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Winter 2017 Newsletter

Amy Lee

Dear Friends,

Joy. With a name like Jubilee, you would think we’re good at being joyful. We’re not. Often we’re immersed in listening to our clients’ desperate stories. Or we’re trying to leverage our legal training to find a pathway for our clients to remain in this country. Yet, we want to practice joyfulness and gratitude and live up to the name we’ve been given -- to celebrate and remember that all things belong to God and He provides for all that we need.
We are grateful for each client we served. For their resilience and courage. For grants and generous donations. For a bigger office space in downtown San Francisco that we share with our nonprofit friends at KIND. For our family at Grace Fellowship Community Church who nurtured and incubated us for the last two years in their building. For our community partners who work alongside us. For our amazing volunteers. For our first summer intern, Anne Yamamoto. For Justin Talbott, our new Spanish-speaking Legal Advocate. For the privilege of standing with marginalized immigrants in today’s volatile political climate. And for your prayers and partnership.


This year, we have provided direct immigration legal services to over 450 individuals, more than twice as many people as in 2016. Over 80% of these individuals had incomes at or below 250% of the federal poverty level ($61,500 for a family of 4). About 38% of our clients are Asian Pacific Islander and 59% are Latino. Nearly two-thirds of our clients are served in their native language: Spanish, Cantonese or Mandarin. Our docket includes family-based immigration (36%), relief for victims of violence and abuse (25%) and deportation defense (22%). In partnership with congregations like New Hope Covenant Church in Oakland and Reality SF, Jubilee hosted legal clinics where we provided free legal consultations to over 75 individuals with the help of our amazing volunteers. We conducted community trainings and know-your-rights presentations in English, Spanish and Cantonese to over 300 individuals in the community.  


Volunteers Karen Parnell and Jody Talkington conduct a know-your-rights presentation at New Hope Covenant Church in Oakland

Below are a couple of our clients’ stories (with their names and identifying details changed for confidentiality purposes).

Diego often traveled from Colombia to the U.S. to visit his parents. During his last visit, his father was diagnosed with lung cancer. Diego decided to remain in the U.S. to care for his parents. He eventually took over his father’s business. After his father passed away, his mother became depressed and isolated. She refused to leave home unless Diego accompanied her. When his mom became a U.S. citizen, she petitioned for Diego to obtain his green card. However, because he had overstayed his tourist visa many years ago to care for his parents, he faced additional barriers in obtaining a green card. Jubilee assisted him in applying for a complex waiver, which the immigration service granted. Diego returned to Colombia and was admitted into the U.S. as a legal permanent resident. He now has his green card. 


Mei met James, an American, through an online dating website. After a series of bad relationships, she desperately hoped that James was the one with whom she could spend the rest of her life. They talked on the phone and communicated via social media. He even travelled to China a few times to meet her and her family. They eventually married. He petitioned for her to join him in the U.S. Soon after arriving in the U.S., Mei started noticing James’ controlling behavior. He confiscated all her important documents. He forbade her from cooking Chinese food. He refused to take her to the doctor when she became ill. During an argument, James called the police and falsely claimed that she had hit him. Because Mei spoke very little English, she was unable to communicate with the officers. The police arrested her and put her in jail. No charges were filed. Upon her release, she discovered that James had emptied her bank account and lied to obtain a restraining order against her. She was left homeless and without any means to support herself. She eventually found refuge at a domestic violence shelter. Jubilee advocated on her behalf and helped her to obtain her green card based on the domestic abuse that she had suffered. 


Justin Talbott joined Jubilee in October as our Spanish-speaking Legal Advocate. Justin was born and raised in San Francisco’s Mission District. He learned early on that his family had luxuries (like visiting relatives overseas) that his undocumented friends did not have, simply because his friends did not have the “right” papers. While at U.C. Santa Cruz, he mentored and coached immigrant youth in baseball and soccer and volunteered at East Bay Sanctuary Covenant. He studied in Guatemala and graduated from U.C. Santa Cruz with a bachelor's degree in Linguistics.  

Thank you so much for your support. As we enter into our third year and continue to grow, please consider giving an ongoing or end-of-the-year gift to Jubilee. Your gift would make high-quality, affordable legal representation accessible to more marginalized immigrants.

We would love to hear from you! Come visit us at our new office at 200 Pine Street, 3rd Floor in downtown San Francisco. Please tell your friends and family about Jubilee!