One Day at a Time

Hope of a path forward for refugees, for asylum seekers, for DREAMers, and for countless other immigrants across the United States.  

One day at a time.  This mantra is something I’ve been reminding myself of in order to stay focused and clear-eyed amid the roller coaster of news and emotions over the past week.

Joe Biden has been elected the next President of the United States.  From an immigration policy perspective, and for the daily work at Justice for Our Neighbors sites around the country, this result has enormous implications.

We expect that in the months ahead, President Biden and his team will work to undo many of the executive actions and administrative policies enacted by the Trump administration that have served to limit, slow down, and wall off immigration opportunities for so many of our clients.

These changes will take time, but they offer hope of a path forward for refugees, for asylum seekers, for those with DACA, and for countless other immigrants across the United States.  We will be working diligently to advocate for these changes, to understand them, and to educate the public and our clients about them.  We will assist immigrants in navigating a new terrain.

This election result is welcome news for exhausted staff and volunteers throughout the JFON network.  Our work to provide welcome through immigration legal services had become ever more challenging and frustrating.

However, despite this positive outcome, the narrow margin of victory in this election has made clear how truly divided we are as a nation.  For me and so many others connected with JFON, we are especially heartbroken at the contrast in Americans’ perspectives about how we should treat immigrants.

For us, the premise that we should welcome the stranger, help families to unite, serve as a refuge for those fleeing violence, and promote access to our legal system is something that undergirds our work.  I recognize, though, that so many of our fellow Americans hold different views.  This deep divide underscores the value of another facet of JFON’s mission: to bring communities together.

We will work harder to create opportunities for those who do not have meaningful relationships with immigrants so they may better understand their stories and sacrifices.  We will redouble our efforts to engage volunteers from all walks of life in our work, burgeoning a community of immigrants and non-immigrants alike who come to appreciate each other’s shared humanity.  While we know this is just a start, we believe these relationships are a key ingredient to change.

And as we look toward this new chapter of our work, I encourage us to pause. To breathe. We recognize that our vision of a society in which immigrants are truly welcomed and are able to fully participate is not an impossibility, but neither has it somehow been realized through one election, particularly one as divisive as this.

The challenges remain daunting, but we are invigorated for the work at hand.  I am grateful to each of you for the many ways you have helped JFON persevere over the past four years. May we find strength from each other to carry this work forward, one day at a time.

Rob Rutland-Brown
Executive Director,
National Justice for Our Neighbors


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Immigration Issues