News from MIRA

Legislature overrides Governor's veto, establishing unprecedented state interference with private property ownership

July 31, 2012 BOSTON — Last night the Senate voted 24 -10 to override Governor Deval Patrick's veto of a provision in the state budget that would require vehicle registration applicants to show "proof of legal residence." Earlier in the day, the House also voted 134-19 to override the Governor's veto, despite the Governor's concern, voiced in the State House News, that, "without a legitimate public safety purpose, this bill appears to be aimed at using the RMV to identify and police undocumented people." During the debate, Representative Daniel Webster boasted that the provision would put Massachusetts in league with states like Arizona, which seek to fight immigration battles on their own.

Throughout Massachusetts, the provision was condemned by immigrant advocates, clergy, legal experts, and legislators concerned with the well-being of their immigrant constituents. For the first time in Massachusetts, it makes vehicle ownership contingent on federal immigration status, to be monitored by a state agency. Despite proponents' claims that the measure was motivated by public safety concerns, the ill-conceived language would require documents unrelated to eligibility to drive. These requirements clearly target immigrants, potentially including those eligible to drive in Massachusetts, for no legitimate public safety rationale. Besides increasing wait times at the Registry of Motor Vehicles, the Department of Transportation estimates the provision will cost at least a million dollars to implement.

Read more: Advocates Condemn Law on Immigration Status Checks at Registry of Motor Vehicles

Immigrant Advocates applaud end to three bad provisions, vow to fight controversial fourth through courts and immigrant empowerment

June 25, 2012 BOSTONAfter the mixed Supreme Court decision this morning on the controversial Arizona immigration enforcement law SB 1070, immigrant advocates in Boston and across the nation promised to continue to fight the divisive and destructive law through continued litigation and the empowerment of new immigrant voters.

Read more: Supreme Court's Mixed Arizona Ruling Spurs Immigrant Action

Measures seek to deprive children of housing, burden small businesses, and deny employment to many authorized workers

May 25, 2012 BOSTON —Speaking on the Senate floor about a provision that mandates the use of E-Verify for businesses contracting with state government, Senator Wolf of Harwich said, "I have hired thousands of people in a lot of areas: New Bedford, Boston, Provincetown, Hyannis. I can tell you we have never had an issue that relates to E-Verification that would make me want to support it. The [current] I-9 validation requires multiple forms of proof that are working. Part of this amendment looks like a solution in search of a problem."

Read more: Once Again, State Senate Adopts Anti-Immigrant Amendment in Budget

Immigrants and advocates in Massachusetts applaud decision

June 25th, 2012 BOSTON — This morning, the Obama administration announced that it will provide administrative relief for young people eligible for the DREAM Act. This action covers anyone who came to the United States before age 16, is currently under age 31, has been here for at least five years, is a student or has earned a high school degree or GED or served in the military, and poses no threat to public safety or national security. Starting today, these young people will NOT be deported, and they will be eligible to receive a renewable two-year work permit.

Read more: President Announces Administrative Relief for Immigrant Youth Eligible for DREAM Act

Labor, Faith and Human Rights leaders join immigrants pledge resistance to the insecurity raised by new enforcement program

speakersMay 10, 2012 BOSTON"Any decent detective will tell you that this is the antithesis of what we need," said retired New Jersey police detective Robert Cole today at a press conference denouncing the implementation of "Secure Communties," an immigration enforcement program that automatically shares the fingerprints of anyone arrested with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Board Chair of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, Mr. Cole noted that a  major impediment to effective crime fighting is lack of community trust, and Secure Communities shatters that trust, bringing immigration enforcement directly into regular local police practices.

Other speakers, including Cristina Aguilera, Campaign Organizer at the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, who criticized "S-Comm" for ensnaring hardworking mothers and fathers in deportation proceedings. "Nationwide, half of those deported through 'Secure Communities' have not been accused of serious crimes," Ms. Aguilera said, "And in Boston, almost half of those deported have no criminal conviction whatsoever — 49%."

Read more: "S-Comm" Should Be Ended, Not Extended Say Diverse Voices at Press Conference