Save the date! For the 22nd year in a row, MIRA is organizing Immigrants’ Day at the State House, the biggest lobbying day of the year for immigrants, refugees and allies. After a brief speaking program, we fan out through the building to meet with legislators and advocate for priority bills and funding for programs such as English classes and adult basic education. Last year we had our largest turnout ever, with more than 1,600 people.
Our theme this year is “Immigrants Get the Job Done.” We plan to highlight the key role of foreign-born workers in some of Massachusetts’ top economic sectors, such as healthcare, technology, and hospitality, with business leaders and public officials joining us.
REAL ID and Mass. driver’s licenses: March 2018 update
In 2016 Massachusetts passed legislation to implement REAL ID, a federal standard adopted by Congress in 2005. Under the new law, state residents have a choice of two types of driver’s license or ID card: a REAL ID-compliant one, or a standard Massachusetts state license. The new system is effective on March 26, 2018.
The changes affect everyone, but are particularly important for non-citizens to understand.
Key differences between a REAL ID and a standard license:
- The REAL ID licenses will be marked “valid for federal identification purposes” with a gold star in the upper right-hand corner.
- If you want a REAL ID license or ID, you must apply in person, whereas five-year standard licenses can be renewed completely online in most cases.
- Starting in October 2020, only licenses/IDs that are REAL ID-compliant will be accepted as identification at airport security checkpoints. You will NOT be unable to board an airplane using a standard Mass. license or ID.
- You will still be able to use a valid passport (from any country), an EAD card, a permanent resident card (green card), or any of the other documents listed to board flights or as ID to enter a federal building.
- Until October 2020, your standard license or ID can still be used to board an airplane; in federal buildings where ID is required, you already need REAL ID.
Congress can’t leave Dreamers in the lurch as DACA ends
Make no mistake: Young people are losing their work permits and legal protections every day now. Only Congress can avert this disaster.
Paola, a student at MassBay Community College, had hoped to start nursing school this spring, but she was a nervous wreck, so she had to postpone her entrance exam.
She’d put herself out there – at rallies in Boston and in Washington, in her local paper, on the TV news – hoping to build support for Dreamers. She’d taken abuse online. But even with just weeks left until the end of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Congress had yet to step up.
So she went back to work, enrolled in two classes, and – taking advantage of a federal court injunction that reopened DACA renewals – she applied for two more years of protection. She also put her 4-year-old son on a plane to Bolivia, to meet her mother and sisters, whom she hasn’t seen in almost 15 years. As a DACA recipient, she’s not allowed to leave the country, but he’s a U.S. citizen.
“I cried when I dropped him off at the airport,” she said. “He asked, ‘Mommy why can’t you come with me? I want you to come with me.’ I thought, ‘How do I explain this to this little guy?’”
Amid a global crisis, U.S. refugee program is ‘decimated’
U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey joined a roundtable discussion organized by MIRA with refugee resettlement agencies, legal experts and advocates to assess the impact of the travel and refugee bans.
BOSTON – On January 27, 2017, President Trump barred citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries – and all refugees – from entering the U.S., with the stated goal to “protect the American people from terrorist attacks.” Thousands of protesters took to the streets and filled airports, including Boston Logan, to show solidarity and provide legal assistance to detained travelers.
A year later, where do we stand? And how do we move forward?
Aiming to answer those questions, MIRA brought together legal experts, refugee resettlement agencies, advocates and public officials on February 5 at the state Office for Refugees and Immigrants (ORI), as part of a week of action to launch the nationwide We Are All America campaign.
Congress must act to right the wrongs of TPS termination
BOSTON, January 8, 2018 – Today the Trump administration announced that it is ending Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Salvadorans. Effective Sept. 9, 2019, about 200,000 people who have been living and working legally in the U.S. for almost two decades, who have American families, homes and businesses, will be subject to deportation.
MIRA, the largest coalition advocating for foreign-born people in New England, strongly condemns this decision.
“This is the fourth TPS termination in just four months,” said Executive Director Eva A. Millona. “Given the dire conditions in El Salvador, which the U.S. State Department has warned Americans not to travel to, it is clear that nothing – not natural disasters, not hunger, not rampant violence – is seen as a valid justification anymore for protected status. Our government is perfectly comfortable sending longstanding, law-abiding residents into life-threatening conditions, and their U.S. citizen children as well.”