Dear Casa San José Amigos,
Welcome back to our email newsletter!
Every Friday from 11 am – 2 pm, we’ll be having a Lunch Sale for Immigrant Justice at 5120 Penn Ave. All food is made by local immigrant families and our very own youth, and vegetarian options, drinks, food and art will be available. We are raising funds to send immigrant families, immigrant youth, DACA folks, and allies down to Nogales, Arizona in November, to the SOA Watch Border Convergence of thousands of immigrant justice advocates to protest the border wall and the militarization of Latin America. All donations go towards airfare, hotel rooms, car rental, gas, and food stipends. Last year we sent 32 people, this year we’re aiming for 40!
From Jeimy and our great kids: last year we had an amazing Back to School Bash! We were able to give 65 kids book bags filled with school supplies. This year we want to have a Summer Isn’t Over Party! Last year’s party and school supplies were only possible because of our amazing donors. Please help us this year again 🙂 with this list: http://a.co/1SuxM3s
From PICC: protest the plan to add a question about citizenship to the 2020 Census. The Trump administration Commerce Dept. wants to add a new question about citizenship status in the upcoming census, which will intimidate and depress responses among all immigrants. This will result in an inaccurate census, and cause urban and other historically undercounted areas to lose billions in federal funds and also government representation. The public comment period on the decision to include the question is now open, but you need to act fast: submit your comments here by Aug. 7.
On 2 Saturdays in July (the 14th and the 21st) we are offering a free immigration law clinic, with appointments to consult an immigration lawyer. We will have these twice a month all year long.
On Wednesday we said farewell to our intern for the past year, Katie Campagna, who played a huge role in our youth programs, and just about everything else. Katie is going on to graduate school in New York City – we know she’ll work for justice and make a difference in the world wherever she goes.
On July 2, Sister Janice joined Tim Stevens, chairman of the Black Political Empowerment Project, and Sister Linda Yankoski, CEO of Holy Family Institute at a prayer vigil held at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in the North Hills, to discuss ways to help local residents as well as immigrants escape poverty and violence. Sister Janice told the group, “My goodness, there is more than enough love to go around when we all tap into our love.” She also spoke at Allegheny Unitarian and Universalist Church on July 8 in their Conversations About Race + Action series.
On Sunday, July 1, Monica spoke at the “We Will Not Be Banned” march on the Roberto Clemente bridge, to protest the ongoing 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. This action was 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.
And on Saturday, June 30, Casa was present at three #FamiliesBelongTogether rallies. We sent a full bus to the march in DC, addressed 1000+ people at the at the Pittsburgh event in Mellon Square downtown, and Sr. Janice spoke at the Beaver County Courthouse. All were full of determined people vehemently protesting the Trump administration’s cruel and unjust anti-immigrant policies, especially the agonizing separation of families.
Our Story, continued:
In late June, new volunteers Jane and Patrick signed up to be advocates for undocumented young people who, when they reach their 18th birthday, no longer have legal protection from ICE detention. A week later, they got the call about Mario.
Mario’s 18th birthday present was that he could no longer stay at the organization that had been caring for him, and would be sent immediately to the ICE office on the South Side.
Monica told Jane and Patrick how to meet him at ICE, and how to contact Ana, his cousin and sponsor. Ana was driving from her home in Long Island to bring him back to live with her. Since Mario has a possible legal case to stay in the US, he won’t be deported immediately, and since he has a sponsor, he won’t have to await his trial in prison. There was a wait for several hours at the ICE office, but when Jane and Patrick finally took charge of Mario they found a sweet-natured, slight teenager with an ankle monitor around his leg. He was greatly relieved to go back to their home for a good lunch and a rest before his cousin picked him up late in the day. Jane later reported, “We talked to his cousin today and they’ve secured a lawyer for him and are helping him tell his story of a very dangerous life in Guatemala.”
The latest call came on Tuesday night, to help Sonia, a shy and diminutive 18-year-old, who needed to get from ICE custody to her sponsor in Florida the following day. There was no time to locate a volunteer, so from our office, Kate left to retrieve her from ICE and Andrea contacted the sponsor and figured out how to provide Sonia with a plane ticket. Sonia had lunch and spent the day with us. We learned how to charge her ankle monitor, and got her on Skype with her family in Guatemala. We gave her as much information as we could about her rights and how to navigate possible dangers.
But nobody could know what lies ahead for this brave and vulnerable young woman, who actually looks about 14, who speaks no English, has no phone, can’t read or write, and was unsure even how to step onto an escalator. She asked Sister Janice to pray with her, and while she did, Sonia’s tears were shared by everyone in the room. Yet she was determined to go on, and had faith that she would be protected. Kate then took her to the airport and worked with American Airlines personnel (who were kind and helpful) to accompany her to the gate (she had a special ICE ID, but her monitor set off the security alarm), and arrange assistance to get her to her connecting flight. We hope we will hear from her soon.
“‘Treated Worse than Dogs’: Immigrant Kids in Detention Give Firsthand Accounts of Squalid Conditions” Gus Bova, Texas Observer, July 18. The report itself, the court filing from the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, provides the full declarations of 225 detainees, in appalling detail.
“From Crib To Court: Trump Administration Summons Immigrant Infants”, Kaiser Health News, Washington Post, July 18.
“The government had no intention of reuniting separated families. There’s also no plan to do so now” , Dahlia Lithwick, Slate, June 25.
- “This father was separated from his 3-year-old son for more than a month”, Alonso Parra and Jorge Ribas, Washington Post, July 12.
- “Two starkly different realities for migrants crossing into the US”, Maria Sachetti and Jon Gerberg, Washington Post, June 20.