News for Amigos de Casa San Jose: July 7, 2020

Dear Amigos de Casa San José,
Welcome back to our email newsletter!

How you can take action:

There aremany ways to communicate about the situation of immigrants and other targeted communities. It’s important to use words that express positivity and shared humanity and not imply blame or victimhood, which we can do without realizing it.  The Immigrant Defense Project gives some good suggestions here.

Attend Black Lives Matter Protests. None of us are free until all of us are free. There is a weekly protest organized by Black, Young, and Educated (BYE) every Saturday at 3pm at Market Square. 

How you can help:

The PA Dept. of Health is looking for bilingual volunteers to do contact tracing, which will be essential to the fight against COVID-19 and the health of not only the Latino community, but everyone in the state.  Information on how to apply and what is involved is here.

News on what we’re doing:

We are excited that our Virtual Campamento Sonrisa has started! This year we are running an online summer camp for more than 50 Latinx children between the ages of 7 and 13. They are enjoying fun activities in science, architecture, painting, crafts and Spanish grammar, with help from Assemble (a community space for arts and technology) and other partners.
Thanks to generous donors on GivingTuesday, we provided these families with laptops and access to the Internet. We are also delivering materials supporting the activities and gift cards from Aldi, so families can meet some of their food needs. A big thank you to all of our partners helping our kids continue learning and having fun with other kids during this time.

We are continuing to distribute cash financial assistance to Latino families who are not eligible for government benefits to alleviate the impact of the pandemic.  We are working with the Welcoming Pittsburgh Cash Assistance Program with funds from the Open Society Foundations.  This allowed us to expand our coverage in Allegheny, Washington, Butler and Beaver counties.

“Tardes con Casa” on Facebook Live!  Every Tuesday at 4:30 you can join us in a live virtual conversation in Spanish explaining the services and programs that Casa San Jose is offering during COVID-19, and answering all the questions that our community wants to ask us. Last week it starred our Community Organizer Veronica, speaking with our director Monica and our founder Sister Janice. It’s lively and informative, and you can see it here – or come to our Facebook page any Tuesday!

We are continuing to distribute fresh food to Latinx families in the Beechview, East Liberty, Wexford, and Cranberry areas.  Thanks to a strategic alliance with Monteverde’s Produce, we have already delivered more than 400 boxes of fresh produce in just five weeks.  We also gave out a donation of 200 fresh salads from Dr. Rahmon Hart and allies.  And we give a special thank you to our wonderful group of volunteers who are in charge of collecting and delivering the boxes to these families. 

Welcome to our summer interns!  Clockwise, they are:  Teresa Andersen, Stephanie Christian, Raven Hilfiker, and Elizabeth Rodriguez.  We are excited to make use of their terrific energy and skills.  See their bios here.

Some more things we’ve been doing:

Our Story, Continued:

Angela Méndez-Trivino, our Communications and Community Relations Specialist and social media genius, has just moved back to Colombia this month, and we will miss her greatly, but she’s going on to some excellent work. She will be the Communications Associate for the UN Agency for Refugees in their regional office at the border of Colombia and Venezuela.  She also made a connection there for Pittsburgh orthopedist Dr. Mark Baratz (who provided hundreds of meals for Casa’s community through his Double Play initiative), to bring his Touching Hands mission, which provides hand and arm surgeries to people in need, to Venezuelan refugees in Colombia next year.

learn more:

Watch COVID-19: the Effect on LatinX and Immigrants” , a Pitt Public Health Seminar held on June 19, with Casa Board Chair and Pitt professor Patricia Documet, Casa’s Executive Director Monica Ruiz, and LCLAA President Guillermo Perez.

“Monumental victory for DACA recipients before Supreme Court”, National Immigration Law Center, June 18.  “he Court’s decision to overturn the Trump administration’s termination of DACA is a monumental victory for nearly 700,000 DACA recipients, who can now continue to safely live, work, and study in the United States. Today’s decision also returns DACA to its initial form and reopens the DACA program to new applicants.”

Court rules ICE must release children at Berks Residential Center, but advocates are concerned”, Alanna Elder, WESA, July 1.

“Judge overturns Trump border rule requiring immigrants to first claim asylum in another country”; Dennis Romero and Julia Ainsley, NBC News, July 1.  “The rule has essentially forced asylum-seeking migrants from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador to first seek it from Mexico before asking the United States for help. ‘This decision invalidates Trump’s ‘asylum ban’ at the southern border’ “

Americans want more, not less, immigration for the first time,” Mohamed Younis, Gallup Poll Social Series, July 1.

Supreme Court denies asylum seekers the right to appeal deportation ruling,” J.D. Long-Garcia, America Magazine, June 25.

Thank you for joining us, and stay safe and strong.

News for Amigos de Casa San José: June 6, 2020

Dear Amigos de Casa San José,

Welcome back to our email newsletter! Before anything else, we want to thank our wonderful Amigos for their superb response to GIVE BIG PITTSBURGH last month:  we raised over $40,000!  Please see “News on what we’re doing” below to find out how we are using it, and also see this special thank you from us.

HOW TO TAKE ACTION:

Casa San Jose stands in solidarity with the black community and the Black Lives Matter movement to demand justice for George Floyd and the end of systematic racism.  We must stand together as allies with all vulnerable communities, black, brown, LGBTQ, migrants, refugees, women, workers and children.  Take action today by: contacting local officials to demand justicejoining and volunteering with grassroots organizations supporting bail funds to release brave protestors standing up to police violenceparticipating in the week of action led by the Movement for Black Livesfor Pittsburgh-based suggestions, see this excellent list from All for All

Release our loved ones from ICE detention
ICE is holding hundreds of immigrants of all ages simply awaiting their trials – and trying to fight deportation – in coronavirus-ridden detention centers.  Join our partner PICC every Wednesday in June to demand that state and county officials implement a safe and comprehensive plan to release them.  Do it easily and get more info.here.

How you can help:

There is a desperate need for foster parents, especially those who are bilingual in Spanish and English, right now. 
 If anyone you know might be interested or willing to consider this possibility, please connect them to Kate Berson (kate.berson@gmail.com) – or to Gigi D’Amico (ldamico@pressleyridge.org) just to start a conversation. 

Veronica Lozada, Casa’s Community Organizer,
explains how the distribution is working.

News on what we’re doing:

Right now the focus for our community is on survival.  Here’s what we’ve been doing during the pandemic:

  • Giving cash subsidies to families who have lost their jobs and can’t receive federal assistance.  Through very generous donors and foundations, we’ve provided funds to 252 strapped families, with plans on reaching 500!
  • Distributing and delivering thousands of restaurant meals and boxes filled with produce, groceries, supplies, and face masks.
  • Helping hundreds of families apply for rental assistance and housing subsidies.
  • Working with hundreds of kids at home to help them get classroom packets, internet access, online tutors, school lunches, and starting this month, a free virtual summer camp.
  • Posting hundreds of the best Spanish language bulletins, tips, notices, webinars, etc. on Facebook, Instagram, and our website, covering the coronavirus and other survival needs.  With UPMC, we hosted a Facebook Live information session in Spanish on COVID-19, reaching 2600 viewers.
  • Collaborating with a mobile health clinic to provide free COVID-19 testing, and with the US Census to help with census responses, at our food distribution site.
  • Working with our wonderful volunteer attorneys to offer free legal clinics and help with DACA renewals, work permits, court accompaniments, ICE check-ins, documents, etc.  Our immigrant bond fund Fondo Solidario de Pittsburgh has arranged the release of 4 people from ICE detention.
  • Responding all day on our open telephone lines to requests for information and emergency assistance.  We are on-call 24-7 to answer questions about quarantine orders, curfews, eviction moratoriums, ICE detentions and court, and police apprehensions. 

¡¡¡THANK YOU – MIL GRACIAS!!! to SO many kind, giving souls and organizations for making this possible.


Our summer annual event, Fiesta del Sol, is sadly POSTPONED, due to current conditions. 
But we will plan something really special in 2021!!

our story, continued:

After weeks of planning and fundraising, Casa began giving out cash subsidies, similar to the stimulus checks sent to US citizens, to those of our families that aren’t eligible for those and that have the direst need.  We have given $700 apiece to 322 families so far. Monica Ruiz, Casa’s executive director, speaks about the experience:
 
For me what was important is the fact that these people were deliberately left out of getting help. This community contributes greatly to our society, and the money they put into our neighborhood and our regions is significant. They are not only paying into the tax base and the economy; they are helping to build the fabric of life in Pittsburgh.  So we turned it around, with the help of many generous donors, to provide them close to the kind of assistance that other Americans are getting.  Because they are a strong and enriching part of America too, and are suffering from the pandemic now along with everyone else.

It is important that we give people cash in their hands instead of putting restrictions and limitations on the assistance.  These are adults who have always managed their money, in fact have had to do so in very straightened circumstances.  We want to make this assistance in recognition of their responsibility – with dignity, respect, and fairness.

It is really an honor and a privilege to do this work – to advocate for this relief, to manage its distribution, and to see how much it is appreciated, not only financially but symbolically.  It is greatly heartwarming to know that it was made possible by the foresight and humanity of foundations, government officials, and individuals who truly care.  We thank the City of Pittsburgh Mayor’s Office, twelve different foundations from Pittsburgh and beyond, large and small, and many, many everyday people who stood up for justice and fairness.

We are not only helping people in Allegheny County, we are increasingly reaching out to other counties: Westmoreland, Beaver Butler, Washington, because the Latino communities there are growing and under stress too.   Luckily, Casa San José is set up so if we need to pivot, we can.  We are finding many enthusiastic partners wherever we look. 

We also look forward to the day when this emergency is over, and we can mainly serve our original mission:  to support Latino immigrants’ journey to self-sufficiency and integration into the diverse Pittsburgh and American fabric.  Woven together, we have always been and will always be stronger.

A family makes and donates masks for Casa to distribute.
Learn more:

Vic Walczak, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, describes his extraordinary midnight experience, with a team of lawyers and a judge, saving a a lonely 17-year-old Guatemalan boy without family in Pittsburgh from immediate deportation. 

“Hispanics are almost twice as likely as whites to have lost their jobs amid pandemic, poll finds: 
Black Americans also more likely to be laid off or furloughed since economic shutdowns,”
  Tracy Jan and Scott Clement, Washington Post, May 6.

“U.S. citizen children with undocumented parents unfairly denied coronavirus relief, federal lawsuit asserts,” Spencer Hsu, Washington Post, May 5.

Thank you for joining us, and stay safe and strong.

News For Amigos de Casa San José: April 13, 2020

Dear Amigos de Casa San José,
Welcome back to our email newsletter!  We wish you all health, safety, and care, and thank you once again for joining us.

Donate to our Bond Fund:
We are trying to get as many people out of detention as possible. Since COVID-19 hit Pennsylvania, we have already gotten two people out and have three on deck. (A recipient, his family, and Laura are pictured below.) We need your help now more than ever. Here’s where you can give – select “Fondo Solidario” in Reason for Donation.

How you can help:

CENSUS Phone-banking Volunteers Needed on Thursday, April 23rd, 10am-12pm (no Spanish needed). We want our historically undercounted community to be included in the Census – it’s vital. You would do it from home, with a script. Easy! If you can help, please fill out this form – we will follow up right away with instructions. Questions? Email interns@casasanjose.org.  Thank you!!

Donate a new or used laptop to our kids: 
The Pittsburgh Public Schools will begin online instruction on April 16.  Most of our families don’t even have one laptop, while one per child is recommended.  The schools will be providing some, but Superintendent Hamlet has said they will not nearly have enough for everyone.
Any brand is fine.  Used laptops should not be more than 2 years old. They need to be in working order, able to access the internet, and have a charger and battery. 
We can pick them up and deliver them to the families.  We will also be recruiting volunteers to help the families get them running and connected to internet.
If you can help with this effort, please contact jose@casasanjose.org.

This will be fun!
Stay tuned to our Facebook page for the Virtual Dance Party with Dj Selecta next Saturday, April 18.

News on what we’re doing as a response to COVID-19:

This pandemic is having a disproportionate impact on our communities. Thousands of immigrants have lost their jobs, are in desperate conditions, and a great many are not eligible for relief benefits designated by the government. 

  • Direct personal assistance: To comply with CDC guidelines and to ensure the safety of staff and clients, we are responding to individual needs – difficulty getting food, medical attention, legal aid, water, schooling, shelter, transportation, DACA renewals, etc. – via telephone. Since March 13th, more than 200 people have been helped after calling our dedicated phone lines. 
  • Emergency response: We continue responding to immigration emergencies through our Rapid Response Line (412) 736-7167. Since March 13th, we have assisted 60 people and, thanks to our Bond Fund, helped release 2 from ICE detention. Several others are waiting.
  • Food distribution: In just three weeks we have provided food to more than 1000 people in Pittsburgh and surrounding areas. In close coordination with generous organizations such as 412 Food Rescue, Food Pantries, Food Banks, restaurants, religious organizations and donors, and many wonderful volunteers, including community members, we have delivered a LOT of non-perishable food and fresh produce. Our heroic Community Organizer Veronica Lozada is in charge.  Additionally, thanks to the outstanding support from Dr. Mark Baratz, we are not only feeding our community but also purchasing meals from local restaurants, which helps keep businesses open and people employed.
  • Follow-up to individual cases: Since the beginning of our remote operation, we have assisted more than 80 families through individual intervention and monitoring of their special cases. With this individual attention, we help families connect with services that meet their needs in relation to housing, food assistance, access to health and other critical resources.
  • Information in Spanish about Covid-19: To fill the gap of accurate COVID-19 information in Spanish, we are sharing information from Allegheny County Health Department, Pittsburgh Public Schools, and service organizations at the state and national levels through our website and multiple social media platforms. Our content on Facebook has organically reached more than 20,200 people in March alone.  We are distributing and posting hundreds of flyers, and sending them out with food packets.  Critical information is also being disseminated through WhatsApp groups.
  • Advocacy for the release of detainees: Casa San Jose is advocating for the release of detainees at the Allegheny County Jail and immigration detention centers. This work is in close coordination with MILPA, Abolitionist Law Center, PA Prison Society, ACLU of Pennsylvania and National Lawyers Guild.
  • Advocacy for the closure of the Berks Family Detention Center: We are actively advocating for the closure of the Berks Detention Center. Prisons and detention centers are crowded, lack proper sanitation, and are a potential focus of infection of COVID-19.  Immigrant families have the right to be safe and healthy in their homes.
We are still getting our community members to participate in the Census!

April 1st was Census Day! From the safety of our homes, Casa San Jose texted over 2000 of historically undercounted people reminding them to fill out the Census and providing them with the necessary resources. We were proud to see that in response to the question “Have you filled out the Census yet?”, our highest affirmative response rate was from our Casa San Jose community members! Todos Contamos!   

Learn more:

Our partner PICC hosts an Educational Webinar Series, starting this week.  Use your quarantine time to learn from skilled organizers about immigration issues in PA, immigrant-led advocacy, and how to take action! Details below:

  • Tuesday, April 14th, 5pm-7pm (TOMORROW!) – Immigration Basics (English)  Register here.
  • Thursday, April 16th, 5pm-7pm – Immigration Basics (Spanish)  Register here. 
  • Wednesday, April 15, 3:00-5:00 pm – Welcoming Schools Training  Register here
  • Friday, April 24th, 12pm-1pm – Criminalization and Immigration  Register here

Interview with our director!  “At Home With: Monica Ruiz:  CP’s daily check-in with Pittsburghers during the coronavirus pandemic, Alex Gordon, Pittsburgh CityPaper, April 2.

“Facing coronavirus pandemic, Trump suspends immigration laws and showcases vision for locked-down border”, Arelis Mirandez and Nick Miroff, Washington Post, April 3. “the president has shelved safeguards intended to protect trafficking victims and persecuted groups, implementing an expulsion order that sends migrants of all ages back to Mexico in an average of 96 minutes.”

“Dreamers on the frontlines of the coronavirus health crisis work in limbo:  Healthcare workers under the protection of DACA anxiously await a Supreme Court decision that may deport them“, Alexandra Villareal, The Guardian, April 5.  An estimated 29,000 are in healthcare occupations, and many more in essential services such as food, sanitation, first responders, public safety, etc. “Once US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) gets the go-ahead from the court, it intends to start deporting Dreamers.”  A decision is expected any day.

“Farmworkers, Mostly Undocumented, Become ‘Essential’ During Pandemic: Immigrant field workers have been told to keep working despite stay-at-home directives, and given letters attesting to their “critical” role in feeding the country.”, Miriam Jordan, New York Times, April 2.

“‘It’s a time bomb’: ICE detainees seek release amid growing coronavirus fears”, Marisa Lang, Washington Post, April 8. “With every day that passes, immigrants inside U.S. detention centers grow more desperate…ICE detains nearly 38,000 people in more than 130 private and state-run facilities across the country.”

News for Amigos de Casa San José: March 26, 2020

Dear Amigos de Casa San José,

Welcome back to our email newsletter!  We cannot be more grateful for the expressions of concern and offers of help that have been coming to us from individuals and organizations.  We profoundly wish that everyone stay strong in body, mind, and heart in this crisis
.

What is Casa San Jose doing to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak:  

Casa San Jose is operating, for safety reasons, through other means than in person, until further notice.  Our programming has sadly been put on hold.  However,

  • We are working to provide immediate information and support in Spanish to our community members through every means possible – our website, telephone, email, text, FacebookInstagramTwitter, WhatsApp:
    • Answers to frequently asked questions, i.e. what should I do if I have coronavirus symptoms? 
    • How to find resources – free internet, foodbanks, healthcare, schoolwork at home, utility forgiveness, rent assistance, subsistence funding, psychological support, etc.
    • Bulletins from Allegheny County Health Department, Pittsburgh Public Schools, Mayor’s and Governor’s Office, World Health Organization, CDC, etc.
  • We are distributing food and other supplies from our Beechview office and through delivery, with the generous help of allies and donors.
  • Our Emergency Response line is still in service, helping those who are detained and their families with access to legal help, subsistence support, bond assistance, transportation, translation.
  • Our staff, answering calls, email, texts and working from home, is meeting online every few days to coordinate care and services. 
  • We are following up one-on-one with our clients to ensure their needs are met. 
  • LINK to our COVID-19 pages here:  For our community (in Spanish) and What we are doing (in English).

We are grateful to the Heinz Foundation for granting us funding to hire an Intensive Case Manager, Elia Maria Paris.  Welcome, Elia!

Prayer from Sister Janice:
Now more than ever we need to rely on
faith, family and community
We need to draw out from ourselves
peace, confidence, and trust
We will depend on the higher angels
who will lead us to share and not hoard, to encourage and not discourage, and be tranquil and not panic
For all of these graces and especially for each other, we are grateful.

how you can help:

  • Donate on our website.
  • Donate non-perishable food, cleaning/sanitizing products, gift cards to grocery stores or pharmacies, paper goods, and diapers at our office. (Call 412-343-3111 or email office@casasanjose.org for hours of attendance.) 
  • Follow Casa San Jose’s social media – and share! – our up to date information about the outbreak, our work and the needs of our community.  FacebookTwitterInstagram.

How to take action:

Especially now, as COVID-19 spreads, we must continue insisting that Governor Wolf immediately Issue an Emergency Removal Order to shut down Berks County Detention Center. Please email him here. or call
Governor Tom Wolf 717-787-2500 Lt. Gov. Fetterman 717-787-3300 PA DHS Secretary Miller 717-787-2600
The families imprisoned there, with children as young as 2 years old, are dangerously vulnerable to the virus, and without proper medical care or sanitation.  Family detention is not only immoral, it’s illegal.

Casa also supports the Abolitionist Law Center’s drive to protect public health by releasing non-violent prisoners.

Don’t forget to apply for your mail-in ballot before April 21 – PA now offers them.  The primary is April 28 and even by November it may not be as easy to go to the polls.  Your vote is more important than ever.

News on what we were doing previously:

We started our new After School program at Casa San Jose. Responding to the need of a space for Latinx kids to find academic support and fun activities after school, Casa is providing this service for families in collaboration with Beechwood Elementary School.  We are currently serving 11 kids from Kindergarten to 5th grade. The program runs Monday through Friday from 3:00 to 5:30 p.m.  A big shout out to the volunteers that are helping us with the program. This couldn’t be possible without your support.

The Glass Blowing class at Pittsburgh Glass Center continued! The youth are very excited to be learning new skills that open up the horizon for career paths. So far they have learned the basic of glassblowing and they did their first cups!  

A part of our new program at Brashear HS, Casita, we took 16 youth to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and the Cathedral of Learning at University of Pittsburgh.  For many, this was the first time visiting these two landmarks. 

At the Pittsburgh for Public Transit rally, our Community Organizer Veronica spoke about the transportation needs of immigrant and refugee communities, who rely heavily on public transit, but don’t have easy access to ConnectCards.

our story, continued:

Anna’s client Clara (not her real name) has a niece, a child, who answered the phone one day, and could only understand the following:  that it was her Grandpa, Clara’s Dad, and that he was in jail. Clara had known he had been wandering in the desert for 3 days, without food or water.  Now she learned he was in ICE custody. But how could she track this down and find him?  The only clue was the telephone number, recorded on the phone.  Sister Janice, known in our office for her sleuthing skills, took this on and located the call as coming from a Customs and Border Enforcement station at a bridge on the border.  Anna called them to ask whether they could locate Clara’s Dad, but was only able to leave a phone message.  Miraculously, a connection was made, and Clara found her father, only to learn that he had been deported to Honduras. He had a strong case to due human rights violations and death threats he was receiving from the gangs. But when Clara finally spoke to him, she learned that while in detention he had not been given an interview and was told to sign some papers in English, which ultimately turned out to be his deportation orders. He is now back in Honduras, in hiding, waiting to decide his next move. Anna says, “I can only imagine his situation now that the virus has taken over everything.”

learn more:

All in one place:  Migratory Notes 155:  Raids and coronavirus, tracking travel bans, detention epidemics – a summary of latest news of how the coronavirus is impacting immigrant communities.  Migratory Notes is an email newsletter, excellent for keeping up to date on national immigration news and policies: subscribe to it here.

“Close immigration prisons now: The coronavirus’s quick transmission and deadly track record is likely to worsen inside these institutions”, César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández and Carlos Moctezuma García, New York Times, March 19.

Casa in the news!  “Pittsburgh Latino service group hoping to ensure everyone is counted for the 2020 Census.” Ryan Deto, Feb. 27, Pittsburgh City Paper.

 “Philadelphia Bar Association Statement on ICE Arrests within Courthouses.” They’re happening in Pittsburgh too and are a violation of due process, an internationally-recognized human right. “Justice Dept. establishes office to denaturalize immigrants”, Katie Benner, New York Times, Feb. 26.  Promotes the idea that new citizens have fewer rights than those born in the United States, and that immigrants should not assume that they cannot be deported even if they have become citizens.

News for amigos de Casa san José: Feb. 26, 2020

Dear amigos de casa San José,

Welcome back to our email newsletter!

How you can take action:

On March 11th at 7pm, the Shut Down Berks campaign will host a webinar for those interested in getting involved – you can get info. and register here.  They recently took a strong new step in advocating for the closure of the detention facility by taking legal action against Pennsylvania’s state administration.

how you can help:

We are in need of the following.  

Did you know that whenever you purchase through Amazon, they will donate 0.5% of the amount to Casa San Jose? You can sign up through smile.amazon.com, selecting Casa San Jose as your charity.  For more information call Sister Karen Stoila at 412-343-3111.

FIESTA DEL SOL is happening!  To volunteer or for more info, email srkaren@casasanjose.org

news on what we’re doing (so much!)

On Saturday many of our wonderful volunteers went out to talk to our Beechview neighbors about the importance of the 2020 Census, and to offer future support in filling it out. The Latinx community especially has been undercounted in the census, which limits its government funding and political representation, so we are trying to change this.  Mil gracias to everyone who helped!!

And in another effort to spread the word about the Census, our interns Giselle and Katherine talked to our Jovenes con Propósito program about the importance of the 2020 Census, so they can make sure their families and neighbors participate also.

We got free tickets for Ice Skating, the kids had so much fun. For some of them this was their very first time ice skating. Big thanks to “Tickets for Kids” for providing the tickets!!

In January we started Casita for Spanish-speaking students at Brashear High School, expanding our after-school program, Jóvenes con Próposito. Many kids are here without parents, going to school in the daytime and working at night, and in need of many services. Now they won’t have to leave school to find ESL, homework help, referrals for housing, medical and legal needs, emergency funding, Know Your Rights sessions, and help with documentation.  Big thanks to Brashear for facilitating this program!

On Jan. 25, a group of our youth, accompanied by José and Veronica, participated in the annual Pittsburgh Racial Justice Summit, where they presented their ideas in the workshop “Deconstructing Racism across Borders – The Immigrant Youth Perspective.”

We held a third training for new members of our Rapid Response Team, volunteers who can respond quickly to urgent needs in the immigrant community: transportation, emotional support, interpretation, ICE or court accompaniments, housing, etc. If you would also like to join, email srvalerie@casasanjose.org.

Our latest community meeting featured a Know Your Rights session specifically for domestic workers, hotel workers, nannies and cleaners, presented by our partner Justice At Work.

Some of the youth from our Jovenes con Proposito program started a new class on glass blowing at the Pittsburgh Glass Center. A big thanks to Jaime Guerrero and the Glass Center for providing this great opportunity! This is the second group of Latinx youth from Casa San Jose participating in this class.

At the Pittsburgh for Public Transit rally on Feb. 4, Veronica spoke about high transportation costs for immigrant and refugee communities, who rely heavily on public transit, but don’t have easy access to ConnectCards.

We had 17 clients come to our latest free legal clinic.

On February 18th, Casa San Jose joined Doctors for Camp Closure and the University of Pittsburgh immigration legal clinic in a meeting with Representative Mike Doyle of PA’s 18th district. We spoke about the conditions that undocumented community members face when they are detained. 

Monica was selected to be one of the Mentors, “the most influential women in the community,” at the Pittsburgh Business Times’ Mentoring Monday event on Feb. 24. Also, on Feb. 9, Veronica and Laura gave talks on the topic: “How could migrant justice be achieved through a Green New Deal?” at the Green New Deal Discussion downtown.

Our story, continued:

In mid-January, our emergency response line got a call from one of our clients, saying that her husband Juan (not his real name) had called her from his car to say that he was being stopped by the police, on his way back from taking their child to school.  But after that the contact went dead.  What happened? Where was he?  Laura (Casa’s Emergency Response Organizer) went to work calling police departments, discovering hours later he was in the custody of ICE, who often are thought to be the police because they hide their identification.  Along with Juan’s immigration attorney, they negotiated with ICE agents to hand the keys to Juan’s vehicle over to his wife so that it would not be towed. 
 
It was more than a month later when his wife was finally able to see Juan, and that was only as a blurry image on a TV screen; he wasn’t able to see her.  After driving 5 hours to York, where the bond hearing was held, Laura and Juan’s wife sat behind a glass wall, along with 3 supporters from an immigrant justice organization in York.  They watched as the judge and Dept. of Homeland Security prosecutor questioned Juan, who was in a closet in front of a camera 100 miles away in Cambria, and his attorney, calling in from Pittsburgh. The hearing took 20 minutes, but it had a fortunate outcome: the lowest bond amount Laura had ever seen, $5000.  She was later told that the judge took into account the presence of those sitting anxiously behind that glass wall.  With $4000 provided for by Casa’s Fondo Solidario bond fund, it was not too difficult for the family to raise the rest.  Juan’s wife and Laura drove the 5 hours back to Pittsburgh, with tears but also relief, and then, with the bond paid, his wife was able to bring him home the next day.  Juan now awaits his next court hearing.

learn more:

“New program at Brashear High School is aiming to help Latino youth thrive”, Ollie Gratzinger, Pittsburgh CityPaper, Feb. 3 2020. Casa San José’s program is featured.

“The real impact of Trump’s “public charge” immigration rule,” Stef Kight, Axios, Feb. 23, 2020. This is the rule that many of you wrote in to comment in protest on a few months ago.  It was put into effect on Monday after a 5-4 ruling by the Supreme Court to allow it. “As many as 400,000 people every year could be denied green cards or visas because of the new rules.” 

“Border Patrol Will Deploy Elite Tactical Agents to Sanctuary Cities:  Agents from a special tactical team that normally confronts smugglers on the border are being sent to sanctuary cities across the country”  Caitlin Dickerson and Zolan Kanno-Youngs, New York Times, Feb. 14, 2020.

Deported to Danger:  United States Deportation Policies Expose Salvadorans to Death and Abuse”, Human Rights Watch Report, Feb. 5, 2020.

Trust and Consequences:  The government required him to see a therapist. He thought his words would be confidential. Now, the traumatized migrant may be deported”, Hannah Dreier, Washington Post, Feb. 15, 2020. The Trump administration is requiring that confidential notes taken during mandatory therapy sessions with immigrant children be passed onto ICE, which can then use those reports against minors in court.

“How the Trump administration uses the “hidden weapons”of immigration law,” Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, Feb.13, 2020.

Recent polling on immigration in battleground states, and suggested messaging to rebut attacks from the Immigration Hub, a national pro-immigration advocacy group.

News for Amigos de Casa San José: Jan. 15, 2020

Welcome back to our email newsletter!

We were so pleased to see Casa featured in the Post-Gazette’s #LetsMakeaSEEN feature on Monday! Monica explained our mission eloquently – you can read it here.

How to take action:

Casa San Jose is part of a state-wide push to get undercounted populations to be counted in the census. We will be distributing these flyers to our community members, and then following up to help fill out the forms when they arrive. If you speak Spanish and are available to help, please call the office or email Katherine at interns@casasanjose.org.

In addition, the Census is looking to pay part-time workers up to $23 per hour. We would love to have Spanish speakers apply, so please share widely. Interested applicants can apply online at 2020census.gov/jobs or call 1-855-JOB-2020.


How you can help:

URGENT:  Do you know of a house or apartment for our clients to rent who desperately need a more stable home?  This is a family of 3 adults and 3 children, preferably in East Liberty area but anywhere near a bus line is fine.  Rent approximately $900 plus utilities.  Contact Sr. Valerie at srvalerie@casasanjose.org.

We’ve begun our planning our annual fundraiser, Fiesta del Sol 2020! All skills and ideas are welcome – come join the team that creates this fun and community-building event that makes our mission possible. Please contact Sr. Karen at srkaren@casasanjose.org if you are interested.


News on what we’re doing:

At the start of the new year, we want to briefly look back at just some of our service achievements in 2019, and look forward to even more in 2020.

  • We addressed over 1000 requests for services, such as help finding housing, utilities, healthcare, schooling, legal advice, ESL, job searching, transportation, childcare, and much more.
  • We helped over 100 people affected by ICE detentions, including 7 people that we were able to help with our Bond Fund.
  • We expanded our summer camp to 2 sessions and provided summer educational opportunities for 40 children. We also hired 4 youth leaders to work there.
  • We trained 8 community leaders in leadership development and they will serve as an advisory committee for the board.
  • We knocked on over 3000 doors, held “know your rights” sessions and held 26 legal clinics throughout the year.
Casa joined the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement and many other partners to celebrate the Fiesta de los Reyes Magos, with lots of food, kids’ activities, theater, music and community spirit.

We will soon be opening an office in Ambridge in a space and with support generously offered by the Good Samaritan Church, to serve the growing numbers of our community members in the Ambridge-Aliquippa-Cranberry area.

Casa San Jose is revving up our work to make sure every resident is counted in the 2020 Census. They started on Sunday when Sr. Janice spoke at the St. Catherine’s Church Spanish mass about the importance of participating and also alleviated fears of misuse of the data. We will soon have a new intern from the Coro Fellowship to help with this effort.

On Jan. 10, our director Monica Ruiz was sworn in as a new commissioner in Governor Wolf’s Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs, which advises the governor on policies and legislation that impact Latino communities. ¡Felicitaciones, Monica!

Many thanks to our generous supporters for enabling us to get a bigger van! Starting with $5000 in donations from our Christmas appeal, we purchased a used 12-passenger Ford Transit XLT, which has already been a blessing. Some of the uses are: taking parents and children to healthcare clinics, picking up food donations, delivering donated furniture and household goods, bringing advocates to government offices, taking our clients to obtain needed documents at consulates, transporting children to our programs, sports events, and museums. We can’t wait to use this for our summer day camp trips. It will be well utilized!

We had an amazing time at the 2nd Annual Charity Basketball Game this past Saturday. Funds from the event will help Hispanic youth access higher education. Thank you to the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Penn State Greater Allegheny for inviting the families!


Our story:

We have new health care options for our community members who often have no insurance and who must wait until a crisis requires a visit to the emergency room – followed by enormous bills that drain meager budgets.

iHealth Clinic, opened this summer in East Liberty by Dr. Timothy Wong, does away with insurance requirements and offers a wide range of basic health services for a flat fee of $35 on a walk-in basis.  He also finds reasonably priced sources for medicine.  He has already treated a number of our clients (we accompany them to translate.)  Last week a father came to us, very anxious about his 11-year-old child with numbness on his right side.  We brought them to Dr. Wong, who examined the child, had tests done, diagnosed his Lyme disease, and put him on the appropriate medications (with discounted pricing), all in 2 days.  The boy felt better within a week.  Dr. Wong who did his residency at UPMC Shadyside, believes that everyone deserves decent healthcare, and is dedicated to providing an alternative to a system that discriminates against the poor and uninsured.  Many in our community will benefit from his practice.

Also, our long-time friend Dr. Diego Chaves-Gnecco, who for years has run a pediatric clinic in Pittsburgh for Spanish speakers, will soon open a mobile clinic in Beechview every Tuesday, very close to our office. 


Learn more:


Thank you for joining us!

News for Amigos de Casa San José: December 10, 2019

Welcome back to our email newsletter!

We are SO grateful to our extremely generous Amigos for supporting us so strongly on #GiveBigPittsburgh! Casa San José got the prize for “Most Raised by Budget” in the mid-sized category, and was #15 overall. We raised $21,548 from 225 wonderful donors. (If you missed the chance, you can still donate here until Dec. 31.) ¡¡Mil gracias to all of you!!

How to take action:

The deadline is Dec. 30! Please stop by Casa San José’s Public Comment Party this Wednesday, Dec.11, from 7-8:30pm, at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (John Knox Room, 616 North Highland Ave.) to oppose the Trump administration’s deeply unjust proposed USCIS fee hikes, which will:

  • transfer over 200 million dollars to ICE from USCIS (i.e. from adjudication to enforcement)
  • increase fees for citizenship ($640 to $1,170), lawful permanent residency, DACA, asylum, employment authorization, and other applications 
  • eliminate fee waivers for many types of immigration applications

Laura Perkins will give a brief overview of the policy change and there will be delicious food from Salim’s Halal Market and Grill. It should only take 10-20 minutes to comment. Please bring a laptop if you have one. 

You should not have to be wealthy to become an American or to keep your family together.  If you are unable to stop by, you can submit a public comment here  – and please share the link with your network. Thank you for your solidarity!

How you can help:

We need make sure that everyone is represented in the 2020 Census. In February and March, Casa will organize dooknocking, textbanking, and phonebanking to urge people to stand up and be counted! If you are able to help, please contact Katherine at interns@casasanjose.org, and please include the word “census” in the subject line of the email. 

News on what we’re doing:

Our Saturday youth program at the Boys & Girls Club has added some tutoring sessions to help the kids do their best in school.

This month, our Community Organizer Veronica is setting up Know Your Rights sessions geared for the specific occupations of restaurant workers and construction workers.

Casa joined a group of students, staff and faculty at CMU to protest the university’s involvement with Palantir Technologies, which recruits on campus. Palantir has large contracts with ICE; its technology was used in the August raid of a Mississippi factory where 680 immigrants were arrested. Laura spoke at this event which was part of a larger #NoTechForIce Student Day of Action.

We are so lucky to have 6 wonderful new interns this year! See their full profiles here. They are helping in so many vital ways:

  • Kelcey Bailey – from the University of Pittsburgh, working in community organizing, emergency response, and newcomer orientation.
  • Maura DeLuca – from Edinboro University, working at our front desk doing direct client service.
  • Fabiola Andrade – from the University of Pittsburgh, working with our ISAC Service Coordinators and Navigators.
  • Haleemah Shajira – from the University of Pittsburgh, working in community engagement.
  • Katherine Anderson – from the University of Pittsburgh, working in emergency response.
  • Kiersten Daugherty – from Duquesne University, working with our youth programs.

Learn more:

“Despite Warnings, Trump Moves to Expand Migrant Family Detention”, Caitlin Dickerson, New York Times, Dec. 9.

“A new report on family separations shows the depths of Trump’s negligence”, Jonathan Blitzer, The New Yorker, Dec. 6.

“Activist acquitted of harboring immigrants”, AP, Nov. 20.

The US Immigration Policy Center at the Univ. of California at San Diego, partnering with the San Diego Rapid Response Network, has issued important research on asylum seekers, compiling data on over 17,000 asylum seekers and their families, including 7,900 children five years or younger. “Seeking Asylum”, Part 1 and Part 2.

Thank you for joining us!

Please comment on new proposed rule that drastically raises fees for immigration and citizenship

Deadline to comment: Dec 16th, 5 pm.

On Nov. 14 the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, or USCIS proposed a new fee schedule for immigration costs. It would drastically raise the fees for adjustment of status, asylum, DACA renewals and naturalization, and eliminate critical fee waivers for vulnerable and low-income immigrants. It also transfers $207 million from USCIS to ICE to use for enforcement.

This puts the American Dream out of reach for low-income and working-class immigrants. The only way to fight this is to submit a public comment. Over 4000 comments (see these for examples) have already been posted, overwhelmingly opposed. The holiday weekend is a perfect opportunity! You can do it:

Learn more here, and make your voice heard!

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!

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!