Immigrant Advocates Applaud Final Budget
and Legislative Action

Eight of nine anti-immigrant amendments removed from budget; most line-items level funded; anti-trafficking bill passes Senate

Thursday, July 1, 2011. BOSTON — This morning the Massachusetts legislature is voting on the final version of the state budget, which was passed on by the conference committee last night. By and large, the budget backs away from anti-immigrant language and supports programs crucial to the health and integration of the foreign-born. Eight of the nine anti-immigrant amendments that passed the State Senate this spring have been removed, leaving only the provision requiring those receiving MassHealth to have their immigration status verified through the SAVE program — a verification process that was already being implemented before this language was written.

Furthermore, as the chart below shows, most of the programs that advocates believe are crucial for the foreign-born were adequately funded, except for outreach and access grants for MassHealth. Advocates continue to be hopeful that other sources of funding can be found to continue this program.

In addition, the State Senate yesterday voted to pass anti-human-trafficking legislation.The Senate version has a number of victim services and protections that advocates hope to see adopted in the final bill.

"We commend the conference committee for forwarding this supportive and fiscally sensible budget to the full legislature, and we commend the Senate for moving forward on this anti-human-trafficking bill," said Eva Millona, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA). "This continues in the great welcoming tradition that has made Massachusetts so culturally and economically vibrant throughout our nation's history. By not including the anti-immigrant measures, the legislature also performed a service to all Massachusetts taxpayers, who can now rest assured they will not be saddled with the cost of redundant provisions that are all symbol and no substance. We also thank our members and allies for their hard work, and ask everyone to join us in extending thanks to House and Senate leadership for these sound and sensible actions."

MIRA Budget Priorities Grid - FY2012

Budget Item

Final FY 2011 Signed

FY12 Gov Budget (H1)

House Final

Senate Final

Conference

Citizenship
4003-0122

$237,500

$237,500

$237,500

$237,500

$237,500

ABE/ESOL
7035-0002

$27,702,108

$27,702,115

$27,702,108

$27,702,108

$27,702,108

RISE
4513-1130

$4,906,844 + 750,000 (Supplemental)

$4,907,970

$4,907,970

$5,657,970

$5,507,970

MassHealth O & E
4000-0352

$2,500,000 (Outside Section 155)

0

0

0

0

Commonwealth Care Eligibility

Senate Outside Section 111

$50 million total for FY11 (after Supplemental)

$50 million (No new enrollment)

$25 million

$42 million

$42 million (Outside Section 166)

Employment Services Program

4401-1000

$14,979,163

0

$6,689,934

$4,279,933

$7,109,035