News for Amigos de Casa San José: March 13, 2018

Dear Casa San José Amigos,
Welcome back to our email newsletter!  Again, lots to communicate:


We are very excited about our upcoming fundraising event! “Fiesta del Sol” will take place on May 5th, 2018 at the Frick Fine Arts Building in Oakland. Its theme is getting to know Latin Americans and their contribution to our community. You’ll get a taste of the best Latin American food, music and dance, view a short original documentary about our community, and choose from silent auction items that are unique extraordinary experiences with local chefs, sports teams, artists, dancers, and more.  Tickets will go on sale soon, but we are also looking for sponsors at all levels – see this link for descriptions – and gift baskets with a value of $100.  If you can help with a sponsorship, please contact Marisa Tobias, mmtobias28@gmail.com; or with a gift basket, please contact Vivian Mahli, vivianmahli@yahoo.com.

Jeimy is still looking for homework help volunteers.  As soon as we have enough, we will be 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. If you have a question, please contact Jeimy at jeimy@casasanjose.org. To sign up, please use this Doodle Poll.


Please CALL your state representatives and senators now and ask them to vote against HB 28!  PICC just sent out an alert that the Pennsylvania State Legislature is back in session this week, and could soon vote on HB28, the most punitive anti-sanctuary bill yet.  It “would hold ‘sanctuary municipalities’ liable for damages caused by the criminal activity of unauthorized immigrants. It would also require law enforcement to report anyone they suspect of being undocumented to federal immigration authorities.” Republicans have a majority in both chambers, and the bill is likely to pass. Even some Democrats are supporting this bill, and we will need a veto-proof majority to keep it from becoming law. Talking points can be found in this summary from PA Together, (or you could simply say “Don’t vote for HB28:  Please stop attacking immigrants!”)

PICC also needs all of our help in its push for the closing of the Berks Family Detention Center, a prison for primarily immigrant mothers and children. Currently, the Governor has the power to issue an emergency removal order (ERO), which would shut down this publicly owned detention center while the PA DHS reviews their license. Even though he has plenty of documentation outlining his legal powers and the human rights abuses at the center, he continues to drag his feet.  Please consider attending one of these webinars to learn about the history of the campaign and effective talking points!

Please join us on March 13th for the University of Pittsburgh School of Education Dean’s Office Series on Equity & Justice. There will be a Film Screening of the Documentary Precious Knowledge on how high school seniors at a Mexican-American Studies Program in Tucson “become academic warriors to save their classes”, from 4:30 – 6:30, followed by a discussion with educator-activist Curtis Acosta.  A reception will take place at 3:30. Please RSVP here.

On Friday, March 23 at 6 pm, there will be a Turn the Tables Dinner hosted by Casa San José along with Repair the World, Jewish Family and Community Services of Pittsburgh, and All for All – a dinner and discussion on immigration and refugees in Pittsburgh and around the world. It will also connect to the Jewish holiday of Passover, a story of liberation and immigration.  Please RSVP here.


On Sunday March 4th, Pittsburgh held one of the many demonstrations all over PA to celebrate all immigrant communities, regardless of their status or origin. Over 60 people gathered in Market Square downtown. Brilliant butterfly posters crafted by our SOY Youth Group, with the help of Cristina Castillo, were everywhere; immigrant leaders shared their stories and all was uplifted with sounds of the May Day Marching Band.  For Amigos on March 4

Last Wednesday with the help of volunteers we were able to transport 26 of our clients to the Guatemalan Consulate in Silver Spring, MD to get their documents and passports in order.

Guatemalan consulate

Catholic Day of Action for Dreamers draws hundreds of supporters” – On Feb. 27, more than 200 Catholic priests, sisters and laypeople gathered in DC to support immigration reform and justice for the young people known as Dreamers.  The event began with prayer and ended with 42 arrests for civil disobedience.  “Dreamers are being used as pawns in a chessboard,” said Sr. JoAnn Persch, one of the speakers, who demanded a clean bill with pathway to citizenship.

More to read:

You can always find the latest important news reports about immigrants in the US here, provided by Immigration Advocates, a collaboration of immigrants’ rights organizations.

Sadly, more attacks on immigrants are being planned:   “Trump’s draft plan to punish legal immigrants for sending US-born kids to Head Start or getting insured through the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or getting assistance to heat their homes.” Dara Lind, Vox, February 8.  Also, “Trump makes immigrants use of public health benefits a deportable offense.  Jason McGahan, The American Prospect, Feb. 14.  We can protest this proposed rule when it comes up for public comment – stay tuned!

“The cruel ploy of taking immigrant kids from their parents”, Dora Galacatos et al., New York Times, Feb. 28.

“How a routine immigration interview turned into an arrest”, María Cramer, Boston Globe, March 11.

Hopefully good news:  “Sanctuary silliness:  why Jeff Sessions’ outlandish new lawsuit against California is likely doomed”, Mark Joseph Stern, Slate, March 7.

“ICE spokesman in SF resigns” rather than repeat falsehoods from the Trump administration, Dan Simon, CNN, March 13.

Thank you for joining us!


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