News from MIRA
‘Defeating anti-immigrant amendments is not enough’
BOSTON, April 26, 2018 – Yesterday afternoon, the Mass. House of Representatives defeated all proposed anti-immigrant amendments to the House Ways & Means budget. But the House also chose not to adopt new protections for immigrants.
Eva A. Millona, executive director of MIRA, the largest coalition in New England promoting the rights and integration of immigrants and refugees, made the following statement:
“We are relieved that the Mass. House of Representatives defeated all the anti-immigrant budget amendments that would have entangled police in civil immigration enforcement and punished cities and towns that protect immigrants.
“The strong, bipartisan roll-call vote (145 to 10) against one such proposal, Rep. Jim Lyons’ amendment #347, shows that in Massachusetts, there is no political will to enlist our police in the federal crusade against immigrants. The Supreme Judicial Court’s Lunn v. Commonwealth decision, which barred law enforcement from honoring ICE detainers, still stands.
“But defeating anti-immigrant amendments is not enough. Immigrants in our Commonwealth urgently need new legal protections. To do nothing in the face of grave injustice is unacceptable. We will continue the fight in the Senate.”
A show of strength – and a call to action at the State House
The 22nd annual Immigrants’ Day at the State House was both a reckoning with the devastating impact of the Trump administration, and a reminder of the importance of state- and local-level action.
BOSTON, April 4, 2018 – The theme of the day was “Immigrants get the job done,” and dozens of black-and-orange posters offered proof in numbers.
1 in 5 workers in Massachusetts is an immigrant; 1 in 5 entrepreneurs, too; 59% of medical and life scientists. Immigrants in our state pay $8.4 billion in federal taxes each year, and $3.5 billion in state and local taxes. 7,100 workers are Salvadorans or Haitians with Temporary Protected Status.
And that’s just immigrants today. As Senate President Harriette Chandler put it, “Immigrants are not some other. Immigrants are us… Massachusetts has been built on the backs of immigrants from across the globe.”
Congress can’t leave Dreamers in the lurch as DACA ends
Make no mistake: Young people are losing their work permits and legal protections every day now. Only Congress can avert this disaster.
Paola, a student at MassBay Community College, had hoped to start nursing school this spring, but she was a nervous wreck, so she had to postpone her entrance exam.
She’d put herself out there – at rallies in Boston and in Washington, in her local paper, on the TV news – hoping to build support for Dreamers. She’d taken abuse online. But even with just weeks left until the end of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Congress had yet to step up.
So she went back to work, enrolled in two classes, and – taking advantage of a federal court injunction that reopened DACA renewals – she applied for two more years of protection. She also put her 4-year-old son on a plane to Bolivia, to meet her mother and sisters, whom she hasn’t seen in almost 15 years. As a DACA recipient, she’s not allowed to leave the country, but he’s a U.S. citizen.
“I cried when I dropped him off at the airport,” she said. “He asked, ‘Mommy why can’t you come with me? I want you to come with me.’ I thought, ‘How do I explain this to this little guy?’”
Immigrants can’t wait for protection: Legislature must act this year
NOTE, March 9, 2018: When we posted this article on February 26, we were trying to strike a delicate balance between the urgent need to protect immigrants in our Commonwealth, and our deep misgivings about key amendments made to the Safe Communities Act in order to win the police chiefs’ support. In the interest of transparency, we have left the original text below, which previously had the headline “With police support, Mass. can adopt vital legislation this year.”
Upon further discussion with fellow advocates in the Safe Communities Coalition, we have decided to walk away from the redrafted SCA. If passed in its current form, the bill would not only set us back from the Lunn decision, but it would also codify language that is simply unacceptable. We can’t risk moving forward with the knowledge that despite our best efforts, that language could become law.
But we are not giving up. At MIRA and within the Safe Communities Coalition, we are committed to working to pass as many SCA provisions as possible by other means this session, and to fight for as long as it takes to ensure that all immigrants feel welcome and safe in Massachusetts.
Thank you for all you’ve done to advance this cause! We’ll have more updates and action alerts soon.
An unforgivable display of cynicism on Capitol Hill
‘To Dreamers, I say, keep the faith. We stand behind you. The American people are on your side. We will not rest until you get the justice that you deserve.’
BOSTON, February 15, 2018 – Today, the U.S. Senate voted on three proposals to enable young undocumented immigrants brought into the country as children to gain permanent residency and, eventually, citizenship. Two were bipartisan compromises; the third mirrored President Trump’s white nationalist agenda.
Massachusetts’ two U.S. Senators, Edward J. Markey and Elizabeth Warren, voted for both compromise bills, but neither met the required 60-vote threshold: they failed by votes of 52–47 and 54–45, respectively. The White House-backed bill failed by a 39–60 vote.
Eva A. Millona, executive director of MIRA, made the following statement in response:
“Today we saw a shameful display of cynicism, at the expense of 690,000 young people. Senators from both sides of the aisle had worked hard on bipartisan DACA bills, but President Trump and the Senate Majority Leader conspired to sabotage any deal.
“Americans overwhelmingly support a path to citizenship for Dreamers. But President Trump, who’d said he had a ‘great heart’ for Dreamers, not only threw their lives into crisis by ending DACA, but also rejected multiple bipartisan compromises. It is clear that he never wanted a deal in the first place – he just saw an opportunity to force right-wing immigration policies through Congress under the guise of a DACA fix.