News for Amigos de Casa San José: Feb. 10

Dear Casa San José Amigos,

Welcome back to our email newsletter! It now has a new location on our website, which we hope you will visit often.


On February 25, we need folks to help with games for children and with filling out deportation defense packets at a church fair in Erie. The event is at Iglesia San Esteban, 1237 W 21st Street, Erie PA 16502.  If you’re interested, please contact Sister Valerie at srvalerie@casasanjose.org.

We’re also looking for Spanish-speakers in Westmoreland County who can interpret for clients with social service providers.  If you can do this, please contact Sister Janice at srjanice@casasanjose.org.


Get Out the Vote for special election in PA 18th Congressional District (map) – formerly Tim Murphy’s district.  Monica could use help with registering new voters this Sunday, Feb. 11 at 3:30 p.m. at the Miraculous Medal Church (basement), 300 Pike St., Meadowlands, PA 15347.  Also, if you can help transport voters on March 13, the day of the election, please email her:  monica@casasanjose.org.  Anyone can do this, regardless of where you live.

PICC – the Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition, one of our partners – is going to reach out to PA university presidents to take steps to make their schools and policies immigrant friendly, meet with immigrant students, and take action on DACA, TPS, and Clean Dream Act. If you are a student, parent, or ally working with a particular institution and would like to co-sign the letter, or would like to make sure PICC sends a letter to your school, please contact Maria Sotomayor at mariasotomayor@paimmigrant.org or 215-832-3482.

Let’s thank Nancy Pelosi for her record-breaking speech in Congress in support of the Dreamers.  Please send her a tweet, email, letter, or Valentine’s Day card!


Supporting our youth poster Saturday, Jeimy is beginning a new program, partnering with Jewish Family & Community Services, for high school and above:  Supporting our Youth (SOY.)  They’ll learn skills like balancing a checkbook, applying for loans, going to college, and how to express themselves through art.  Each week will present a different topic.  Next Saturday, they are going to Crossroads Foundation College Fair.  Do you have relevant expertise you would like to share with the group?  (English is OK.)  Please contact Jeimy at jeimy@casasanjose.org

The Pittsburgh Foundation, which gave us a Small & Mighty Grant in 2016, invited Sister Janice to a “More Than Money” networking event for recipients on Feb.6.

Casa San Jose’s first monthly community meeting of the year was Jan 31 at 6:30pm in our office. Up for discussion was: What is lead and how it can affect us?  What to do if we encounter ICE in our neighborhoods? How can I be a part of Casa’s executive council? We thank the Allegheny County Health Department for teaching us about lead issues.  Next meeting will be February 28, and the topic is taxes.

During the President’s State of the Union speech, Casa’s watch party had 20 people attending.  The purpose was to respond as a group, and join many similar gatherings around the country in sending out simultaneous messages on social media supporting the Dreamers.  Read more details in this article the Post-Gazette.

March on ICE Pittsburgh Office on Jan. 30:  over 50 people showed up in freezing weather to their building on the South Side to protest treatment of immigrants and to support the Dreamers. The group was organized by Bend the Arc Pittsburgh, a progressive Jewish organization, and included Casa San José and the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement.  Monica spoke, saying that DACA recipients have acted as model residents their whole lives and deserve full, legal status in the U.S.  “These folks need a pathway to citizenship,” said Ruiz. “If not them, then who?”Monica at Bend The Arc protest

Our Story:

On Jan. 11, Vicente Sandoval was at his day job, cooking in the Union Grill kitchen on Craig St., when ICE officers, in plain clothes, walked in the door and asked to talk to “Vicente.”  Not knowing who they were, the manager acknowledged that he worked there, at which point they identified themselves and demanded that he be surrendered to them for arrest. Vicente is undocumented, and was immediately taken to Beaver County Jail and then to ICE’s York County Prison.  On being notified by his girlfriend, Casa went to work with its Rapid Response Team, and many people also took part in a letter-writing and fundraising campaign to get him freed on bail.  He has many ardent supporters – not only of his cooking but of his salsa dance instruction, his DJ’ing as DJ Pirata, and his generosity, calling him a model citizen. He was released on Feb. 1, and on Facebook thanked, among others, “Monica and Jeimy from Staff Casa San Jose for their unstoppable aid.”  More details are in this report in the City Paper.  He is still in danger of deportation pending his next hearing, but for the moment is free.

More to read:

“Your Grandma was a chain migrant” – Revealing piece in The New Yorker about a genealogical researcher who turned up the true immigration backgrounds of anti-immigrant legislators and officials. “It’s hilarious how easy it is to find hypocrisy,” she says.

Thank you for joining us!

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