MIRA Applauds Major Progress on Immigrant Rights

Passage of Senate immigration reform bill and end to same-sex discrimination demonstrate movement's powerful momentum

June 27, 2013 BOSTON — The Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA), the largest organization representing the rights of the foreign-born in New England, commends the U.S. government for a week of major advances on the equal treatment of all residents of the United States. Today, the U.S. Senate passed S. 744, the "Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013," the broadest and most comprehensive reform of the immigration system in over a quarter century. The bill establishes a pathway to legalization for millions of men, women and children living in the shadows, and restructures the current immigration system so that the nation will more readily respond to the needs of our economy and of those wanting to emigrate to the Unites States. This comes the day after the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), thereby allowing federal recognition of legally sanctioned same-sex marriages in Massachusetts and other states. The Obama Administration acknowledged that the Supreme Court ruling would allow the federal government to treat the petitions of same-sex married couples just like those of opposite-sex couples.

Eva Millona, Executive Director of MIRA, made the following statement about this dramatic forward progress.

"This week has seen two amazing steps toward greater equality for all who reside or want to reside in this great nation. We commend the Supreme Court for striking down DOMA, the Obama Administration for immediately recognizing the decision's impact on the rights of same-sex immigration petitioners, and the U.S. Senate for passing S. 744. These actions came in rapid succession and demonstrate the momentum that movements for social justice and human rights have built over many years of hard, persistent work. They also reflect the will of the American people, who recognize the injustice of keeping loving couples apart or of hurting hard-working immigrant families who contribute positively to the American communities to which they aspire to fully belong.

"Passage of the immigration reform bill today by a 68 to 32 vote also sends a clear message to the House of Representatives that they should now take up and quickly pass the Senate bill so that this nation can finally fix our broken system.

Now is not the time for us to take these accomplishments for granted. We recognize much work still needs to be done for common-sense fairness to be realized, and that setbacks are always a threat, as this week has also demonstrated. While we applaud the court for the DOMA decision, we are deeply disappointed and disturbed by the court's invalidation of key provisions of the Voting Rights Act. This invalidation could severely impact people of color and of limited economic means across the nation, both native-born and foreign-born alike. Furthermore, we are deeply troubled by the thoroughly unwarranted increase of spending on border militarization authorized by the Corker-Hoeven amendment to S. 744. As attention turns to the House, we must all work to improve the reform package to protect the rights of our border residents, and to improve the well-being of our nation as a whole."