By: Elsie Sy-Nieber


*Good News: The United States Embassy in Manila will not be closed!

* President Trump: ‘Suddenly, Democrats admit ‘there’s a border crisis’ (not ‘Fake News’)

*Is long-time loyal PIWC Member/Officer Delfin Masangcay who’s been wishing to be PIWC 2021 Overall Chair, being ‘discriminated’ Filipino style?

*Hats off to outgoing PIWC 2019 Executive Chair Edwin Pineda — for a smooth leadership

*May I invite you to our Church’s (in Chicago) first Block Party on Saturday, Aug. 10?


GOOD NEWS from the US Embassy: But first, the past BAD News: This past week, the US Immigration office announced on social media the closure of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Manila Field Office on July 5, 2019. Many hearts were broken. Particularly those preparing to migrate after legally waiting for the approval of their Immigrant Visa application pending for over 20 years!

The USCIS is the USA government agency which oversees lawful immigration to the US. Among its functions are to adjudicate requests for immigration benefits, processing of applications to sponsor relatives and future spouses including refugee applications around the world.

However, as I was beating our press deadline, this news came up: “The US Embassy in Manila will not close down. There will be no change in visa processing with consular services continuing as usual, the United States embassy in Manila said on Friday.” The news made it clear that only an office attached to it will shut down, not the Chancery itself.

“The US Embassy in the Philippines will assume responsibility for certain limited services previously provided by the Manila Field Office to individuals residing in the Philippines,” Trude Raizen, deputy press attache at the Embassy, said in a text message to the media. “There will be no change in visa processing at the U.S. embassy in the Philippines.”

Being an American citizen myself for over four decades, I felt very sad not only on behalf of our “Kababayans” waiting for Eternity for their legal visa approval, but just thinking of the disappearance of the US Embassy from our Manila boulevard. A “solid symbol” of our Home for decades called AMERICA. A symbol of “solid” protection for the Philippines.

But now, the American Embassy assures us “Our Little America” in the Philippines will not be closed.

However, the news release also added saying that “aside from the Manila office, the USCIS field office in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico was closed last June 30. And that “the US Embassy USCIS is discussing the possibilities of phasing out all of its international offices.” This is bad news. Again, let’s wait and see.

Straight news from the Press office of President Trump:

Suddenly, Democrats admit ‘there is a border crisis’. On February 15, President Donald J. Trump declared a national emergency to address the security and humanitarian crisis on our southern border. That month, more than 40,000 alien families arrived, an unprecedented surge that America’s outdated and overstretched immigration system is ill-equipped to handle. They (Democrats) called the border crisis fake news.

Congressional Democrats were swift and nearly unanimous in their response, as Washington Examiner columnist Byron York detailed today:

“A fake crisis at the border,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi proclaimed.

“A crisis that does not exist,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said.

“There is no crisis at the border,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer declared.

The media was quick to endorse that narrative. Morning Joe deemed the emergency “an imaginary border crisis.” The Washington Post editorial board called it “make-believe.” The New York Times “fact-checked” the President’s claim of a border crisis and reported it false, before contradicting themselves two paragraphs later.

How times change. “This nation is facing a humanitarian crisis at the southern border,” House Democrats tweeted today. Don’t mistake that for an admission of fault. They make clear the problem isn’t Congress’ years of refusal to fix America’s broken immigration system. Their culprit is U.S. law enforcement, whose officers are guilty of running ‘concentration camps’, for illegal immigrants, as one freshman Congresswoman put it.”

President Trump has requested $4.5 billion in emergency aid, $3.3 billion of it marked for humanitarian assistance to help law enforcement address the historic surge in large migrant groups arriving at our southern border. Congress has yet to pass it.

Just as crucial, the only long-term solution to this humanitarian crisis is for Congress to close the catch-and-release loopholes that fuel child smuggling into the United States. As long as children can be used to evade our laws, they’ll continue to be put in danger.

So far, Democrats have resisted every single effort to shut off the magnets for child smuggling. “Fixing the laws would solve everything,” President Trump said today. “And they could do it so quickly. It’s so simple,” he added.

“They know what to do. They just don’t want to do it.”

Immigrant Advocacy Groups, Allies to Further Mobilize Against Trump’s Agenda Over Next Two Weeks

New Chicago Mayor (Lori Lightfoot) stands up to Trump, new laws signed by Gov. JB Pritzker, and Census 2020 outreach commitment deliver blow against Trump’s agenda, moves path forward for a Welcoming IL.

CHICAGO – LAST Monday, June 24, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR), SEIU Local 1, PASO-West Suburban Action Project (PASO), Organized Communities Against Deportations (OCAD), Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Chicago (AAJC) and the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) announced their next steps for immigrant communities in the next two weeks, highlighting major blows at both the state and local levels against Trump’s anti-immigrant and deportation agenda.

Trump’s most recent bout of Twitter tantrums threatening ICE (Immigration Custom Enforcement) raids, then delaying for two weeks, comes as no surprise to community groups familiar with ICE operations. However, the ongoing escalation against immigrants, racist rhetoric, and threat of “big Deportation” (sic) in two weeks from the White House has prompted groups to bolster preparations while augmenting grassroots campaigns against Trump’s political agenda of further criminalizing, marginalizing and undercounting immigrants.

The groups will highlight critical Know Your Rights efforts and next steps the city and state can do to ensure policy commitments move forward. Should the U.S. Supreme Court issue a decision on the proposed citizenship question for the 2020 Census, organizations will also be on hand to respond.

WHAT: Immigrants, allies share mobilization efforts to further disrupt Trump’s agenda after new laws signed by Gov. Pritzker and as Chicago Mayor Lightfoot takes strong stand in support of immigrant communities.

Human Rights organizations involved are: Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, SEIU Local 1, PASO-West Suburban Action Project (PASO), Organized Communities Against Deportations (OCAD), Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Chicago (AAJC), National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC); Sen. Robert Peters, Rep. Celina Villanueva, among others. It happened last June 24, at the ICIRR office, 228 S. Wabash, suite 800, Chicago, IL 60604, attended by Immigrants and families speaking, telling their stories, holding signs.

Hope: With three new laws signed by Gov. Pritzker before the planned ICE raids, with Chicago Mayor Lightfoot taking a stand against local police collaboration with ICE over the weekend, and the state’s recent $29 million commitment to Census outreach for hard to count communities, lawmakers and community groups are joining forces to push back hard against Trump’s racist, hateful political and policy agenda.

May I invite you to join our First Church Block Party on Saturday, August 10, from 10 A.M t0 5 P.M? Church name: Faith Community Presbyterian Church: 3900 N. Plainfield Ave. cor. Byron, in Chicago. We’re trying to reach out to our Nieghbors and Friends from near and far – to get us to know each other closer and have great time with food, music, games and fun! Everyone is welcome. Want to donate something? Like food and fun things like prizes for the youth and the kids? Most welcome, but never a “must.” Most important gift is your presence. Please call me few days before Aug. 10… should you want to join us. Blessings. To Him is the Glory. Amen.Elsie/773-792-1535 email:

Is Delfin Masangcay, one of the longest-serving member/ chairman of PIWC being discriminated against, Filipino Style?

I am not taking sides in this issue. If anyone has a comment, please share it with me and I will publish it with your permission: All these past many years, since the PIWC was founded, Delfin Masangcay has always been a part of the workforce to help PIWC survive, now on its 44th year. Yes, Delfin makes “small business” in the decoration or being the DJ sometimes. He gets paid by token for his service outside his volunteer service for the PIWC. It’s his honest service, a joint effort with his wife Elizabeth. Yes, Delfin is one of the “picture frames” on the PIWC wall for years. His interest to serve was manifested several times by letting the PIWC “hierarchy” know of his honest interest TO SERVE as OVERALL CHAIR, a position he can handle after serving the PIWC for so many years. But again, for the nth time, DELFIN is being turned down. Of course, I’ve heard so many “put down” remarks towards him, like insinuations that Delfin “has no money”… something like that, related to “status symbol’. Delfin never brags about this. All he wants is to SERVE the PIWC like some of the past Chairs who won the hearts of the “PIWC” governing bodies. Indeed, it came as a huge surprise to almost everyone at last PIWC Appreciation Night when three women “executive officers” ganged-up against Delfin when he was announcing his interest to run. Poor Delfin. He was stopped in the middle and like a “Puppy Dog” took his seat. It was sad and humiliating. Which reminds me of the “discrimination” done to the poor back home in the Philippines. At this writing, I have gathered some pros and cons comments about Delfin’s “wrong timing in announcing his interest to serve as Chairperson”. Let me dig up some more pros and cons and I’ll share those as FAIRLY as I can to our Via Times readers. Also, anyone who has an opinion related to this, please share those with me. In fairness to both sides, Delfin, you did right by keeping your cool. Everyone, enjoy the summer. (esn)


A Youthful Catalla Family Hero: Photo shows Efren Catalla’s (4th from left) “Young Family Hero”,– from left are: MOM Vida Catalla, daughter Kathryn Catalla Strait and US Army Captain Efren Brian Catalla. When he was younger, Brian was deployed for nine months in Basilan, Zamboanga City, Philippines as Army Captain., and longer in Afghanistan; This picture was taken when the young Captain Catalla (3rd from left) graduated from Georgetown University as a member of the ” Special Operation Fort Brag., which out of the 400 “trainees” only 160 qualified for graduation.


Taken at Faith Community Presbyterian Church during the birthday celebration of Emy Navarro Butuyan (not in photo), last June. From left are unidentified couple (sorry); Atty. Al Bascos (seated);Elsie Sy-Niebar (Church Elder); Thelma Bascos; Dr. Remy Escalona; and Dr. Ben Butuyan. Church Elder and husband of the celebrant. Photo by Dr. Manny Escalona.


Haute couterier Mar Lapena, with Notebook columnist, Mrs. Lydia Tayco and Rev. Pascual Tayco when they celebrated their Sixth Wedding Anniversary, lately. Mar is the designer of the bride’s stunning gown. (Photo by Rosie Reed)


The contest winners who received their prizes during the PIWC GALA NIGHT on June 15 , 2019 at the Holiday Inn Chicago North Shore(standing left to right): KAYLA TEJERO , 2nd Place(Yorkville High School); MARISSA LAQUI, 5th Place(Naperville Central High School); REIJHAY Vargas, 4th Place(Niles West High School); SAMANTHA CAASI B. Tica, 3rd Place(Wheaton West High School); ANGELA MIHMA S. ACHANZAR, 1st Place(Lane Tech College Prep High School).


One of our Racial Pride is having one of us achieve a mainstream political title like MAYOR RON FALCONI, Filipino American Mayor of Ohio, who graced our PIWC 2019 Gala Night. He was inducted into the Chicago Filipino Asian American Hall of Fame in the field of Public Service in 2018. He is shown with Alicia and Harry Monk. (Rosie Reed photo)


The Chicago MAGNIFICENT LIONS CLUB at the PIWC 2019 Gala Night– from left are Jashon Chavez, Lodi Poe, Susan Francisco, Alicia Monk, Jet Jet Gruezo, JR Roque and Peter Edquiban (Rosie Reed photo)


The Filipino Cathedral Singers under the baton of Vice Velarde, which performed at the June 12 Independence Day Cultural Show at the Daley Plaza, and at the PIWC GALA DINNER last June June 15, at the Holiday Inn Hotel in Skokie, IL. (Photo by Rosie Reed)


My favorite “son” Lindy Tan who’s always ready with his “Helping Hand” when I feel like falling down. with the smiling Lady Susan Francisco. We look like Olympian winners with our ” PIWC Appreciation Medals from PIWC chair Edwin Pineda! Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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