News from MIRA
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.
Amid a global crisis, U.S. refugee program is ‘decimated’
U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey joined a roundtable discussion organized by MIRA with refugee resettlement agencies, legal experts and advocates to assess the impact of the travel and refugee bans.
BOSTON – On January 27, 2017, President Trump barred citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries – and all refugees – from entering the U.S., with the stated goal to “protect the American people from terrorist attacks.” Thousands of protesters took to the streets and filled airports, including Boston Logan, to show solidarity and provide legal assistance to detained travelers.
A year later, where do we stand? And how do we move forward?
Aiming to answer those questions, MIRA brought together legal experts, refugee resettlement agencies, advocates and public officials on February 5 at the state Office for Refugees and Immigrants (ORI), as part of a week of action to launch the nationwide We Are All America campaign.
Congress must act to right the wrongs of TPS termination
BOSTON, January 8, 2018 – Today the Trump administration announced that it is ending Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Salvadorans. Effective Sept. 9, 2019, about 200,000 people who have been living and working legally in the U.S. for almost two decades, who have American families, homes and businesses, will be subject to deportation.
MIRA, the largest coalition advocating for foreign-born people in New England, strongly condemns this decision.
“This is the fourth TPS termination in just four months,” said Executive Director Eva A. Millona. “Given the dire conditions in El Salvador, which the U.S. State Department has warned Americans not to travel to, it is clear that nothing – not natural disasters, not hunger, not rampant violence – is seen as a valid justification anymore for protected status. Our government is perfectly comfortable sending longstanding, law-abiding residents into life-threatening conditions, and their U.S. citizen children as well.”
Time to ‘turn up the heat’ to pass the DREAM Act
MIRA joined U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey and several Dreamers in a call for urgent action in Congress to enable DACA recipients to stay legally in the U.S.
BOSTON, January 3, 2018 – Estefany attended one of Boston’s best high schools and earned good grades, but even with DACA, she didn’t qualify for most forms of financial aid and had to struggle to find her way into college. With an Unafraid Scholarship and a second grant, she was able to enroll in UMass Boston, planning to major in international relations.
On her first day of college, President Trump ended DACA.
“That crushed my heart,” she said.
Her status expires at the end of next semester. She can still study after that – but will she ever be able to pursue the career she’s working so hard for?
With U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey at her side, Estefany urged Congress to act now to pass the DREAM Act. “We need to pass something,” she said. “It’s not something you can do in a year, because in a year, I don’t know where I’m going to be, and all my hard work is going into the trash.”
“Do something. It’s urgent.”