Nationally and locally, the JFON model was built on faith-based support. More than 20 years ago, the United Methodist Committee on Relief started a network of legal clinics for low-income immigrants in local congregations around the country.
Congregants of First United Methodist Church of Grand Rapids opened the first JFON clinic in Michigan in 2004. Three more offices were opened over time as local ministries of United Methodist churches in Kalamazoo, Metro Detroit and Traverse City.
In January 2018, Justice for Our Neighbors Michigan was formed when the four sites were merged into an independent, statewide organization to provide the administrative and development support needed to sustain the growing caseloads. In June 2023, the organization’s name was changed to Immigration Law & Justice Michigan to better describe our mission and clients.
We are an affiliate of the Immigration Law & Justice Network, which has 19 affiliated sites across the country. We pay no dues or fees to the network and retain operational autonomy and control. The free services we receive include malpractice coverage for attorneys and staff; directors’ and officers’ insurance for board members; targeted grants; a consulting attorney and expert consulting, training and peer learning opportunities.