22 JANUARY, 2021, YORK, PENNSYLVANIA – Filled with powerful personal testimonies and attendance of almost 150 local community members, CASA’s 2021 Latino and Immigrant Policy Agenda Launch offered a bold proposal for Pennsylvania’s immigrants, which comprise 7 percent of the Commonwealth. The event comes one day after the Biden-Harris administration announces its pro-immigration policies which feature respect, dignity, and safety – key elements of CASA’s own legislative priorities.

Find CASA’s policy platform below.

“From the environment to education to the economy, CASA’s state legislative priorities center justice and equity for our communities,” said Thais Carrero, CASA’s Pennsylvania Director. “We have had an eye on how current events have shaped this country, and we know that with time Pennsylvania can achieve our ambitious policy platform. CASA members are fueled and ready for the fierce advocacy and grassroots mobilization we need to deliver on driver’s licenses, a just environment, and fair economic practices. We are all worth the opportunity to thrive.”

From Marilú Saldaña, CASA Member in Harrisburg: “It has always been my dream to be a nurse and be able to help my community in the best way possible. That is why I came to this country in the first place. Tuition equity and access to universities for all, regardless of immigration status, would make a huge difference not just for people like me but also in our economy and our communities.”

“I’m honored to be one of the few Latinx representatives in Harrisburg. I know that I don’t only represent the Latinos in my district, but the million more who reside in our commonwealth,” said Rep. Manny Guzman. “I look forward to being a much needed voice for my community, as we advocate for fair housing, equal pay, and more importantly equal opportunity.”

“I agree that these are issues that are critical to our communities,” Rep. Carol Hill-Evans said at the event. “It is abominable that we are still at $7.25 an hour. It is ridiculous for anybody to think that anybody can live on $15,000 a year – it is unconscionable to me. I will continue to work with Rep. Patty Kim who has brought forward the $15 minimum wage increase. I hope that before I leave the House we will have been able to affect that change.”

Rep. Danilo Burgos offered remarks in Spanish: “I am the sponsor of the drivers license for undocumented immigrants bill in the state of Pennsylvania. Thanks to the work CASA has done in all of Pennsylvania, the state is focusing more on the needs of the Latino community. I am part of the American dream, and it is an honor to keep opening doors like does with the driver’s license bill and the dreamer education bill.”

Rep. Mary Jo Daley shared her full and continued support for CASA’s policy priorities: “I am delighted to hear directly from CASA members about what is important to them. I feel really good that already I support all of these initiatives. Hearing from you solidifies my support. It is important to hear from ppl from all parts of Pennsylvania.”

Said Rep. Chris Rabb, champion of shutting down Berks County Family Detention Center, “I don’t have an immigrant background: I descended from 16 great-grandparents, all who were born into slavery. But, if your movement is grounded in justice, community, and equity, then I am there shoulder-to-shoulder with you. Whether it’s showing up in ICE facilities at Berks family detention center because this is our fight collectively.”

CASA’s Pennsylvania Policy Priorities


TUITION EQUITY: Undocumented and DACAmented students as well as students with asylum must be eligible to receive in state tuition rates and government aid to pay for their university studies. Currently the only students who can receive government aid are US citizens or residents. In addition, they must be considered students with the same rights as US students or residents.

FAIR AND EQUAL FUNDING: Currently Pennsylvania school districts are extremely segregated by race. The districts that receive the most funding from the state are predominantly white and that receive the least are Latino and African-American. CASA seeks equitable funding so that all schools have the necessary resources to offer a quality education that does not discriminate against our families.


RAISE MINIMUM WAGE: CASA advocates for a minimum wage increase in Pennsylvania to $15 an hour. The minimum wage in Pennsylvania is currently $7.25 per hour and has remained stagnant since 2009.


DRIVERS LICENSES FOR ALL: CASA supports driver’s licenses for the undocumented community. Legislators must ensure that everyone has access to a license using a social security number or ITIN. Just as important is ensuring that once driver’s licenses for all are issued, ICE should not have unwarranted access to the PennDot registry.

SHUT DOWN BERKS: Pennsylvania has one of only three family detention centers in the entire United States (the other two are in Texas). These families – and young children – are detained in the center while their immigration case is being processed. CASA seeks to close this family detention center and set the families free while their court arrives. Ultimately, CASA supports a moratorium on all deportations at the federal level.


FAIR AND SUSTAINABLE ENVIRONMENT: Pennsylvania is one of the most polluting states in our country. Fossil energy companies pollute our air and water with complete impunity. CASA advocates for solutions that put communities of color first and that also create sustainable and quality jobs. CASA supports the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and the Office of Just Transition in creating professional options for sectors affected by climate change.