enter the U.S. as refugees are resettled within the U.S. after having been found to meet the definition of a refugee.

Refugees must file to adjust status to that of a lawful permanent resident one year after having entered the United States as a refugee.

Removal/Deportation

Removal proceedings are formal legal proceedings initiated by the federal government against non-citizens whom the government believes may be legally removed from the United States.  These proceedings typically begin when a notice to appear (i.e., the charging document) is served on an individual believed to be removable and subsequently filed with a federal immigration judge. The notice to appear will state factually why the government believes the person is legally removable from the U.S.

Sometimes people charged as being removable are not actually removable and other times people may be legally entitled to assert certain defenses to removal.  The immigration judge will decide these matters.  Either the non-citizen or the government may seek review of an immigration judge’s decision if an appeal is timely filed.

ProBono Detainee Project:
For persons who are currently detained, you may download the ProBono Detainee Project intake in English here.

Para personas que estan detenidas actualmente, descargue la aplicacion del programa ProBono para Detenidos en español aqui.

SIJS

Special Immigrant Juvenile status is a form of lawful status for immigrant children in the United States who cannot be reunited with one or both parents as a result of abuse, neglect, or abandonment. For a child to be eligible, in addition to the above a state court within the United States must also find that that it is not in the best interest of the child to be returned to his/her country of nationality.

It is important to note that the age of majority in Nebraska is 19 years old and in Iowa it is 18 year old.  Children should seek legal advice on whether they qualify for this form relief well in advance of reaching the age of majority

U-Visa

Individuals who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse as a result of being a victim of a certain serious qualifying crimes may be eligible for U nonimmigrant status. Those qualifying crimes include: “rape; torture; trafficking; incest; domestic violence; sexual assault; abusive sexual contact; prostitution; sexual exploitation; stalking; female genital mutilation; being held hostage; peonage; involuntary servitude; slave trade; kidnapping; abduction; unlawful criminal restraint; false imprisonment; blackmail; extortion; manslaughter; murder; felonious assault; witness tampering; obstruction of justice; perjury; fraud in foreign labor contracting.”   People who qualify for a U-visa may also include certain family members as derivatives, such as a spouse, children, parents, and siblings, depending upon the age of the victim.

VAWA

If a spouse, child, or parent, is being battered or subject to extreme cruelty by a U.S. citizen of lawful permanent resident, he or she may be able to file a self-petition under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). VAWA allows qualifying victims of domestic violence to obtain deferred action, a work permit, and some individuals may also be eligible for lawful permanent resident status.   A VAWA self-petition can be filed without the abuser knowledge or permission. The provisions of VAWA apply equally to women and men.

 

 

Neither the information provided on this web site nor transmissions between you and JFON-NE through this web site are intended to provide legal advice or to create an attorney-client relationship.  Note that you are not a client of JFON-NE until both you and JFON-NE agree to enter into that attorney/client relationship in a signed writing specifically describing the legal matter on which JFON-NE will represent you. | ® 2014 Justice For Our Neighbors NE