News for Amigos de Casa San José: June 28, 2018

Dear Casa San José Amigos,
Welcome back to our email newsletter!


Pressley Ridge, which has been caring for children since 1832, is a foster care agency. Because there has recently been an increase in their Spanish-only speaking youth, they are in need of Spanish-speaking homes and families to care for them. If you might be willing to consider this, please contact Gigi D’ Amico at 412-583-2195 or ldamico@pressleyridge.org for more information.


Please join a #FamiliesBelongTogether rally!  This Saturday, June 30, people all over the country are gathering to protest the Trump administration’s cruel and unjust anti-immigrant policies.  The main march is in Washington DC, and Casa is sending a contingent to represent us.  Pittsburgh’s rally is from 11-1 in Mellon Square downtown.  There is even a candlelight vigil at 8 pm at the Beaver County Courthouse, where they probably could use some more folks.  Wherever it is, let’s stand together against the criminalization of immigrants and the separation of families.

And please also join us on Sunday, at 2 pm at the Roberto Clemente Bridge for the “We Will Not Be Banned” march, to protest the relentless attempts to divide, silence, and erase our communities – the Muslim ban, police brutality in our own backyard, attempts to destroy our labor unions, threats to LGBTQIA rights – we will not be divided and we will not be stopped. This action is hosted by Casa San José, The Islamic Center of Pittsburgh, All for All, Pittsburgh Interfaith Impact Network, Pittsburgh United, The Alliance for Police Accountability, and 1Hood Media.


Last Tuesday, in Salem, Ohio, 70 miles from Pittsburgh, ICE raided a meat-packing plant and arrested 146 workers who were from Guatemala.  The scene was chaotic and heartbreaking, with mothers and children left without fathers and breadwinners. Unions immediately brought in attorneys to do what they could, but most couldn’t speak Spanish, so they contacted Monica to see if she could round up some translators.  Within 12 hours 30 wonderful volunteers offered to take turns over 3 days.  We send them all ¡mil gracias! and especially to Mary Jane McCullough and the group from Global Wordsmiths.

Over a hundred fellow Pittsburghers and numerous faith leaders marched on the ICE office on the South Side Monday, closing the Hot Metal Bridge for a short time, to protest the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy.  Organizers included: Casa San Jose, the Thomas Merton Center, Pittsburgh United, and the Pittsburgh Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, as well as the Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network.

march on hot metal

Here’s something happy to report:  Casa’s Campamento Sonrisa had 3 sun- (and rain-) and fabulous fun-filled weeks, and celebrated its last day with a trip to Moraine State Park and a talent show.  Here they are beating the heat earlier this week:

Campamento pool

Also extremely happy was the Thomas Merton Center’s New Person Award ceremony and dinner on June 26, honoring Monica’s dedication and passion for justice.

new person

Our Story, continued:

17-year-old Sonia (not her real name) was separated from her mother soon after they were arrested at the border. They had come to the US from Chiapas, Mexico, and her mother was quickly deported.  Casa got a call that she was in Pittsburgh and in need of an advocate to help her. She had reached her 18th birthday by then and was no longer eligible for underage care.  Sonia wanted nothing more than to get back to her mother and her home in Mexico, but there was a wait of about a month while arrangements and permits needed to be made.  She had to wear an electronic ankle monitor, “shocking to see on a young innocent girl”, said Ruth, our volunteer who took care of her during that time.  But she went to the zoo and a farm and shopping with Ruth, helped Katie with the kids’ programs at Casa, cooked Mexican food with Jeimy, and celebrated Bartolo’s graduation with Monica’s family.  She made it back to Chiapas and was reunited with her Mom.  It was inevitably a traumatic time for Sonia, but as Ruth said, it was probably “the best horrible experience one could have.”


“Congress heads home without passing immigration bill”, John Parkinson, ABC News, June 28.

Seizing children from their parents at the border is immoral:  here’s what we can do about it.  Editorial Board, New York Times, June 14.

How you can fight family separation at the border: lawyers, translators, donations, protest.  Dahlia Lithwick, Slate, June 15.

The Washington Post has some excellent up-to-the-minute news videos on this crisis.

“The real alternatives to detention”, report from the Women’s Refugee Commission et al. “Immigration detention has been proven to traumatize vulnerable populations, jeopardize the basic health and safety of those detained, and undermine meaningful
access to counsel in isolated, remote facilities. Immigration detention is driven by profit and politics, not public safety. It continues to be used despite the availability of effective and cost-efficient alternatives to detention.

A piece of good news:  “Record-High 75% of Americans Say Immigration Is Good Thing”, Megan Brennan, Gallup Poll, June 21.

Thank you for joining us!


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