As the largest grassroots immigrant advocacy organization in the Mid-Atlantic region, CASA has over 36 years of experience organizing over 115,000 lifetime immigrant, Latino, and working class members. Founded in 1986, our model focuses on blending human services, community organizing, and strategic campaigns in order to serve the full spectrum of the needs, dreams, and aspirations of our members.
CASA has come a long way from the church basement it started in. CASA was established by activists opposing U.S. interference in Latin America and the funding of military and paramilitary assaults on the communities of Central America. As the US continued to invest in the destabilization of Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, and El Salvador in particular, refugees began flooding into the DC region escaping torture and death. Since those humble beginnings, CASA has grown, lifted by waves of activism led by day laborers and domestic workers, students and parents, co-conspirators for justice in labor, faith, and civil rights organizations.
CASA is its members. Our commitment to genuine member leadership has resulted in a web of committees – geographic and campaign based – where members hash out the decisions about what the organization fights for, what our strategy is to get there, and who will represent them in CASA’s organization-wide Leadership Council and CASA in Action’s Board of Directors.
CASA is built on member committees from Chester County, Pennsylvania to Prince William County, Virginia. CASA is home to a national members committee that meets monthly and a youth meeting that brings together CASA activists from across our footprint. These committees meet monthly and a local committee is formally recognized with voice and vote when they have at least 30 committed activists at each meeting and the capacity to mobilize more than three times that number for campaigns.
They say all politics is local, and these committees have led and won real campaigns. The CASA Riverdale Park committee (and several others) won the right for immigrants to vote in municipal elections. The CASA Baltimore committee, in deep relationship with dozens of Black-led groups, has done some of the deepest work in the country to inform a consent decree on policing. The CASA Fairfax committee, as well as dozens of others, won a groundbreaking trust act, outlawing collaboration between the local government and ICE. The CASA York committee forced the city to adopt a commitment to 100% renewable energy. These committees and activists come together to guide our demand for justice for TPS and DACA holders and all 11 million undocumented in this country.