News from MIRA

2/28/12 BOSTON — At 1PM on February 28, the Joint Committee on the Judiciary will hold a hearing on Senate Bill 2061 and its counterpart House Bill 3913. The bill, titled “An Act to Enhance Community Safety” has been widely condemned by advocates, including faith-based organizations, poverty law attorneys, and health care providers, as not only anti-immigrant, but actually detrimental to public safety.

The bill was introduced last fall in the legislature as a political response to media uproar over the tragic death of a U.S. citizen by a drunk driver who happened to be undocumented. Instead of tackling the problems of alcohol abuse and driving under the influence, the bill imposes punitive measures on immigrant communities by focusing on matters related to federal immigration law.  These measures would send painful reverberations through immigrant, mixed status and non-immigrant households alike by damaging community-police relations and our economy.

Read more: Advocates Gather to Testify Against Sweeping Anti-Immigrant Bill SB2061

Budget proposal hailed as fiscally sound and equitable for all

1/25/12 BOSTON —Today Governor Deval Patrick proposed enough funds in his fiscal 2013 budget to fully restore immigrants into the Commonwealth Care health insurance program. The governor's budget would fully abide by the recent Supreme Judicial Court decision, which called the state's ' exclusion of legal immigrants from the healthcare program in 2009 an unconstitutional act of discrimination.

Read more: Immigrant Advocates Applaud Governor's Sensible Healthcare Appropriation

WHAT: Press Conference Announcing Agreement with Temp Agency EDA to Uplift Job Standards for Workers.  Leaders will also discuss other local efforts to hold more Temp Agencies accountable and their efforts on the REAL Campaign, a statewide campaign fighting to pass legislation that would expand the rights of Temporary Workers.

WHEN: January 19th (Thursday) at 11a.m.

WHERE: New Bedford Worker Center- 35 Delano Street, New Bedford

WHO: Dozens of Workers, community and union leaders and the REAL Coalition (a statewide coalition fighting for legislation that expands rights for temp workers in MA)

Decision hailed as humane solution to Immigration Catch-22; experts call for extension of changes to all petitioners

1/6/12 BOSTON —Today, the Obama Administration announced an immigration regulatory change that will positively affect thousands of families with U.S. Citizen members. Under the current process, U.S. Citizens who petition for the "green cards" of their undocumented immigrant spouses or children often find their families placed into a Kafkaesque situation. In order to get their green cards, their spouses or children must return to their native countries, but once they leave the U.S., they are barred from returning for three or (more often) ten years. They can apply for a hardship exemption waiver of the three or ten year bar while in their home country, through a process at a U.S. consulate, but this process often takes months or years, during which time they are separated from their families and often face dangerous, even life-threatening, situations. As a result, many people who are otherwise eligible for a family-based petition fail to apply and continue to live in the shadows, on the periphery of our society.

Read more:  Immigration Rule Change Will Help Thousands of American Families 

Advocates expect full restoration of health care coverage for thousands

1/5/2012 BOSTON --Today, in a unanimous decision, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that  the constitutional rights of tens of thousands of legal immigrants were violated when the state stripped them of their health care coverage in 2009. These immigrants were cut from the state's universal healthcare program, Commonwealth Care, during the budget crisis that resulted from the economic crash of 2008. The court's decision today furthered a previous ruling that financial considerations are not a justification for such discrimination.

Read more: Mass Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Legal Immigrants in Health Care Case