News & Events
June 13, 2013 BOSTON — During a weekend when fathers are reuniting with their families across the nation, immigration reform advocates will gather tomorrow afternoon in front of the Suffolk County House of Corrections in Boston to demand that Congress and the Obama administration stop separating immigrant fathers from their wives and children.
“The father of our child and provider for our family was taken from us in February, after being stopped by a Massachusetts State Trooper for no apparent reason other than the color of his skin,” said Norma Velazquez, of Fitchburg. “I will be standing in front of the building where he is detained to ask the government to stop this cruel destruction of my family, and of thousands of families like mine across Massachusetts.”
The Suffolk County House of Corrections typically houses around 250 immigrant detainees every day, none of whom are serving criminal sentences, in a holding facility that also houses convicted criminals. The U.S. government pays about $90 a day for each detainee, many of whom spend months or even years waiting for the final adjudication of their cases, with no access to court appointed attorneys or other basic rights enjoyed by inmates serving criminal sentences.
Last year, over 5,000 immigrants were deported from New England — a figure that has climbed steadily since 2006 — a large portion of them processed through the Suffolk County House of Corrections.These figures form a small part of a national deportation network in which1,500 fathers, mothers, children and friends are taken away and locked-up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) everyday.
Senate Judiciary Committee passes bill with 13-5 vote on same day president meets with impacted family members for first time
May 22, 2013 BOSTON — Two historic events yesterday demonstrate the growing official recognition that the current immigration system must change.
In the morning, President Obama met with a group of families impacted by the broken immigration system, including Fitchburg resident Miguel Leal, Community Organizer at the Cleghorn Neighborhood Center (a member organization of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, or MIRA). Later in the day, the Senate Judiciary committee approved, with bipartisan support, S. 744, the "Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act." The 13-5 vote included the support of three Republican Senators, and positioned the bill for strong bipartisan support in the full Senate.
Event included leaders of government, business, labor and faith communities
May 10, 2013, BOSTON – On Friday morning, May 10, Massachusetts community, government, business and labor leaders came together at Boston City Hall to express their shared conviction that Congress should pass immigration reform now, to strengthen the safety and further the prosperity of all Americans.
Sponsored by MIRA on behalf of the New England Coalition for Keeping Families together, and held the day after mark-up began on the Senate's bipartisan immigration reform bill, the press conference publicly re-affirmed the support of Massachusetts leaders at a time of public uncertainty in the wake of the tragic and heinous Boston Marathon bombings.
"We are here to make clear that Massachusetts stands strong, with many voices joined as one, on the need to bring about commonsense, fair and effective immigration reform " said Eva Millona, Executive Director of MIRA. "It is to strengthen the bonds and honor the values that define us as a nation that we have all come together this morning, to voice our support for reform now."
MIRA Coalition praises bipartisan coalition's creation of a path to citizenship and vows to work to improve bill
April 16, 2013 BOSTON —Yesterday a bipartisan group of U.S. senators known as the "Gang of 8" released a bill that broadly reforms the nation's dysfunctional immigration system, creating a pathway to citizenship for some of the 11 million men, women and children currently living in the country without status. The Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA) praises the senators for working so diligently to craft this bipartisan agreement. As the largest organization representing the rights and opportunities of the foreign-born in New England, MIRA vows to support the senators' efforts to pass legislation this year, while also working with friends and allies to improve the bill so that it can best serve the needs of immigrants and native-born residents alike.
Group receives strong support from every legislator visited
April 10, 2013 BOSTON – Immigrants and advocates traveled on two buses from Boston to lobby the Massachusetts Congressional delegation and join the huge "Time IsNow" rally for immigration reform on Wednesday. The group met Wednesday morning with 7 of Massachusetts' 9 Congressional representatives or their senior staff. Senator William "Mo" Cowan, former Chief of Staff of Governor Deval Patrick, reiterated his strong support of immigration reform and of the Governor's long-term dedication to the issue. And Congressman Joseph Kennedy III spoke in Spanish with many of the the immigrants, offering them personal words of encouragement. The staff of all the other representatives, as well as of Senator Elizabeth Warren, also spoke in favor of a bill with provisions for the reunification of separated families and a clear path to citizenship for the nation's 11 million undocumented immigrants.