New England's Largest Immigrant Advocacy Coalition Applauds Immigration Reform Introduction in Senate

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.

"The introduction of this bill is a tremendous achievement for the immigrant rights movement and for the nation as a whole," said Sarang Sekhavat, Federal Policy Director at MIRA. "We applaud the senators for tackling the issue exhaustively. While recognizing  the need to fully integrate those living in the shadows, they have also included visa reform, asylum reform, and many other much needed provisions in the bill.

"We will work with our members and our local and national allies to improve some shortcomings in the legislation introduced today," Sekhavat continued. "Certainly the cutoffs for qualification aren't inclusive enough; the 13-year wait to earn citizenship is too long; the elimination of the diversity visa could affect historically excluded peoples; and the visa reform cuts too deeply into the current family-based system.

"We will also work to improve this bill without losing sight of the urgent need for reform now, at a time when over 1,000 families are torn apart by deportation every day. Through mobilization and coalition-building, the voice of the New Americans who shaped the outcome of the last election will also have a say in shaping a brighter future for themselves and the nation they so deeply love."