News for Amigos de Casa San José: Feb. 24, 2018

Dear Casa San José Amigos,

Welcome back to our email newsletter.  We have a lot to communicate this week!


Join Casa’s Rapid Response team by attending a Legal Observer Training, offered byLegal Observer Training the ACLU, on Sunday, March 18th, from 10am to noon at our office, 2116 Broadway Ave. in the Beechview neighborhood.  You’ll learn how to serve as a legal observer and defend and support the rights of all people.  Please call the office to reserve your seat (412) 343-3111.

Calling homework help volunteers!  In March, we are starting an after school drop-in program in Beechview to offer homework help, primarily in basic math and English.  We hope to get enough volunteers to have a rotation of once a month for everyone; it would be a weekday from 3:30 – 5.  You don’t have to speak Spanish.  PA Clearances for working with children are necessary, but are free for nonprofits and easy to file online. For more info., please contact Jeimy at jeimy@casasanjose.org.


There will be a Day of Action on March 5 in DC to demand a clean Dream Act, and Casa San José will be providing a bus.  Please join us!  Email Monica at monica@casasanjose.org to reserve a seat.  Also a local event is being planned – stay tuned.

And please don’t stop calling and contacting your members of Congress.  We’ve done this so many times and it’s hard to stay focused, but every contact is recorded and there truly is strength in numbers.  Key points:  Every day, 122 Dreamers lose their DACA protections. These Americans, many of whom have lived in this country for over 20 years, lose the ability to financially support themselves and their families, and risk being arrested and deported.  8 out of 10 Americans, including 2 out of 3 Republican voters, support protecting Dreamers.  Time is running out.  Here is the Washington Post‘s latest analysis on “How will the battle over ‘dreamers” end.”


Thursday morning, Feb. 22, as part of DACA Days of Action, Mayor Bill Peduto held a press conference with members of the local immigrant community, including representatives from Casa San José, to show the City of Pittsburgh’s commitment to support our immigrant community and our DACA recipients. Watch the event and hear Monica, Dreamers, and Mayor Peduto speak in this WTAE broadcast.

On Tuesday Feb. 20, 50 protesters waved signs and heard Monica speak outside of Senator Toomey’s downtown office building to demand passage of the Dream Act.

Screen Shot 2018-02-22 at 11.00.34 PM


On Valentine’s Day,  Monica and 3 Dreamers:  Ana, Hortensia, and Leslie, went to Senator Casey’s office in Pittsburgh and met with his SW Regional Director

Valentines for CaseyElizabeth Fishback about the Senator’s support for a clean Dream Act.  They dropped off 164 individual valentines, saying “Don’t break our hearts”, “Let Love Prevail”, “Love the Dreamer, Love the Dream”, and asking to “Pass a Clean Dream Act Now”, each with a photo of one of our local Dreamers.

As part of our new SOY program,  Screen Shot 2018-02-18 at 1.01.39 PMZone 6 officers and detectives visited with Casa San Jose teens on Saturday to talk about dangers of drugs and addiction.

It is our great joy to announce that:

  • Jeimy Ibarra, our Youth Community Outreach Coordinator, was selected as one of eight finalists for United Way’s Be There Award in Allegheny County!
  • Sister Janice has been awarded the ACLU-PA’s Marjorie H. Matson Award for Civil Liberties & Civil Rights, to be presented on March 19 at their annual meeting.
  • Monica Ruiz, our Community Organizer, has been nominated for the Thomas Merton Center’s 2018 New Person of the Year Award, honoring local activists
    working towards peace and justice.

Our Story:

On Saturday, Feb. 17, Alphabet City, as part of its series on immigration, presented a reading from author Francisco Cantú, who wrote a memoir about his years patrolling the US-Mexico border, and his remorse about participating in this humanitarian catastrophe.  Before even starting, the program was held up by a controversy – also seen in other cities – about why someone who had been part of the border patrol should get to speak while those who were subject to their violence could not.  What was missing was the voice of another person’s experience at the border, namely that of an immigrant who had to cross that territory in secret, suffering the harshest life-threatening conditions.

Negotiating among various groups, Casa San José, represented by Monica, found a solution by asking Isabel, a member of our community who had made that crossing, to be part of the program, and in providing a translator, Kate Berson.  The result was a profoundly moving presentation of two parallel experiences – with Isabel describing her crossing in heart-rending detail. They both responded to questions from each other and from the audience with honesty and grace.  All who listened had an illuminating and powerful experience that will not be forgotten.

More to read:

The Effect of Trump’s Immigration Crackdown, in 3 Maps:  New maps show that local sanctuary policies may have actually affected how many immigrants the Trump administration was able to arrest., Tanvi Misra, CityLab, Feb. 15.

New Report on ICE abuses: A recent report from Detention Watch Network and the National Immigrant Justice Center, “ICE Lies: Public Deception, Private Profit”.

Latest info. on the legal aspects of the DACA stays ordered by judges is tracked by the Penn State Law School Center for Immigrants’ Rights.

“Under Trump, Border Patrol Steps Up Searches Far from Border”,  Ron Nixon, New York Times, Feb. 21. Agents are now “boarding buses and trains to question riders — mostly American citizens — about their immigration status.”

“Donald Trump’s ICE is tearing families apart”, Jonathan Blitzer, The New Yorker, Feb. 15.

Thank you for joining us!

Monica and Dreamers photoValentines for Casey

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