News for Amigos de Casa San José: Nov. 21, 2018

Dear Casa San José Amigos,

Welcome back to our email newsletter!

How to take action:

There is still a short time to protest the new Public Charge Rule, with the devastating changes proposed by the Department of Homeland Security.  This rule change will penalize immigrants for using the few benefits that are available to them or their (often American citizen) children, denying them any future eligibility for US citizenship.

Please send in a comment, which is easy to do online. You can do it through the link provided by “Protecting Immigrant Families”  OR directly through the official US Government site at regulations.gov , where you  paste this: USCIS-2010-0012 – into the search box, click on Search, and then click on “Comment Now.”  Need suggestions?  PICC and Community Legal Services of Philadelphia created a toolkit to help.  All comments on this proposed rule must be submitted by Dec. 10, 2018.

In a related situation, it was revealed by ProPublica and the Philadelphia Inquirer that Pennsylvania State Troopers have been actively collaborating with ICE, increasing deportations and fear across the state. Casa San José has been working with PICC and its partners to get the Governor’s office and the State Police to limit State Police communication with ICE.  You can help keep PA State Police independent of ICE: Add your name to PICC’s petition urging Governor Wolf and the Pennsylvania State Police to do this.  (You can find your state legislative districts here to include in the petition but it can be sent without them.)

Inform yourself on the rights of our immigrant neighbors at the Carnegie Library on Wed., Nov. 28 at noon at the Downtown branch, 612 Smithfield St.  An immigration attorney will teach “Know Your Rights”, explaining what is protected under the U.S. Constitution and discussing recent changes in policies and priorities. Knowledge is power.

Keep up with more action opportunities with our partner PICC’s Action Alerts page.

How you can help:

Give Big Pittsburgh is coming on Nov. 27 – 12 hours of global giving during the holiday season – please save the date and consider donating to us on that day.  Thank you!

90’s Nite for Casa San José  – Saturday, Dec. 1, 9pm-2am at Belvederes Ultra-Dive, 4016 Butler St.  Dance the night away, with proceeds going to Casa!

Sister Janice shares a request for volunteers needed at the El Paso border, atAnnunciation House, ideally for 2 weeks, to help with the latest surge of thousands of refugees. See this for more details and who to contact.  There is support available: for that, contact Sr. Janice at srjanice@casasanjose.org.

Can you teach Spanish?  We get many requests from people who want to learn Spanish – so if you would like to volunteer to teach a class or hold a conversation group, please contact srvalerie@casasanjose.org.

Other opportunities to learn or practice Spanish:  The Carnegie Library offers both introductory Spanish classes and a Spanish Conversation Group for intermediate and advanced speakers.

News on what we’re doing:

The votes are in!  In the lead up to the election, we registered voters, and then worked to encourage as many people to vote as possible. And thanks to the Women’s Law Project we were able to help more than 30 community members get their state ID’s for use at the polls and for other important needs.  We also registered 20 Puerto Ricans, US citizens, in New Castle who had moved there after the hurricane destroyed many livelihoods.  Here they are (above) pictured after voting!

Public Charge Comment actions – we’re encouraging more effective protests to the public charge rule change (see above Action) by getting testimony from our community members at our community meetings, and enabling “Comment Parties” for people to  gather and submit comments together.  If you’re interested, please contact Laura Perkins at laura@casasanjose.org.

On Oct. 30 we joined Bend the Arc and many other organizations in the “Pittsburgh Loves All Our Neighbors” rally in Squirrel Hill to protest all expressions of hate, violence, and antagonism following the murderous attack on the Tree of Life synagogue.

On Nov. 15, Casa sent 3 staff members and 7 young people to Nogales, Arizona, on the border with Mexico, to participate in the SOA Watcha nonviolent grassroots Latin America solidarity event calling attention to the devastating impact US security and immigration policy has on refugees, asylum seekers and immigrant families all over the continent. Here are video spots about the SOA Watch produced by documentarian Nick Schapiro, who has also produced a film about Casa.  Thank you to everyone who came to our lunches, dinner, and dances that raised funds to sponsor this trip!

Our story, continued:

We are seeing more ICE detentions in Beaver County.  One was Jorge’s case.  On Oct. 17, he was stopped while driving his employers’ car as part of his job as a construction worker.  The police first called for 2 backups, and then questioned him for 2 hours.  He was asked whether there were other “people like him” at his workplace.  Later, when the officer who stopped him was asked during court testimony why he did it, he replied that Jorge “looked illegal.”  After the interrogation though, they took his address and released him with no charges.

But then two days later, at 7 am, the ICE van showed up outside his house and agents arrested Jorge, his 2 roommates, his 16-year-old nephew, and another man who had come to drive them all to work.  They were taken to the Beaver County Jail, though his nephew, being too young for incarceration, was immediately transferred to a youth facility in Virginia (which we discovered later; no information as to his location was given to Jorge.)  Three of the men were quickly sent to a Cambria County detention facility.  Jorge was fitted an ankle monitor and allowed to leave because he is the sole caretaker a minor – he has 60 days to find another guardian and report for prison.

We discovered this when the distraught wife of one of the detainees came to us for help. Laura, our Rapid Response Organizer, and volunteers that she mobilized, including an attorney, began efforts to:  keep track of where the men were being sent; provide initial legal guidance; find the 16-year-old to help him apply for Special Immigrant Juvenile status; locate lawyers for the men in the Cambria jail; and alert the neighbors that ICE was in the area. The case is ongoing.  A few days later, Monica got a text that another 3 men were picked up – we sent a team out to meet them but ICE had already sent them away to parts unknown.

Learn more:

DACA Update:  

Asylum seekers under attack:  AILA’s Policy Counsel Jason Boyd discusses President Trump’s proclamation on asylum and its impact on the southern border of the United States.   Also,

“ICE is imprisoning a record 44,000 people”, Spencer Ackerman, The Daily Beast, Nov. 11. “Congress told the immigration agency to reduce its detentions. Instead, ICE detained more people than ever.”

“4 myths about how immigrants impact the US Economy”, PBS Newshour, Nov. 2.

TRAC-Immigration:  Excellent source of voluminous data on federal immigration enforcement from Syracuse University and supported by the Ford Foundation and others.  (Looks a little old-fashioned but totally up-to-date and far-reaching.)

Thank you for joining us!

(To unsubscribe, please email srvalerie@casasanjose.org with “unsubscribe” in the subject line.)

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