News from MIRA
Travel ban decision sets a dangerous precedent for America
When the travel ban was first implemented, protesters flooded airports across the U.S. Photo by Rhododendrites/Wikimedia Commons.
BOSTON, June 26, 2018 – Today the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Trump administration’s travel ban, which forbids travel to the U.S. for the 150 million citizens of five Muslim-majority countries — Syria, Iran, Somalia, Libya and Yemen — as well as North Korea, with very limited exceptions.
The 5–4 decision in Trump v. Hawaii rests on a broad definition of executive authority. Even in the face of extensive evidence of the President’s anti-Muslim animus, the majority found, the ban must be upheld if it can be reasonably linked to “a justification independent of unconstitutional grounds.”
Indeed, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote, the few policies the Court has struck down in the past were found to be “divorced from any factual context… [showing] a relationship to legitimate state interests.”
“Today’s decision is deeply troubling and sets a dangerous precedent,” said Eva A. Millona, executive director of MIRA. “What the Supreme Court said, in essence, is that no matter how obvious the President’s racist and anti-Muslim motivations may be, if he can wrap the travel ban in the pretext of national security, it must stand.”
Order to end family separations will only change how children are traumatized
BOSTON, June 20, 2018 – Today, the President signed an executive order to address the ongoing family separation crisis on the border. Unfortunately for the thousands of people seeking asylum in the U.S., his solution is simply to incarcerate families together, indefinitely, while continuing to blame Congress and the courts for the crisis that he created.
“This executive order does not reverse the ‘zero tolerance’ policy initiated by this administration,” said MIRA Executive Director Eva A. Millona. “Rather, it seeks to treat persecuted families as criminals. This is a despicable act that is a debasement of American values.”
In addition to continuing to detain and criminally prosecute people seeking refuge, the Executive Order calls on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to seek a modification of the settlement reached in Flores v Reno. The “Flores settlement” dictates that U.S. Department of Homeland Security keep children in custody in the “least restrictive conditions” possible, provide basic necessities such as medical care, and separate them from adults to whom they have no relation.
“In seeking to overturn Flores, in seeking to deny basic dignity to asylum-seekers, this administration is once again dehumanizing immigrants,” Millona said. “We urge Congress to see these heinous actions for what they are and take immediate measures to truly protect children and families. They must stand up and show the world that the values of this administration do not represent the values of our great nation.”
MIRA joins Sen. Markey’s call for ban on family separations
BOSTON, June 15, 2018 – Today, we joined U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey, with several advocates, to condemn family separations and speak out in support of a Senate bill co-sponsored by him to end family separations not as part of a massive immigration “reform” bill, but by simply forbidding the practice.
The Keep Families Together Act was developed in consultation with child welfare experts and is supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics, Kids In Need of Defense (KIND), Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), Children’s Law Center and the Young Center for Immigrant Rights. It has overwhelming support from Senate Democrats, but no GOP support so far.
A crucial victory for immigrants and civil rights in the Mass. Senate budget
A group photo in the Senate chamber after a hard-fought victory: Arline Isaacson, Joel Rivera from MIRA, Cindy Rowe from JALSA, Amy Grunder and Eva Millona from MIRA, Senators Jamie Eldridge, Sonia Chang-Diaz and Sal DiDomenico, Gavi Wolfe and Laura Rótolo of the ACLU; Aaron Agulnek of JCRC, and Eldridge comms director Peter Missouri.
BOSTON, May 23, 2018 – Last night, after a thoughtful and substantive debate, the Massachusetts Senate voted 25–13 to approve Sen. Jamie Eldridge’s amendment #1147, which adds four key protections for immigrants to the state budget for FY2019.
In particular, the amendment bars police from asking about people’s immigration status unless required by law; ends 287(g) contracts that deputize state and local law enforcement as ICE agents; requires that immigrants be notified of their due-process rights; and ensures that Massachusetts does not contribute to any registry based on religion, ethnicity, citizenship or other protected categories.
The Senate then voted 25–13 to reject an amendment that included the same provisions, but also would have authorized police to detain immigrants for ICE, undoing the gains of the Supreme Judicial Court’s Lunn v. Commonwealth decision last year.
Terminating TPS for Hondurans will uproot American families
BOSTON, May 4, 2018 – Today the Trump administration announced it will end Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Hondurans, with an 18-month delay, effective January 2020. An estimated 57,000 people across the U.S., including several hundred in Massachusetts, will face deportation.
Eva A. Millona, executive director of MIRA, issued the following statement:
“The decision to end TPS for Hondurans is not surprising, given that this administration had already deemed citizens of Sudan, Haiti, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Nepal to no longer need special protection. But the fact that this fits a pattern doesn’t make it less disturbing.
“Anyone who follows the news knows that Honduras is deeply troubled, politically unstable, racked by violence, and with a struggling economy. Indeed, nobody knows better than U.S. immigration authorities, who see the desperation of asylum-seekers arriving at our southern border every day. Honduras is in no condition to take back tens of thousands of families, or to forgo the billions of dollars in remittances that U.S.-based workers send home each year.
“Ending TPS for Hondurans will cause real pain in our communities. Honduran TPS holders have lived here for an average of 22 years and have an estimated 53,000 U.S. citizen children. These are American lives that are being destroyed.
“We urge our Congressional delegation to stand up to this administration’s hateful agenda and advance legislation to enable TPS holders to qualify for green cards. These are hard-working people with deep roots in our country. Congress needs to step in to correct this injustice and protect immigrant families.”