News for Amigos de Casa San José: March 28, 2019

Dear Casa San José Amigos,

Welcome back to our email newsletter!

How to take action:

Dream & Promise Act

Tell Congress to support the Dream and Promise Act of 2019!  On March 12, this bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.  It provides permanent protections and a pathway to U.S. citizenship for Dreamers and people with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or temporary protected status (TPS) or deferred enforced departure (DED.)  (It combines prior efforts to protect these populations.)  Critically, it does not trade these protections for more militarization of border communities or expanded immigration policing.  It is supported by hundreds of immigrant services, human rights, educational, legal, and other organizations. Please make sure that your U.S. Representatives and Senators know you support this bill: you can find their contact information here.

How you can help:

Our Fondo Solidario (Solidarity Fund) de Pittsburgh is now in operation (see “Our Story” below.)  It was established in January to provide legal assistance and bond funds to immigrants impacted by ICE arrests and detentions; contributions came from our online IOBY campaign and LCLAA’s Viva Clemente event. Contributions are still welcome! If you would like to donate to the fund, please send a check made out to Casa San Jose, with “Fondo Solidario” written in the memo line, to our office, 2116 Broadway Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15216.

Famous local baker Genaro is again making the Pan Dulce (Sweet Bread) for Easter Sunday!  It is a fundraiser organized by the Latino members of the Brookline/Beechview cluster parishes to benefit those parishes.  You can order them for $2 apiece by emailing Sister Janice at srjanice@casasanjose.org – please include your name, phone number, and amount.  Orders must be placed by Sunday, April 14.  Pickup time: Easter Sunday, April 21 from 9 to 11:30 am.  Pickup location: St. Catherine of Siena Church Social Hall (below the church), 1810 Belasco Ave., Beechview neighborhood.

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Visit We Are All Related: Portraits by Andrea London: a photography exhibit showing “that on some level of human experience that transcends who we are, what we look like, where we’re from, whom we worship or whom we love, that we are all connected on a very fundamental human level.”  The exhibit is downtown at the 937 Gallery, and also at a public art installation at the corner of Penn and Centre Avenues in East Liberty.

News on what we’re doing:



The trainings for the upcoming Door-Knocking Campaign happened last week, with many volunteers getting ready to do outreach in Beechview and East Liberty this month and next, letting residents know of the rights of their neighbors and how they can be better allies.


Kids at community meeting

At our community meeting on March 20, we talked about the upcoming Family Dinners we are organizing at the houses of our community members, where there will be training in immigrant rights for all participants.  So far 60 people have signed up!  Photo: Children are welcome at our community meetings!

bond hearing training

Last Monday, Casa collaborated with Justice At Work, one of our partners, to provide bond hearing trainings for six of our volunteer lawyers on the Rapid Response Team who are not immigration attorneys.  Matt Lamberti from Justice At Work did a clear and effective presentation so that they can now represent immigrants at their bond hearings.  The majority of immigrants do not have legal representation at bond hearings, making it much less likely that the bond will be granted. A recent PBS Newshour report has documented that, under orders from the Trump administration, immigration judges are “increasingly denying bond requests altogether, or setting them at amounts in excess of $10,000, making them unaffordable,” so representation is all the more urgent.

Jovenes a Proposito

Jovenes a Propósito, our after school program for teens at Brashear High School, just started up again at school, after their successful art exhibit at the Glitter Box. The program offers youth a democratic space to develop the skills to find their own voices and leadership.

Talking about Latin women in the women’s day organized by office of mayor

Ibania spoke about Latina Women at the City of Pittsburgh’s Equal Opportunity Review Commission’s program on “Women Business Enterprise: Building Beyond the Wall” on March 14.

We send our thanks to Jim Ferlo and Lisa Valente of the Pittsburgh Matanzas Sister Cities, who sponsored the Poetics in Diversity exhibit – and to Tina Willams Brewer for donating the proceeds of the auction of her art to Casa San José.

Come visit us at our table at the CLAS Latin American and Caribbean Festival on Saturday, April 13, 2019, noon – 8pm at Posvar Hall, University of Pittsburgh.

Monica was interviewed by NextPittsburgh about “the new website that helps immigrants build their lives in Pittsburgh” from the Immigrant Services & Connections consortium of which Casa is a member.

Our story, continued:

Last week we used our new Fondo Solidario de Pittsburgh for the first time.

Ricardo (not his real name), one of our clients, had been picked up by ICE and then sent to the Cambria County jail.  Although he had saved enough money to pay for his bond, he was unable to access it from the prison.  His attorney asked us to help.  Luckily we created the Fondo Solidario for purposes just like this.  Members of our Rapid Response team, Guillermo and Patrick, spent a day on this; they accessed the required funds, went to the ICE office on the South Side to post the bond, and then drove to Cambria to pick him up after his release.  As they waited for him, the prison guards for some reason sent him out the back door without any explanation, and he wandered around in some confusion and fear, without his belongings (which ICE had sent to York.) Guillermo and Patrick finally found him and called him by name, explaining that he was now free, for a little while at least – he was amazed and ecstatic.  They drove him back to Pittsburgh, and the very next day he came to our offices to pay back the bond fee.

Learn more:

“Infograph: Effects of Deportation and Forced Separation on Immigrants, their Families, and Communities” from the Society for Community Research and Action, a division of the American Psychological Association, a vivid visual presentation of how deportations impact the emotional and behavioral health of our nation.

“The boy in the caravan”, Monica Campbell, PBS Frontline Dispatch, Feb. 7 – this podcast follows a 15-year-old boy from El Salvador as he joins a caravan to the United States trying to reach his mother.

“The company offering detained migrants freedom – at a price”, New Yorker video, March 11.  The company Libre by Nexus, an immigration bond services company, is earning millions by preying on detained immigrants, and is under investigation for fraud, deceptive conduct and misrepresentations.

“ICE sets record for arrests of undocumented immigrants with no criminal record”, Alan Gomez, USA Today, March 21.

Thank you for joining us!


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