Iowa JFON supports funding of the Refugee Rise Americorps program

Iowa JFON supports funding of the Refugee Rise Americorps program

March 30, 2016

Htay, right, was an interpreter for Kwa at the March "Green Card" Clinic. Both are refugees from Burma.

March 2016

Iowa JFON joins with the Iowa Conference United Methodist Church Legislative Advocacy Team in urging the funding of the Refugee Rise Americorps program SF 2298.  We also urge you to contact your legislators to continue this program by supporting SF 2298. Let me tell you how important this program is to Iowa JFON.
The Refugee RISE AmeriCorps program is right now providing two members in the Justice for Our Neighbors office. They are very important to us for outreach to refugees to help them with the requirement of the U.S. government to apply for their legal permanent residency (green card). In January and March, Iowa JFON held two legal clinics for low-income refugees and all of the logistics were taken care of by Angela de Prairie and Mohamed Toure, members of Refugee RISE AmeriCorps. We plan to continue these legal clinics during the year. The "refugee green card clinics" are a collaboration between Refugee RISE AmeriCorps, Iowa Justice for Our Neighbors, the American Friends Service Committee, EMBARCIOWA and other members of the Refugee Planning Alliance Legal Subcommittee.
Because of the work of Refugee RISE AmeriCorps member Mohamed Toure, many refugees from a variety of African and Middle Eastern countries have been informed about this opportunity to comply with the mandate for refugees. Several United Methodist Churches with refugee ministries have been contacted by Mr. Toure in order to let their refugees know about this free immigration legal clinic. Mr. Toure is from west Africa and is known in the refugee community, making it easier for him to identify those refugees that we can help. He has also started a project to identify sites where refugees can go for Citizenship classes in order to help them more fully integrate into our society.
Numerous volunteers supervised by Iowa JFON attorney Brynne Howard and AFSC’s Jody Mashek help with filling out the forms and other tasks on the day of the "green card clinic,"  proving once again that Iowa is a welcoming state. It is Refugee RISE AmeriCorps member Angela de Prairie who recruits volunteers and handles logistics for their training. Then Ms. de Prairie handles all arrangements for the day of the “refugee green card” clinic.  With the help of these two members we can extend the work of Iowa JFON to even more refugees.