Casa de Maryland

Casa de Maryland


CASA of Maryland was founded in 1985 by representatives of various congregations, both Central Americans and native-born U.S. citizens. CASA was created in response to the human needs of the thousands of Central Americans arriving to the D.C. area after fleeing wars and civil strife in their countries of origin. In the basement of the Takoma Park Presbyterian Church , CASA provided emergency clothing, food, immigration assistance, and English instruction to new immigrant arrivals from Central America. CASA started with a staff of 2, a handful of volunteer teachers, and funds from various congregations.

As the community grew in numbers and its needs grew in complexity, CASA so expanded its programs. In 1991, in response to growing numbers of day laborers congregating on street corners looking for work in the Long Branch neighborhood of Silver Spring, with the support of Montgomery College and private foundations, CASA set up a temporary trailer to provide legal and employment assistance to the workers. In 1993, Montgomery County granted CASA space and funding to operate a formal Center for Employment and Training at 734 University Blvd. East, in Silver Spring. This was CASA's first welcome center, which has served as a model for the creation of numerous other centers in Maryland and across the country.

Today, CASA organizes and advocates with its thousands of individual members and provides direct services in the areas of employment placement, workforce development and training, financial literacy, adult ESOL and Spanish literacy instruction, citizenship and legal services, health education, and human services navigation at its 5 welcome centers, three training centers (including a rented high school where we provide adult ESOL training to hundreds of students each evening), Our offices are located throughout the state of Maryland , specifically focusing on our community in Baltimore City, and Prince George's and Montgomery Counties. CASA caters its programs to three main constituencies: low-income women, workers, and tenants.

CASA is currently recognized as the largest Latino and immigrant organization in the state of Maryland, and is the recipient of national and international recognition for its work, including awards such as the Annie E. Casey Foundation's "Families Count!" Award (2005), the National Council of La Raza's "Affiliate of the Year" Award (2004), the Institute for Policy Studies' Letelier-Moffit Domestic Human Rights Award (2003), and the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund's Community Service Award (2006). Thanks to partnerships with local governments, private foundations, individuals, congregations, civic associations, and other organizations supporting CASA's work, over 20,000 low-income Latinos and immigrants directly benefit from CASA's programs and services every year.

Board of Directors

Maria Robalino, President

Andrea LaRue, Vice President

Priscilla Huang, Secretary

Carlos Olea, Treasurer 

Grace Rivera-Oven 

Jemimah Alvarenga 

Carmen Lopez 

June White Dillard 

Jospeh Eyong 

Sarah Harding 

Linda Robinson 

Rima Matsumoto 

Henry Hailstock

Missael Garcia

Jose Aguiluz

Sergio Muñoz






Immigrant youth have won a significant victory in President Obama’s deferred action policy, and CASA is responding to this historic opportunity by launching a program to insure that as many undocumented Maryland youth as possible come out of the shadows and become champions in the struggle for immigrants’ rights.  As part of this effort, CASA will provide assistance in the preparation of Deferred Action applications and engage dreamers in building a powerful immigrant youth movement in Maryland. CASA de Maryland has compiled a packet to help you through this process. 

This packet is intended as an introduction for participants of CASA de Maryland’s Deferred Action and Youth Organizing program (DAYOP).   It is meant to help participants get ready to come to a DAYOP Clinic where CASA staff and volunteers will help them prepare their applications under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival Program of the Citizenship and Immigration Service (CIS).  In order for CASA to provide that assistance it is important that you read and follow carefully the instructions in this packet.   The following is a list of the documents currently in the packet, as issued on August 15, 2012.  As the program will continue to evolve, you should check for updates to individual pages at .  As the packet is updated, the specific topics will continue to be presented in the same order and under the same page numbers but with a new “issue date,” as follows: 


 or get the most up to date verisons of the individual pages below:





Issue date

Before Clinic



Explains CASA’s purpose and procedure for participation in the DAYOP program





Designed to help determine the participant’s category of eligibility





Explains the conditions under which participants will receive legal assistance in the preparation of their applications for Deferred Action





Explains exactly what the participant needs to bring to the DAYOP Clinic so that his/her applications for Deferred Action and Work Authorization can be completed for filing





Lists local area programs for completing General Education Development Certificate (GED)






For use by individuals who intend to use their foreign language birth certificates as proof or identity and age


Complete if Relevant and Possible


What else does Deferred Action mean?

Nothing has been achieved without struggle; the very existence of Deferred Action for DREAMers is an enormous victory and a result of the long, hard fight waged by immigrant youth throughout the country and here in Maryland.  Together we can take the next step and move aggressively to expand and make this win permanent by ensuring that the Maryland DREAM Act takes effect and pushing for further reforms in Washington.  To get involved, come to a CASA youth committee meeting or join the Facebook group “I am the Maryland DREAM Act” or contact Rommel at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it (Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties, Trent Leon-Lierman at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it (Baltimore City or Baltimore County), or Andrew Reinel at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it (Anne Arundel or Howard Counties).

CASA de Maryland is seeking committed, progressive professionals to assist us in preparing youth across Maryland to apply for relief from deportation as a result of the Obama Administration’s June 15 announcement regarding Deferred Action.  This announcement combined with the upcoming critical battle to defend the Maryland Dream Act in the November elections represent a significant turning point in the immigrants’ rights movement. We need your help to keep the momentum going! 

Would you like to help CASA in its efforts to secure deferred action for young DREAMers? Click on the Donate button below to make a secure online contribution to our campaign


The New Americans Citizenship Project of Maryland

Of the 694,590 immigrants in Maryland, only 315,892 (45.5%) are currently U.S. citizens. In 2007, only 11,613 (9.7%) Maryland immigrants naturalized, far below the 120,000 LPRs eligible. The Maryland New Americans Partnership (MNAP) is a coalition of over 35 organizations whose goal is to bring together nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, businesses, unions and faith communities in Maryland who are committed to supporting eligible immigrants in their efforts to become U.S. citizens and active members of their communities post-naturalization.

MNAP launced the New Americans Citizenship Project of Maryland in October 2009, which is aimed at building the capacity and effectiveness of existing community-based organizations that assist Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs) in the naturalization process through integrated citizenship services. The Project, a statewide AmeriCorps program, addresses the unique reasons why priority immigrant groups are not naturalizing through a comprehensive and coordinated citizenship promotion plan.

AmeriCorps members provide direct service in ourtreach, individual service delivery, and coordination of naturalization volunteers. Activities include teaching ESOL and citizenship classes, assisting LPRs with the N-400 application, and organizing outreach campaigns. A total of seven members are placed at host sites in Montgomery County, Baltimore City, Howard County, and Frederick County.

If you would like to learn more about the New American Initiative please contact Anna Anderson at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

To visit the New Americans Citizenship Project of Maryland website please visit

To access a copy of the A Regional Citizenship Promotion Plan: The New Americans Initiative please click here.

Crossing Borders: Building Relationships Across Lines of Difference

CASA’s Crossing Borders Project is based on a multicultural curriculum developed in-house by CASA in collaboration with the Center for Community Change and the Fair Immigration Reform Movement, and with funding from the Montgomery County Department of Housing and Community Affairs.  The curriculum discusses recent demographic shifts among African Americans and Latino immigrants, the historical antecedents to existing tensions between African Americans and Latino immigrants, the interplay between jobs, race and immigration, and the process for moving from dialogue to action.  The workbook contains the following sections:

  • Demographic Shifts among African Americans and Immigrants – As its title suggests, this unit provides data on demographic changes in African American and immigrant communities over the past 20 years.
  • The History of Domination and the Pursuit of Opportunity – This unit explores issues confronting African Americans and immigrants from a historical perspective.  It also includes a timeline of African American and immigrant history.
  • Five Dimensions of the African American and Immigrant Tension – This unit explores the root of the existing tensions between the two communities.
  • Jobs, Race, and Immigration – This unit examines the economic predicaments facing African Americans and immigrants.
  • Additional Resources – This unit includes resources that African American and immigrant groups can use to move from dialogue to action, including how to run an effective meeting, how to conduct a “relational meeting,” as well as a reading and resource list.

Following the development of this curriculum, CASA began its Crossing Borders Project in August 2008 with support from the Maryland Mediation and Conflict Resolution Office and the Ford Foundation.  This project is primarily aimed at improving relationships between Latino immigrants and African Americans in Baltimore City and Prince George’s County.  CASA’s experience has shown that these two geographic areas can benefit the most from this type of cultural awareness training, which will work to dispel misperceptions and replace them with a sense of common struggle and understanding to create the foundation for strong, vibrant, diverse communities.


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