Mass. advocates vow to fight Trump administration effort to penalize working-class immigrants
A proposal to redefine ‘public charge’ would deny green cards to people who access key safety net programs – or whose jobs don’t pay high enough wages.
BOSTON, September 23, 2018 – The Trump administration yesterday released a proposed regulation that seeks to penalize legal immigrants for accessing programs that help working families with health care, housing and nutrition, or for holding low-wage jobs that don’t enable them to meet an arbitrary income threshold.
The draft regulations would vastly expand the definition of “public charge” – someone who is dependent on government benefits and thus may be denied a green card – to include not only people who receive cash benefits or need long term care, but also those who participate in numerous “safety net” programs used by millions of working Americans. It would also make it easier to deny permanent residency to anyone earning less than 250% of the federal poverty line ($62,750 for a family of four).
“This proposal is a toxic blend of nativism and class warfare,” said MIRA Executive Director Eva A. Millona. “It is overtly discriminatory, and we will fight vigorously to ensure that it is never adopted.”
Immigrants in Massachusetts can be a powerful political force. About 1 in 11 state residents – 1 in 7 in Boston – is a naturalized U.S. citizen. Add the U.S.-born children of immigrants and the thousands of citizens who have mobilized to fight for immigrant rights across our Commonwealth, and we have a political force to be reckoned with.
So let’s use that power to effect change!
For the 2018 election, MIRA is doing two things: 1) helping voters choose by providing videos, Q&As and other informational materials; and 2) getting out the immigrant (and pro-immigrant) vote through canvasses and phone banks – both for the Sept. 4 primaries, and for the Nov. 6 election.
Below is a list of the races for which we’ve produced videos so far.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
KEY THINGS TO KNOW (updated Sept. 1, 2018):
On Sept. 5, 2018, it will be a year since the Trump administration has announced it would end DACA. For those who already have DACA, your work permit and deferred action will continue until their expiration date, and until further notice, due to several court orders (see below), you can renew your DACA for another two years.
For authoritative, regularly updated information on DACA litigation, see the National Immigration Law Center.
We also recommend this excellent overview of DACA’s positive impact on beneficiaries and the whole economy.
Watch our bilingual segment on DACA on WBZ’s Centro (taped Aug. 31, 2018).
An unconscionable betrayal of immigrants and their families
BOSTON, Aug. 14, 2018 – A court filing by the ACLU of Massachusetts in Calderon v. Nielsen reveals that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) personnel have actively collaborated with Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) to facilitate the detention and deportation of immigrants.
MIRA strongly encourages its members and concerned citizens to read the entire filing, which has prompted immediate condemnation from public officials (see letter from Congressman Michael Capuano).
Eva A. Millona, executive director of MIRA, responded with the following comments:
“The revelations in the ACLU’s court filing are deeply disturbing. We have come to recognize that at this point, ICE really is just ‘in the removal business,’ with little regard for public-safety priorities, much less the human impact of its actions. USCIS, however, has a very different mission. Every immigrant who enters this country, applies for a green card, or seeks U.S. citizenship goes through USCIS. And under our Constitution, they all deserve due process.
Help make college dreams a reality for Boston students!
Thousands of immigrants attend Boston’s high schools. They work hard and have big dreams, but at graduation time, many face a huge obstacle: If they’re undocumented, they don’t qualify for federal financial aid, and if they enroll in a public college in Massachusetts, many will have to pay out-of-state tuition.
Nationwide, only about 3% of undocumented students finish college, mainly because of the cost. The Unafraid Scholarship was created by a group of teachers to help students from Boston Public Schools who’ve been accepted to college but aren’t eligible for federal financial aid.