Member of the Month:Aquinas Center
In early 2013, parishioners of St. Thomas Catholic Community, neighbors, and partner agencies worked to repurpose the parish's former convent to create a space for people to connect across boundaries of race, class, education, language, and geography. The result was Aquinas Center, which is now an independent 501c3 nonprofit, with a mission to: build unity in diversity, support learning, and inspire thoughtful action.
Aquinas Center coordinates a range of programs for all ages, such as English language classes, legal services, youth leadership and employment, advocacy, food justice, mural making, afterschool support, participant action research, and much more for a large multilingual, intercultural community in South Philadelphia, PA. Aquinas Center has been a member of PICC for four years and appreciates being part of a statewide network that amplifies the call for just immigration policies. The regular action updates and annual convening help us mobilize our immigrant and refugee community as well as allies.
Policy Updates: PARS & DACA
Philadelphia Ends ICE Acess to Local Database
Last Friday, July 27, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney announced the City would not renew its contract with ICE that allowed acces to the Preliminary Arraignment Reporting System (PARS) a live criminal justice database. Ending access to PARS further limits the ability of ICE to reach into immigrant communities in Philadelphia to detain and deport our families. Once again Philadelphia is leading the way toward expanding "sanctuary" and ensuring that immigrant communities are welcomed and treated with full human rights. This victory is the result of years of organizing by immigrant communities in Philadelphia. We are
honored to work with organizations like Juntos and the New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia that led this fight.
DACA Renewals Still Open
On April 24, 2018 a federal judge issued a ruling requiring USCIS to accept new DACA applications, but gave the Administration 90 days to put this ruling into effect. That 90 day deadline was last week. USCIS has yet to issue updates regarding DACA applications, and as of now is only accepting DACA renewals, not new applications. The Texas Attorney General has filed an additional challenge to DACA, and that case is scheduled for a hearing on Aug. 8th. Stay up to date on legal developments.
PICC strongly recommends seeking advice from a trusted legal advisor before submitting any immigration applications.
Community Education Opportunities
#StoptheHate Educational Webinars
PICC is committed to engaging and educating allies to support the fight for immigrant rights. Through our monthly #StoptheHate Educational Webinars, we provide information on current policy proposals at the state and federal levels that would impact immigrant and refugee communities, and presentations from local experts on various immigration topics. #StoptheHate webinars take place the first Friday of every month at 12pm.
This month, we are partnering with La Puerta Abierta/The Open Door, a Philadelphia-based organization that works to ensure access to mental health support in the Latino immigrant community. During the presentation, “Supporting Immigrants’ Mental Health & Wellness in these Times,” practitioners from La Puerta Abierta will share lessons learned from their work with the community about common migration and acculturation-related stressors as well as considerations in the current climate of increased immigration enforcement. Participation is free but registration is required to join the call. Register Now!
Community Navigator Series
As the Trump administration continues to target immigrant communities, it is crucial that everyone understands their rights and legal options. The Community Navigator Training curriculum is designed to provide community members and allies with the knowledge and skills necessary to help their neighbors understand their rights and assist with a variety of immigration services, including comprehensive legal screenings, citizenship applications, and deportation defense packets. PICC will be hosting a series of Navigator trainings
in Philadelphia from August 29 to September 8th. Participants will be trained to: Conduct public information sessions; Lead workshops on Know Your Rights and Deportation Defense; Collaborate with families to complete Deportation Defense Packets; Organize legal clinics to provide comprehensive screening and naturalization assistance with attorneys and/or DOJ accredited representatives present. Participants can attend one or all six sessions. Those wishing to become PICC Certified Community Navigators must complete all six workshops. Interpretation and childcare are available upon request for all sessions. Register now!
PICC is committed to holding a Community Navigator Training series quarterly across Pennsylvania. Stay tuned for information on training dates in Pittsburgh and Central PA. To learn more about the individual workshops, visit our website.
Civic Engagement Intern: New Citizens=New Voters Program
Civic Engagement is crucial to building a robust and powerful immigrant rights movement in Pennsylvania. As part of PICC’s civic engagement program, we help new citizens register to vote immediately following their naturalization ceremony. This non-partisan program ensures that new Americans are able to have a voice in their chosen home. The success of our New Citizens=New Voters program depends on the work and dedication of our volunteers and interns.
We are currently hiring a fall 2018 Civic Engagement Intern to join our team. Interns are responsible for attending naturalization ceremoning at the Philadelphia USCIS office every Monday and Friday and assisting with program quality control. Civic Engagement interns are asked to commit to a minimum of 10 weeks, and must be available to attend naturalization ceremonies on Mondays and Fridays. The fall intern must start by Thursday, September 6th.
If you are interested, please submit a resume and cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject "Civic Engagement Intern" by 5 PM on Friday, August 17th. Interviews will take place on a rolling basis.
Shut Down Berks Campaign Training – August
Thu Aug 2, 6:00pm
Join this monthly webinar to learn more about how to get involved in the campaign to close the Berks County Family Detention Center. This training will review the history of the center, how to lobby and the research that proves that the state of Pennsylvania can in fact issue an Emergency Removal Order. Please register today!
#StoptheHate Monthly Educational Webinar – August
Fri Aug 3, 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Join activists from around the state who are working to stop all anti-immigrant legislation in PA and to pass pro-immigrant policies at the municipal and state levels. Register Today!
Topic: “Supporting Immigrants’ Mental Health & Wellness in these Times” with La Puerta Abierta/The Open Door.
Vigilia/Vigil to Shut Down Berks County Family Detention Center
Sun Aug 12, 3:30pm
1040 Berks Rd., Leesport PA 19533
August’s monthly vigil will be led by “Family Doctors Against Family Detention.” Please join us as we continue to lift our voices for the individuals who continue to be detained in the Berks County Detention Center. RSVP and more info on Facebook.
This is a weekend dedicated to bringing together 30 immigrant youth that originate from different walks of life across PA. This is an opportunity for us to share our stories and develop leadership skills, organizing skills, and have a chance to build relationships with other youth who share our similar experience and goals.
Este es un fin de semana dedicado a reunir a 30 jóvenes inmigrantes de distintas areas de Pennsylvania. Es una oportunidad para que jovenes compartan sus historias, y desarrollen habilidades de liderazgo,organización comunitaria y tengan la oportunidad de conocer a otros jóvenes que comparten experiencias y objetivos similares.
Community Orientation: “Proposed Public Charge Rules”
Thu Aug 30, 10:00am - 12:00pm
21 S. River St, Harrisburg PA 17101
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has drafted changes to the “public charge” rules that will be harmful to many immigrant families and communities. Come join us for a community orientation event to learn more about these changes and what actions we can take in opposition of the proposed rules. Please RSVP!
Hosted by the International Service Center with guest speaker, Maripat Pileggi, Community Legal Services of Philadelphia.