News for Amigos de Casa San José: November 20, 2019

Dear Amigos, Welcome back to our newsletter!

How you can help:

Giving Tuesday is coming! GiveBigPittsburgh will happen on Tuesday, December 3. We invite all of our Amigos to unite efforts with us to support our immigrant brothers and sisters through the work we do. All the giving will be online and we will send out a special link on that day to use to make a donation. Stay tuned and THANK YOU!!

We are also looking for the following items. If you can donate them, please just drop them off at our office, 2116 Broadway Ave., in Beechview.

  • Diapers!!! Any size and brand are welcome. This is a frequent need that our clients with little children have.
  • Floor lamps
  • A few suitcases for a client who is planning to go back to his home country by the end of November.

How to take action:

We stand with our partner PICC in continuing the effort to Shut Down Berks, a prison for immigrant children and parents located in Leesport, PA. Take action to end family detention there as suggested here.

From our partners at the Pennsylvania Immigration & Citizenship Coalition – see larger and more detailed versions of these suggestions here.

News on what we’re doing:

ON NOVEMBER 12TH, we took two buses down to DC to stand with Dreamers! Last week, as the Supreme Court heard arguments in the case to end DACA, we joined other immigrant allies and DACA recipients from all across the US to say #HomeIsHere! for undocumented youth and their families.  The Court’s ruling should come between January and June of 2020. Best-case scenario is a decision that Trump’s ending of DACA was unlawful, preserving the program and allowing new applications. But it could also decide on an outcome where hundreds of thousands of people could lose their homes, their livelihoods, and their families. Click here to see the three potential outcomes of the case.  Alternatively we must look to Congress to pass the Dream Act.

Congratulations to Laura Perkins our Emergency Response Organizer!! She was named one of ten “Who’s Next: First Responders” by Pittsburgh news organization The Incline. Laura is honored because she “feels a personal obligation to put her international crisis experience to work by actively challenging the status quo and responding to the injustices her neighbors suffer.” 

Many thanks are due:

  • To all the old and new Amigos who signed up to join our Rapid Response Team!! We are having orientation sessions this week, and getting ready to spring into even more action to support and defend our community.
  • To the Christ Child Society and their annual Angels’ Closet coat distribution in Etna. We arranged for 40 of our kids to get free coats, hats, gloves, and books from this generous program.

Cuando el Río Suena is an extraordinary glass sculpture exhibit portraying the danger in the journey of migrants crossing the U.S. border, created by award-winning glass artist Jaime Guerrero. It is on view at the Pittsburgh Glass Center through Jan. 26 – don’t miss it! On Oct. 23, the artist (also a Casa volunteer) and Sister Janice spoke movingly about this experience and how to interpret it through art.

Our Youth programs have been very busy! Coordinated by staff members Jose Ochoa and Angela Mendez, they have celebrated Día de Muertos and Mexican Independence Day, visited a farm, partnered with a soccer organization, held tutoring sessions, collaborated with the Mestizo Arts and Activism Collective, and held 3 after-school sessions at Brashear High School. Ten of our youth are also learning glass-blowing from a months-long workshop taught by Jaime Guerrero.

Our Amigo Mark Talarico invited our families to spend a day at his farm. We played games, rode horses and visited with other animals. We loved that the kids and their parents were able to share a day together. 

On October 27, Casa was one of the locations for service projects sponsored by the Jewish Federation in their “Remember. Repair. Together.” commemoration. While a group of volunteers packed bags of rice and beans to give to new arrivals, Sister Janice introduced Ofelia and translated her story for everyone. Joining us (by surprise!) were Congressman Conor Lamb and his wife Hayley Haldeman. The Congressman told us his own family’s immigration story, and spoke to Ofelia in Spanish, welcoming her and wishing her success.

We are very happy and honored to be receiving the YWCA’s Racial Advocacy Award this year. This racial justice award celebrates women, men and groups who are committed to eliminating racism and bringing equality to Pittsburgh’ communities. You can get tickets to the Racial Justice Awards Luncheon on Nov. 22 here. Together as a community, we share our experiences, build power and defend our rights! 

Our East Liberty Office is now running 3 weekly ESL classes, with 16 participants (plus numerous children) and wonderful volunteer teachers.


Learn more:

Please watch these unforgettable faces of #DACAHope in this video by Nick Schapiro, with music by Bruce Springsteen.

“Supreme Court may side with Trump on Dreamers,” Nina Totenberg, NPR, Nov. 13. “It may let the Trump administration shut down the Obama-era program that granted temporary protection from deportation to roughly 700,000 young people, commonly known as DREAMers.”

“Trump admin readies rule to send asylum-seekers back to dangerous countries they passed through”, Julia Ainsley, NBC News, Nov. 18. “‘There will be people who will die as a result of these policies,’ a U.S. immigration official said on the condition of anonymity.”

“Validity of Temporary Protected Status documentation extended for 6 countries”, National Law Review, Nov. 6. This extension, through Jan. 1, 2021, is being done to comply with court orders. It applies to TPS beneficiaries from El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, and Sudan.  TPS has allowed thousands of people who fled disasters in their countries to live in the US legally and obtain work permits. DHS attempted to dismantle the program in 2018, but is being held back by the courts.

“Detention of child migrants at the border surges to record levels”, Paulina Villegas, New York Times, Nov. 5. “American immigration authorities apprehended 76,020 minors, most of them from Central America, traveling without their parents in the fiscal year that ended in September — 52 percent more than during the last fiscal year, according to United States Customs and Border Protection.”

“Only now do we understand the true cruelty of Trump’s family separation”, Editorial Board, Washington Post, Oct. 29. “With Thursday’s disclosure, the number of children separated since July 2017 reached 5,460.”

“The amount of money being made ripping migrant families apart is staggering”, John Washington, The Nation, Oct. 28. “Immigration enforcement agencies’ budgets topped a whopping $23.7 billion in 2018—and a lot of that is being funneled back into the private sector.”“‘Secret and unaccountable’: Where some immigrant teens are being taken by ICE,” Blake Ellis and Melanie Hicken, CNN, Oct. 24.

“The chilling effect of ICE courthouse arrests: How Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids deter immigrants from attending child welfare, domestic violence, adult criminal, and youth court hearings”, Angela Irvine et al., Ceres Policy Research, October 2019.

“Inside the US Marshals’ Secretive, Deadly Detention Empire”, Seth Freed Wessler, Mother Jones, November/December. “On any given day, the Marshals hold more people than Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and more than all the county jails of any state except California and Texas… Due in large part to President Donald Trump’s aggressive immigration policies, the Marshals population is approaching historic highs.  “


Thank you for joining us!

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