Now more than ever: Support the Safe Communities Act!
The Safe Communities Coalition brings together immigrant advocates, civil rights groups, service providers, faith leaders and allies committed to ensuring that in Massachusetts, no one has to live in fear, and everyone’s civil rights will be respected.
We have built a broad and diverse statewide movement. Now it’s time to bring our work to fruition. The Safe Communities Act, S.1401 (Sen. Jamie Eldridge) and H.3573 (Reps. Ruth Balser and Liz Miranda), aims to restore community trust in public institutions by avoiding entanglement in immigration matters, and protect due process for all.
There’s no time to waste. The federal government is actively pushing local police and sheriffs to help round up and deport immigrants, sowing a climate of fear that makes everyone less safe. We need to push hard to ensure that the SCA passes in this session. That means legislators need to keep hearing from constituents, week after week, until we succeed.
2020 U.S. Census: What you need to know
What is the Census?
It is a count of every person living in the United States, required by the Constitution, and done every 10 years.
The U.S. Census Bureau collects information from every household and combines the data into statistics that are used to make key policy and budget decisions. The next Census starts in March 2020.
The Census is safe and confidential!
The U.S. Census Bureau takes many steps to protect everyone’s data, and federal law strictly limits how the information can be used. Your responses cannot be used against you by any government agency or court. They can only be combined with others to create statistical analyses. Individual household data can’t be shared with anyone for 72 years.
There are big penalties for anyone who breaks this law: up to 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine per violation.
Business owners make their case for the Safe Communities Act
Andrew Tarsy, left, moderated a panel discussion with Meg Glazer, of Glacon Contracting, Larry O’Toole, of Gentle Giant Movers, and Seana Gaherin, of Dunn Gaherin’s. Click on the photo to see more images.
At a legislative briefing, members of the Massachusetts Business Immigration Coalition said the climate of fear directly affects their workers, even though they have lawful status.
BOSTON, November 6, 2019 – Seana Gaherin and her husband have run Dunn Gaherin’s, in Newton, for 28 years, with a staff made up mainly of immigrants. They have helped make the pub a beloved gathering place, and stand out for their work ethic and dedication.
So it pains her, as a first-generation American herself, to see people she loves and respects treated “as second-class citizens… only because they are not born in this country.”
“That’s why I’m here today,” she told a roomful of legislators and staff: “to tell you more about that and how much I rely and depend on those people. Not only are they my friends and family, but they’re my cohorts… my business would not be able to survive without them.”
Gaherin was one of three business owners and members of the Massachusetts Business Immigration Coalition (MBIC) who came to the State House for a legislative briefing on the business case for state legislation to protect immigrant families – in particular, the Safe Communities Act.
What you need to know about the ‘public charge’ rule
UPDATE Jan. 8, 2020: In October, five federal courts blocked implementation of the public charge rule, which was set to go into effect on Oct. 15, 2019. Three of the injunctions applied nationwide. Since then, appeals courts have lifted two of those injunctions; today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, in New York, refused to stay the third injunction; however, the court will still hear arguments on the merits of the injunction itself, likely in mid-late February.
In the meantime, and until further notice, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will continue to apply the previous, much-narrower definition of “public charge.” Anyone applying for a green card within the U.S. can still do so without being affected by the new rule. However, the State Department is already applying a similar standard to applications filed abroad, and is updating its guidance to match the DHS criteria. We will continue to update this page as lawsuits move through the courts and policies evolve; see also the Protecting Immigrant Families website.
Emma Lazarus’ poem at the foot of the Statue of Liberty invites the world to “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” For centuries, people have come with little or nothing, and built new lives and new fortunes here. It’s the American Dream.
But now the Trump administration wants to slam the door on working-class immigrants by subjecting anyone who earns less than 250% of the federal poverty line ($64,375 for a family of 4) to intense scrutiny, and effectively excluding anyone below 125% of FPL ($32,188 for a family of 4).
Immigrants applying for a green card or visa could be deemed to be a “public charge” – someone who depends on the government – and turned away if they earn below 250% of FPL and use any of a wide range of public programs for working families, or are deemed to be likely to use them in the future due to their income, age, health status, credit score and other factors.
MIRA joins advocates from across the U.S. in endorsing visionary New Deal for New Americans Act
WASHINGTON, D.C., October 30, 2019 – Today MIRA Executive Director Eva A. Millona joined legislators and advocates on Capitol Hill to unveil the New Deal for New Americans Act, which was introduced today in the U.S. House of Representatives by Reps. Grace Meng (NY), Jesús “Chuy” García (IL) and Pramila Jayapal.
The bill, which has the strong support of MIRA and the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA), which Millona co-chairs, lays out a vision for more welcoming and inclusive nation that rejects hate, fear and division and instead aims to ensure that all people can feel at home and truly thrive here.
Under the proposal, the federal government will invest in strategies that have proven successful in integrating immigrants and refugees in our communities, enabling them to realize their economic potential and fully participate in civic life, to the benefit of the whole country.
The New Deal for New Americans Act accomplishes this by reducing barriers to naturalization and providing more support for eligible residents to become U.S. citizens; investing in high-quality English classes that meet the needs of immigrant communities; ensuring that immigrants can get the training they need to fill the jobs that are driving our economy; and supporting cities and states with the resources they need to resettle refugees.
Amid a global displacement crisis, we must stand up for refugees
Refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo leave a transit camp in Uganda for an eight-hour journey to another refugee settlement. DFID/Flickr.
BOSTON, September 27, 2019 – The Trump administration has set a cap of 18,000 for refugee admissions in the fiscal year that begins next Tuesday. This is a record low for the modern U.S. refugee resettlement program – and less than one-fifth the average over the program’s four-decade history.
As of Sept. 20, more than 29,800 refugees had been admitted to the U.S. in fiscal 2019. Since trying and failing to ban refugees early in 2017, the Trump administration has rapidly reduced the cap from the 110,000 level set by former President Obama in his last year: first to 45,000, then to 30,000. In a move that is likely to further hinder resettlements, the White House also issued an executive order yesterday that requires state and local governments to consent to receiving most refugees.
As New England’s largest coalition advocating for immigrants and refugees, with multiple members working directly in refugee resettlement and integration support, MIRA strongly condemns this administration’s repeated assaults on the world’s most vulnerable people.