What We Do
Pass Immigration Reform Now!
We believe immigrants make indispensable contributions to American life. We support comprehensive immigration reform to remove barriers to citizenship and to bring about equal access to education, healthcare, work opportunities, and legal services for immigrants. We support a citizenship path for illegal immigrants, a reduction of current visa backlogs, and improved work visa options for low-skilled workers.
Integrating Immigrants into Communities
At CASA we believe that immigration reform can happen, in part, by strengthening the capacity of individual immigrants and building strong immigrant communities. We work to build capacity among immigrant communities through courses in everything from basic literacy to citizenship preparation. We encourage our constituents to organize campaigns to effect social change within their communities and beyond. Our partner program, Citizenship Maryland, supports eligible permanent residents to become U.S citizens, providing application assistance, citizenship and English classes, citizenship fairs, and legal referrals. We provide assistance to DREAMers in the preparation of Deferred Action applications and in building a powerful immigrant youth movement in Maryland. But becoming a citizen isn’t enough. At CASA we believe is permanent political engagement. We register voters at our offices and in the community and educate immigrants about the important issues impacting their lives during elections.
Fighting for Labor Justice
The long legacy of labor exploitation in immigrant communities in the U.S. has created entrenched systems that make all workers vulnerable to low wages, unsafe working conditions, job insecurity, and discrimination. CASA believes in ending this legacy by creating, supporting and upholding fair working labor conditions for all people. This involves providing training and education to both laborers and employers to ensure that labor agreements are beneficial to all. And representing workers in court when their employers violate the law.
CASA is committed to improving labor opportunities and conditions for our community, focused particularly on day laborers and domestic workers. Our Worker Centers are a nationally-recognized model of employment placement for Latino and other immigrants that focuses on worker and employer screening and education, job placement, leadership, evaluation, and community relationship-building.
Creating Healthy Families
Good, consistent healthcare is often inaccessible to Latino and other immigrant communities because of high costs, lack of health insurance, legal status/fear, and transportation and language barriers. In 2010, over one-third of the nation’s Latinos lacked health insurance. Hispanics in Maryland are three times more likely to not be able to afford seeing a doctor, and are five times more likely to have no health insurance than Non-Hispanic Whites. They also have higher rates of obesity, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and teen pregnancies. Inadequate healthcare puts our communities at risk of disease and death, and is also expensive for the state, as the uninsured and underinsured are often forced to seek last-minute treatment at emergency centers.
CASA is committed to improving access to healthcare for Latinos and immigrant communities. We train community health promoters and offer bilingual phone-line and medical interpreting services as well offer screening and treatment programs for HIV/AIDS, cancer, and tobacco use .
Supporting Community through Good, Affordable Housing and infrastructure development
Safe, affordable housing is a basic human right. At CASA, we believe that when people are sheltered adequately, they are healthier, happier, and more productive, making neighborhoods and communities stronger. Lower incomes, lack of access to information, and exploitation can compromise access to safe, affordable housing for immigrants. Despite rising homeownership in America, the percentage of minorities and immigrant homeowners remains low, and high construction costs often limit the availability of affordable rental housing. Maryland has one of nation’s highest rent-to-wage ratios.
CASA is committed to ensuring its constituents are well-sheltered in safe, affordable housing by providing legal consultation and representation for tenants and tenant associations. To achieve this, tenant organizers and housing attorneys battle decrepit code conditions through protest, administrative complaints, and court battles. But, just providing the legal minimum is not enough to ensure our families and members live in dignity. CASA campaigns for the development of additional affordable housing in the International Corridor (the linked Montgomery and Prince George’s communities of Long Branch and Langley Park), programs to preserve a rich environment of very diverse small minority-owned businesses, and the targeting of infrastructure resources such as mass transit and new facilities to ensure that they are developed in a way that supports rather than displaces existing community members.