News for Amigos de Casa San José: October 22, 2019

Dear Casa San José Amigos,

Welcome back to our email newsletter!

How to take action:

With the fate of DACA now in the hands of the Supreme Court, hundreds of thousands of people could lose their homes, their livelihoods, and their families. It’s time to put an end to this fear and uncertainty and show the Supreme Court that DACA recipients and immigrant families aren’t going anywhere — because their #HomeIsHere.

  • ON NOVEMBER 12TH, join Casa San Jose for a free bus trip to join the national action and demand the Supreme Court defends DACA and protects all of our families!
  • We leave at 6:00 a.m., so arrive before then. We will be back in Pittsburgh at 8:00 p.m. We’re leaving from St. Catherine’s Church in Beechview – 1810 Belasco Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15216. Reserve your spot here.

Join Casa’s Rapid Response Team! There are a number of needs in the immigrant community that happen with short notice, such as transportation, emotional support, interpretation, accompaniment to an ICE check-in or court hearing, providing overnight accommodations, etc. Members of the team agree to be contacted and, whenever they can, to help in one or more of these ways. More information and a link to the volunteer application are available here. If you have a question about this, email laura@casasanjose.org.

How you can help:

Award-winning artist and sculptor (and Casa volunteer) Jaime Guerrero’s astonishing and moving exhibit “Cuando el Río Suena is now at the Pittsburgh Glass Center, 5472 Penn Avenue, interpreting the danger experienced by migrants crossing the US border.  Please visit the exhibit any day, and also join us THIS WEEK as Sister Janice will join the artist in a talk there on Wednesday, October 23, 2019 at 6:30pm. A portion of the proceeds of any piece that sells will be donated to Casa San Jose.

Glass sculptor Jaime Guerrero and future glass artists

We need donations of the following. If you have any of these to give, please bring them to our office at 2116 Broadway (except for the refrigerator – for that, email srkaren@casasanjose.org.) ¡Mil gracias!

  • Carseats – for an infant and for a toddler. 
  • Diapers for children that are arriving – can be any size but the smallest ones are especially needed.
  • Baby wipes
  • An energy-efficient regular-sized refrigerator
  • Floor lamps.

News on what we’re doing:

Our first Latino Community Day on Oct. 13 was a wonderful success! The sun shone on everyone enjoying great Latino music, food, children’s activities, and each other’s company.

Many, many thanks to the strong and generous volunteer team from Duquesne Light! They worked incredibly hard to build shelving and completely organize a thousand items in our chaotic, dusty basement on a beautiful day in October.

Sister Karen and the Duquesne Volunteer Team

Casa San Jose joined CCAC North Campus on their celebration of Hispanic Heritage Day on September 25th. We interacted with more than 30 students whom with we shared information about the work that Casa does and why people are fleeing Central America. We had a fun activity asking students to mention at least 20 Latin American countries.

¡Que Viva Clemente! – once more this yearly celebration created by the Pittsburgh Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) was both great fun and a terrific fundraiser for Casa’s Fondo Solidario bond fund for those detained by ICE.

Youth Organizer Jose is recruiting high school students for our after-school program at Brashear, Jovenes con Propósito.

Our Community Meeting in October was about how to ensure that all students, regardless of their immigration status, are welcome, safe and protected in their school environments. Kim Dinh from the PA Immigration and Citizenship Coalition introduced the parents to our their Welcoming Schools Toolkit.

Meeting attendees with our Community Organizer Veronica and PICC’s Kim Dinh

Our story, continued:

Last month, four of our Rapid Response volunteers accompanied Domingo (not his real name) to a municipal court hearing for a traffic violation. Domingo has been in the US for 12 years, has a wife and a 4-month-old baby and a secure job. This is the first time he has ever been in court. There has been an increasing number of ICE arrests in courthouses, so our volunteers try to lend some protection and emotional support to undocumented people who dutifully come to their required hearings.

As our group sat in the courtroom, two ICE agents appeared at the end of their row; they were accompanied by what appeared to be 4 Deputy Sheriffs. They quickly arrested Domingo, preventing him from complying with his hearing, and took him out through the back door, telling the volunteers that they could see him at the ICE office.

Volunteers Jo and Allan, after this experience, wrote this letter to the press:

“When ICE can drag away an undocumented immigrant from a courtroom who lawfully shows up for a hearing, something is VERY wrong.  We witnessed this first hand in Municipal Court with disbelief and despair.  If he had not shown up for his court appearance, he would have been cited for noncompliance.  This is part of the talking points that ‘nobody shows up for their hearing’ which has been proven over and over to be a lie. This undocumented immigrant has lived here for 12 years.  He has a wife and 3-month old baby at home.  He was complying with the law. Do we want to live in a society where ICE agents can snatch immigrants without due process and send them to detention centers?  Who’s next?  And for what perceived threat?  The Trump administration is already looking into deporting immigrants who have achieved citizenship through naturalization.  For all the cruelty the government has inflicted on innocent individuals and families with legitimate asylum claims, ICE is particularly egregious. Instead of deportation, let’s find ways to assist our immigrant neighbors and include them as part of the American family.”

Domingo was saved from immediate imprisonment or deportation by a very good attorney, who arranged for him to be released on $7000 bail. Half of that was covered by Casa’s bond fund, the Fondo Solidario, and the other half was covered by Domingo’s employer, who has that much confidence in and respect for him. His hearing has been rescheduled, and since he is now in a different legal category, ICE will hopefully stay away.

Learn more:

City of Asylum is celebrating the work of Latinx literary voices with a Latinx & Proud! reading series, to incite conversation, empower, & amplify the Latinx community in Pittsburgh, PA & beyond. The inaugural program will feature Denice Frohman, M. Soledad Caballero, Tanya Shirazi and Zeca Gonzalez. It will take place Tuesday, October 29, 2019 @ 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. at 40 W. North Ave. on the North Side. Tickets are free – get them here.

“How ICE picks its targets in a surveillance age”, Mackenzie Funk, New York Times Magazine, Oct. 2. “After two officers came to a Pacific Northwest community, longtime residents began to disappear — a testament to the agency’s quiet embrace of big data.”

“Judges strike several blows to Trump immigration policies,” Miriam Jordan, New York Times, Oct. 11. “Judges in three states ruled against a policy that would withhold green cards to immigrants who receive public assistance such as Medicaid. Another judge ruled on border wall funding.”

On October 7, PA HB 1170, The Construction Industry Employment and Verification Act, became law in Pennsylvania. Governor Wolf did not sign it, however, he also did not veto it. The bill expands the mandatory use of E-Verify to employers in the construction industry, and targets undocumented immigrants in particular. Immigrant rights group MakeTheRoadPA says this law “undermines workplace rights as undocumented workers are pushed further into the shadows and unscrupulous employers use the law to threaten workers from organizing for better working conditions.”

https://www.speaker.gov/newsroom/10419-2 House Speaker Nancy Pelosi statement on DACA.

Thank you for joining us!

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