News from MIRA

MIRA, Dreamers and TPS holders hail historic U.S. House vote

Aminta Dream and Promise Act featureBOSTON, June 4, 2019 – The U.S. House of Representatives tonight approved the Dream and Promise Act, H.R. 6, which would provide permanent residency and a path to citizenship for more than 2.5 million immigrants across the nation, including over 45,000 in Massachusetts.

The Massachusetts delegation was unanimous in its support, and as chair of the House Rules Committee, U.S. Rep. James McGovern was instrumental in laying the groundwork for a successful vote tonight. MIRA Executive Director Eva A. Millona celebrated this important victory:

“Tonight’s vote is historic,” she said. “It says, loud and clear, that Dreamers and TPS and DED holders belong in America – that this is their home as much as anyone’s, and they have a right to build their lives and pursue their dreams without fear that any day, they could be forced to leave. It’s been almost 9 years since the House first approved a DREAM Act, and not once since then has even a single chamber of Congress approved legislation to protect immigrants without harmful tradeoffs. That’s why this bill is so important.”

Read more: MIRA, Dreamers and TPS holders hail historic U.S. House vote

Immigration proposal doubles down on hard-right positions

BOSTON, May 16, 2019 – Today President Trump announced a new immigration proposal that reflects his long-standing priorities, including a shift from family-based to “merit-based” legal immigration, weakening of protections for asylum-seekers, and more investments in his border wall.

Based on the details reported so far, MIRA Executive Eva A. Millona has the following comment:

“The proposal outlined today offers no new ideas and no path towards the bipartisan solutions that our immigration system sorely needs. It would sharply curtail family-based migration, a pillar of our current system, depriving millions of Americans of the chance to sponsor their parents and siblings. It would limit protections for asylum-seekers, undermining human rights. It would do nothing to protect millions of Dreamers, Temporary Protected Status holders, and other immigrants with deep roots in our country. And it would continue to militarize our southern border and extend the wall, a multi-billion-dollar symbol of fear and hate.

“Though we strongly oppose limits to family-based migration, we would be open to discussion of a ‘merit-based’ system to prioritize applicants for admission to the U.S. – but only if the system is actually designed to meet American employers’ need for workers with a wide range of skills and talents. If the plan follows the model of the RAISE Act, however, which the President has previously supported, it would set absurdly high standards that would exclude almost all applicants.

“It is clear that this is a political statement, not a serious attempt to address America’s immigration needs. The President is looking to 2020 and playing to his base. This plan is dead on arrival in Congress, but it does serious harm nonetheless, because it entrenches the President and his supporters in extreme positions once held only by the right-wing fringe. That could hinder bipartisan efforts well past 2020.” 

House FY2020 budget supports key investments in our diverse Commonwealth

Citizenship clinic
A MIRA volunteer helps a green card holder fill out his citizenship application at a free clinic in Boston.

BOSTON, April 10, 2019 – Today the House Committee on Ways and Means unveiled a $42.7 billion budget for fiscal year 2020 that includes vital investments in immigrant integration, as well as $2 million for community outreach to ensure that all Massachusetts residents are counted in the 2020 U.S. Census.

“With this budget, House leadership sends a powerful message that our Commonwealth values new Americans,” said Eva A. Millona, executive director of MIRA, a coalition of more than 130 organizations that represent, serve and advocate for immigrants and refugees.

“We are particularly pleased to see a 60% boost in support for citizenship programs, which enable immigrants to fully realize their American dream,” Millona added. “Citizenship anchors new Americans in our communities and makes them likelier to buy a home, start a business, and get involved in civic life. The extra funds will help nonprofits across Massachusetts increase public outreach, especially to immigrants who may not know they’re eligible for citizenship, and provide much-needed technical support to ensure that every applicant successfully completes the process.”

Read more: House FY2020 budget supports key investments in our diverse Commonwealth

Dream and Promise Act is an important step forward for Congress


Jessica Garcia, a Dreamer from Los Angeles and member of CHIRLA, speaks at the unveiling of the bill. Behind her is lead sponsor U.S. Rep. Lucille Royce-Allard.

BOSTON, March 12, 2019 – Today on Capitol Hill, House leadership unveiled H.R. 6, the Dream and Promise Act, which would provide permanent protection and a path to citizenship to Dreamers and people with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED).

The bill, sponsored by U.S. Reps. Lucille Royce-Allard (D-CA), Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) and Yvette Clarke (D-NY), builds on the DREAM Act, which was passed by the House in 2010, but fell to a filibuster in the Senate, and the American Promise Act, introduced in 2017 to protect TPS holders.

At a time when even modest proposals to protect immigrants tend to include major tradeoffs ­– from billions for a border wall, to punitive new enforcement policies, to cuts to family immigration – this bill marks a sea change: protecting immigrants without hurting other immigrants.

“The Dream and Promise Act is a breath of fresh air,” said MIRA Executive Director Eva A. Millona. “It sends a strong message to Dreamers and TPS and DED holders: We know this is your home. We know how much you contribute to this nation – and we stand behind you.

Read more: Dream and Promise Act is an important step forward for Congress

‘You belong’: Immigrants’ Day brings hundreds to advocate for a more just and welcoming Commonwealth

Doris Reina-Landaverde, flanked by a Harvard student and U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley, advocated for driver’s license legislation.

BOSTON, March 4, 2019 – Doris Reina-Landaverde was speaking for thousands of people, and she didn’t want to stand alone. So before she began, she asked students from Harvard University, where she works as a janitor, to join her at the podium, along with 32BJ SEIU District 615 leader Roxana Rivera and U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley.

Then, her voice still shaky at first, she explained how Temporary Protected Status (TPS) ­– a humanitarian program that covers more than 12,000 immigrants in Massachusetts, about half of them Salvadorans like herself – had enabled them all to build lives and families here over the past two decades.

The Trump administration wants to end TPS for almost everyone, but a federal judge’s intervention has bought some time for TPS holders from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan (but not other countries); just last week, their protection was extended until January 2020.

But her paperwork still says Sept. 9, 2019. Her license expires on her birthday in December. And in Massachusetts, getting a driver’s license requires proof of lawful presence. TPS holders have already faced difficulties with renewals, even with the law and RMV leadership on their side.

Read more: ‘You belong’: Immigrants’ Day brings hundreds to advocate for a more just and welcoming Commonwealth