News from MIRA
Governor Patrick's Decides Not to Sign Onto "Secure Communities"
6/6/11, BOSTON â€” Governor Deval Patrick announced that he would not sign the Memorandum of Agreement entering the Commonwealth into the "Secure Communities" immigration enforcement program. The Governor's decision demonstrates the growing tide of resistance to this controversial federal program, which sends the fingerprints of anyone arrested by local police through an Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) database, allowing ICE to flag matches for deportation.
The program's intention is to deport dangerous criminals. But ICE's own statistics have shown a preponderance of low level and non-criminal offenders ensnared and deported by "Secure Communities," which the federal government wants to institute at every police force in the nation by 2013. Governor Patrick's decision not to participate makes him the third governor to reject the program, which has come under internal investigation by Homeland Security's Inspector General for its over-extended reach.
The Governor, human rights groups, faith-based organizations, immigration advocates, the editorial boards of major newspapers, and advocates for domestic violence victims have all objected to "Secure Communities" for endangering the bond of trust between local law enforcement and immigrant communities, among numerous other flaws.
Press invited to attend MIRA's yearly fundraiser with legislators, business supporters and non-profit leaders
BOSTON -- Tomorrow night, on Thursday, June 2, leaders in the immigrant community and their allies will gather at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel, in Copley Plaza, for "Give Liberty a Hand," the annual fundraiser for the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA). The event will honor those who have improved the lives of immigrants and who serve as exemplary New Americans.
"We take this night to pay a warm and celebratory tribute to the incredible diversity and remarkable achievements of the foreign-born in Massachusetts," said Eva Millona, Executive Director of MIRA. "This year our theme is 'Unity in Diversity,' which highlights the importance of integration to the immigrant experience, emphasizes the common interests of our many foreign-born communities, and also stresses the unity that we are building with minority communities across the Commonwealth and beyond."
Advocates organize calls against ten amendments; Senate to vote by Thursday
BOSTON â€” By tomorrow evening the State Senate is scheduled to vote on a series of ten amendments that target immigrants. The measures range from creating a 24-hour hotline at the Attorney General's office to report "suspected" undocumented immigrants, to mandating the use of E-Verify, to making in illegal to offer in-state tuition to undocumented students, even if they attended Massachusetts grade and high schools their entire lives.
"Once again, a small subset of Senators has hijacked the budget process to push their fear-mongering agenda, trying to earn political points by attacking some of the most powerless members of society -- hardworking immigrants," says Marcony Almeida, Director of Organizing at the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition. "Today and tomorrow we are asking our members across Massachusetts to call their representative to stop these wasteful and hateful amendments and keep the budget process focused on the budget."
4/28/11 BOSTON -- Late last night state representatives voted to restore funding for a program providing healthcare coverage for legal immigrants. The program, known as CommonwealthCare Bridge, was stripped of funds by the initial House budget, but Wednesday's vote of 150-4 approved $25 million from the beginning of the fiscal year through December, after which the legislature will reassess the program's needs.
4/28/11, CHELSEA, MA â€” On April 28 at 6:00 PM at Chelsea High School, the Patrick Administration will hold the only Boston-area meeting to discuss the implementation of the harmful immigration enforcement program Secure Communities (S-Comm). This program, which is not mandated by any law, would send the fingerprints of anyone arrested by local law enforcement to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Though the program has been piloted secretly in the City of Boston since 2006, Governor Patrick has indicated that he will not enter into a Memorandum of Agreement with the federal government on S-Comm for statewide implementation until he has concluded a series of community meetings across Massachusetts, of which Chelsea is the fifth. At each of these, immigrants and their advocates have strongly opposed the program on numerous grounds.