Dear Casa San José Amigos,
Welcome back to our email newsletter!
Volunteers are needed on Saturday, April 28 to help with an event sponsored by the Mexican Consulate to get passports and other vital documents to local residents who are Mexican citizens. Location is the gym behind Central Catholic High School which is at 4720 Fifth Ave. in Oakland, with parking on site. We need:
- people to help set up starting at 8 am and/or take down around 4:30 pm
- people to help watch and play with children while their parents get documents
- If you can do this, please email Sister Valerie at firstname.lastname@example.org. (Speaking Spanish not required.)
And, let’s make tamales to sell during those consulate appointments (see above.) Jeimy is looking for volunteers to help make tamales (it’s fun!) on Friday 27 April at 8 PM in Brookline. If you can do this, please email email@example.com.
From videographer Jennifer Scweda Jordan: In preparation for Pittsburgh’s Inclusive Innovation Week, I’m asking people to have a donut with me and share their experiences–on camera–with inclusion and exclusion. Interviews will take a maximum of 15 minutes and be edited to about one minute. These videos will be circulated on social media during Inclusive Innovation Week as part of the Look Who’s Here! All-Abilities Media project. Anyone interested should contact Jennifer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-200-2017.
Get your tickets! (click here) Our upcoming “Fiesta del Sol” will take place on May 5th, 2018 at the Frick Fine Arts Building in Oakland. Come 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. Best of all, help support our work in service, advocacy, and empowerment for Pittsburgh’s Latino immigrants.
Please consider joining our partners at PICO/Faith in Action as they build a program to encourage congregations committed to immigrant justice in developing accompaniment programs. This would match undocumented community members who are required to report for an ICE check-in meeting or for an immigration court hearing, with a small team that provides moral and practical support the day of the meeting/hearing. If you’d like to learn more please register for a webinar on accompaniment this coming Thursday evening, April 12th at 8pm.
Don’t forget DACA! Trump has just proclaimed “DACA is dead” and though the courts have postponed its imminent death, the Dreamers will never be safe until the Dream Act is passed by Congress. Thousands of young people are under terrible stress, having their protections from deportation disappear and their ability to work or study eliminated daily. Many other urgent causes are now in the news, but please keep reminding your legislators that you still care about the Dreamers – here’s how.
From our partner PICC: Pennsylvania legislators will be back in session this week. HB 28, State Rep. Martina White’s anti-sanctuary bill, is still on the calendar. We ask that you call your state representative and senator and ask them to oppose the bill. Reference our legislative toolkit here for background information and talking points.
Our Jeimy Ibarra has won the 2018 “Be There” award from the United Way of Southwestern PA in the Providers category! ¡¡Felicitaciones!!
Monica and Jeimy returned last week, weary and a little muddy but happy, from a 3-day camping trip with 27 immigrant high schoolers and 5 volunteer adults to Camp Guyasuta in Sharpsburg. They all stayed in a very large cabin, which was lucky because of the frequent rain, but they were still able to have a bonfire, do a challenge course, hike to a waterfall, shoot bows and arrows, play soccer, learn community building and basic survival skills (like making their beds) and have a great time. Many tacos, pizzas, sandwiches, hamburgers and hot dogs were consumed, and cleaned up after by the newly skilled campers.
¡Vamonos! The annual Latin American festival will happen at the University of Pittsburgh’s Posvar Hall on April 14 from 12 – 8 pm. Come visit us at our table!
Our Story, continued:
Last week a frightened young man, Pablo (not his real name,) an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala, came to our office in despair. It turned out that he was the subject of a scam that had already bled thousands from his minimal earnings as a hotel worker. The cellphone company he had contracted with in Guatemala had also connected him with a company that offered him a “scholarship” to learn English if he would provide his personal information and that of 2 contacts. Sadly, he did, and they called him later to tell him that he had “won” and that he would be sent the books and CD’s. That’s when they started demanding payments – ultimately totaling $2600 – and threatening to report him to ICE for deportation, as well as his brother-in-law, if he didn’t send them the money orders made out to a Peruvian bank. He already owed $10,000 to the “coyotes” he had paid to get him here, and will lose his home in Guatemala if he stops paying off that debt. Casa is helping him by trying to find a lawyer, documenting and reporting the scam to the police and the Attorney General’s office and following that up, finding him the social services that he is eligible for, and of course by offering a warm welcome and compassion.
More to view:
“Justice Department Imposes Quotas on Immigration Judges”, New York Times, April 3, 2018. “Laura Lynch, senior policy counsel for the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said immigration attorneys were deeply concerned that cases will be rushed through. ‘Subjecting judges to numerical goals undermines one of the core principles of our judicial system, which is really a fair day in court,’ she said.”
The ACLU and Brooklyn Defender Services have created and distributed a series of powerful and informative videos based on true stories to explain to immigrants what to do when ICE is pursuing them. They’re narrated in multiple languages by an all-star cast, and are called “We Have Rights.”