News & Events

Executive Vice-President of 1199SEIU keynote speaker at largest immigrant advocacy day of year

4/4/12 BOSTON -- The largest immigrant advocacy day of the year will take place on Monday April 9 as more than 500 immigrants and advocates fill the Gardner Auditorium for the 16th annual Immigrants Day at the State House. This year's keynote speaker will be Veronica Turner-Biggs, Executive Vice-President of 1199SEIU, MA Region. Ms. Turner-Biggs served as a rank and file member at Boston Medical Center before becoming the first African-American female elected as the head of a major union in Massachusetts.

The event also includes three immigrant success stories, a cultural presentation, and a candidates' forum for the Massachusetts U.S. Senate race. All major candidates — incumbent Senator Scott Brown and candidates Marisa DeFranco and Elizabeth Warren — have been invited.

Read more: "Immigrants Day at the State House" Coming Monday, April 9

dsc_0582Health Care for All and MIRA urge 37,400 documented immigrants who now qualify for Commonwealth Care to enroll or seek guidance

4/3/12 BOSTON - Today, representatives of Health Care For All (HCFA) and the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA) gathered to highlight the eligibility and enrollment process for the estimated 37,400 documented immigrants who now qualify for CommonwealthCare.

“We are really excited that the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court affirmed our vision of health care as a right for all residents and we are committed to enrolling every single eligible individual into CommonwealthCare,” said Amy Whitcomb Slemmer, Executive Director of Health Care For All. “Some of our HelpLine callers are confused about the enrollment process.  We are here today to make sure people understand what they are eligible for and how they can start getting their health benefits.”

Health Law Advocates won this landmark legal victory on behalf of the class that sued the Commonwealth when state budget cuts included removing special status immigrants from the Commonwealth Care program and created a limited health plan known as the Bridge program.

Read more: Advocates Clarify Issue of Health Coverage Enrollment for Immigrants

Health Care for All, MIRA and community members to explain urgent enrollment issue



  • Amy Whitcomb Slemmer, Executive Director - Health Care For All
  • Eva Millona, Executive Director - MIRA Coalition
  • Nicole Sammarco, President - Haitian American Organization for Social Economic Development (available for interviews in Haitian Creole)
  • Documented immigrants who are now eligible for Commonwealth Care
  • CesaríaReynoso (available for interviews in Spanish)
  • FlaviaPortinho (available for interviews in Portuguese)


WHAT: Groups that advocate for health care access and immigrants’ rights will hold a press conference to clarify eligibility and responsibilities of the beneficiaries of the Massachusetts Supreme Court Ruling, which will allow the enrollment of thousands of documented immigrants in Commonwealth Care in the next few weeks.


WHEN: Tuesday, April 3rd

12:00 pm – 12:30 pm


WHERE: Health Care For All – 9th Floor Conference Room

30 Winter St.

Boston, MA 02108

Friday events will show community support for immigrant families still fighting separation

bianco raids

3/7/12 NEW BEDFORD — At 5:30 on Friday evening, an interfaith service will begin an evening of community commemoration and support for the hundreds of families still grievously affected by the raid at the Michael Bianco factory by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which made national headlines five years ago this week. The raid took place in the early morning of March 6, 2007,  when some 500 ICE agents and other law enforcement officials detained 361 undocumented garment workers at the New Bedford garment factory, mostly women from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. Today, many of the detainees still face imminent separation from their families, often forcing them to choose between losing loved ones or taking their children away from the nation in which they were born and raised.

Read more: New Bedford Faith Leaders and Advocates Commemorate Fifth Anniversary of Bianco Raids

Committee hearing packed with constituents speaking out against divisive and fiscally irresponsible Senate Bill 2061

sen keenan2/29/12 BOSTON — In the middle of a contentious State House hearing today on a bill entitled "An Act to Enhance Community Safety," Representative Carlos Henriquez  asked, "Why are we making immigration the culprit in this? What can we do that addresses these issues that doesn't make immigration the boogeyman, so to speak?"

The act, SB 2061 and its counterpart House Bill 3913, were presumably introduced in response to the tragic death of a U.S. citizen caused by a drunk driver who happened to be undocumented. But at the Joint Committee on the Judiciary hearing, human rights advocates, faith leaders, immigration experts and others spoke about how the proposed legislation scapegoats immigrants and ignores the real threats to public safety, namely, drunk driving and alcohol abuse.

Read more: Diverse Groups Testify Against Anti-Immigrant Bill