Dear Casa San José Amigos,
Welcome back to our email newsletter!
How to take action:
Join our partner Just Harvest to protest a new Trump proposal which would deny food stamps to millions of Americans of food stamps – 16,000 people in Allegheny County – and block many low-income children from getting free school meals. Come to “Power of the Pen: Protect Access to SNAP” on Tuesday, Sept. 10 at 6 pm, 1 Smithfield St. downtown – and write strong words to those in power. You can register here.
How you can help:
Does anyone have an office-type wireless laser printer they no longer need? Our East Liberty office needs one badly. If you can donate one, please contact Andrea at firstname.lastname@example.org.
News on what we’re doing:
¡¡Mil gracias/Thank you!! to all our Amigos who donated school supplies to our Back to School Bash, and were given out to our kids last Saturday. Here is our Youth Coordinator José with the packages that were arriving daily:
Opportunities with our allies:
- The ACLU of Pennsylvania is hiring an immigrants’ rights fellow for an 18-month period, and can be placed in Pittsburgh. (Applications accepted until Aug. 30 so act fast.)
- Pressley Ridge is hiring a Foster Care Treatment Coordinator and a Foster Care Case Planner. This is a good opportunity to partner with families and our community to address the needs of foster youth. If interested, please reach out to their Program Director: email@example.com.
- The Pennsylvania Immigrant & Citizenship Coalition is hiring a Resource Development Manager to develop and implement a movement-oriented fundraising strategy.
- Pittsburgh United is looking for an Environmental Justice Organizer, responsible for leading and coordinating the Our Waters Our Rivers Campaign and their environmental justice work.
Our story, continued:
Laura, our Emergency Response Organizer, recently told us the story of Isabel (not her real name), a legal permanent resident in Pittsburgh. She called our emergency number to seek help for her sister who fled Honduras with her two daughters. They had presented themselves at the Laredo border asking for asylum. They were given a court date in 120 days and told to go back to Mexico. This is a policy by the Trump administration known as “Plan Mexico.”
That same day they were sent back to Mexico, they were kidnapped by narco-traffickers – who called Isabel to tell her to pay $7500 apiece to release them. (They also told her that if she paid more, they would bring them to San Antonio.) Isabel was worried sick, and started to look for money from relatives, friends, anyone, to pay them. After she called Casa for help, Laura got in touch with the FBI, who were helpful, suggesting questions to ask and what to do. Has she heard the voice of her sister, for instance, and when was the most recent time she heard all three? They emphasized that kidnappers don’t think twice about killing people.
Soon, Isabel was told to provide $2000 by the end of the day or they would be killed. But miraculously, at the end of that day, the cartel suddenly let them go, and put them on a bus to Monterrey, in Mexico. Now, Laura needed to find out how to help them in that city. Casa contacted our friends and volunteers with connections in Monterrey. Through their help, Isabel’s sister and her children got to a shelter, the Albergue y Comedor Público para Mujeres Migrantes, and we got pictures of their arrival. The challenge is now to get them back in time for their court hearing, and to find psychological help for the sister here, who has been traumatized. That was one of 4 calls Laura got that day.
- Pittsburgh activist and musician Mike Stout’s urgent “Immigration Song – Tear Down the Walls” performed as part of the Battle of Homestead 2019 event, entitled: Family Separation at the Border: Its Impact on Pittsburgh, a ‘Welcoming City’. Monica also spoke there about programs available for immigrants in Pittsburgh.
- The moving and motivating”Nana Rabiosa”, a lullaby for caged children, composed and recorded by Brian Amador and shared with us by our volunteer Mary Nell Cummings.
- “A new Trump administration rule allows children to be detained indefinitely: here’s what you need to know,” Jaclyn Kelley-Widmer, Washington Post, Aug. 24. This rule will end the 1997 Flores Settlement Agreement, which has limited how long children may be held (although it is violated frequently.)
- Despite the protests of thousands – 260,000 public comments were sent officially, and many of our Amigos sent them – the Trump administrations DHS has changed its public charge policy. It will now be much harder for low- and moderate- income immigrants to become legal permanent residents, and will make immigrants fearful of receiving critical supports like health care and nutrition programs. Unless stopped by the courts, it becomes effective on October 15, 2019. You can read more about this here.
- “How Trump’s policies are leaving thousands of asylum-seekers stranded in Mexico,” Jason Kao and Denise Lu, New York Times, Aug. 18.
- “If you’re like me, you can’t sit by. This is America”, Tina Rosenberg, New York Times, Aug. 20. “With a lawyer, most unaccompanied immigrant children don’t get deported. But most don’t have one, and go before a judge alone.”
- “American’s support for immigration is at record highs, but the government is out of sync with their views,” Mariano Sana, The Conversation, Aug. 8.