News from MIRA
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.”
At Our Shared Table, a moment to give thanks – and a call to action
Hundreds of immigrants, refugees, advocates and public officials gathered for ‘one of the best things done at the State House’ – a Thanksgiving meal together.
BOSTON, November 21, 2017 – “I stand before you as a child of immigrants,” Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry said as she welcomed guests to Our Shared Table, MIRA’s 13th annual Thanksgiving luncheon at the State House, on Tuesday.
Like so many in the room, her parents came looking for a better life and new opportunities. They came from Haiti, but one of the great things about this country is that it doesn’t matter where you come from, she said. “When we come to these shores, we are all Americans.”
MIRA hosts Our Shared Table as a way to bring together immigrants and refugees – including newly sworn-in U.S. citizens – with public officials and advocates, providing a warm and friendly setting to get to know one another, share stories and find common ground.
“It’s one of the best things done at the State House,” said, Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez, chairman of the Joint Committee on Ways and Means. “Let’s be real: We’ve got to talk, and if we want to talk, we’ve got to get together like this.”
Coalition celebrates a victory for students across Massachusetts
The LOOK bill will enable schools to tailor programs to the diverse needs of English learners, and will encourage kids to fully master two languages, a huge asset in a global economy.
BOSTON, November 15, 2017 – The Massachusetts Legislature tonight approved the Language Opportunity for Our Kids (LOOK) bill, greatly expanding options for English learners in the Commonwealth’s public schools and creating a new Seal of Biliteracy that will help students compete in the global economy.
English learners are the fastest-growing population in Massachusetts schools, doubling since 2000 to more than 90,000 students, or about 9.5% of total enrollment. Some are immigrants, but 82% of them are U.S. citizens, and they live throughout the state: 90% of school districts have at least one English learner.
We must all stand together to save TPS for Haitians and Central Americans
Update, November 9, 2017: This article was written before we obtained TPS enrollment data, national and state-specific, from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The official data show much higher TPS numbers than previously reported, including 86,163 nationwide for Hondurans (834 in Mass.) and 5,349 for Nicaraguans (17 in Mass.). For a detailed outline, see our 2-page factsheet.
BOSTON, November 7, 2017 – Yesterday, Elaine Duke, Acting U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, announced her decision to terminate the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for Nicaragua, effective January 5, 2019, and postponed a decision on TPS for Honduras, triggering an automatic six-month extension.
MIRA Executive Director Eva A. Millona issued the following statement in response:
“We are deeply disappointed by Secretary Duke’s decision to end TPS for Nicaraguans. Although this is a small population, just over 2,500 people, the affected families are well established in the U.S., with homes, jobs and businesses, and children born and raised entirely in the U.S. Forcing them to return to Nicaragua, a very poor country that was hit hard by Tropical Storm Nate, will cause needless suffering in our communities.
A victory in Salem for common-sense police practices
BOSTON, November 8, 2017 – Yesterday, citizens in Salem approved Question 1 by a 6,756 to 5,030 vote, upholding the city’s “Sanctuary for Peace,” which codified existing city and Police Department policies that protect the rights of all Salem residents, regardless of immigration status.
This is excellent news for Salem and for all of us in Massachusetts who believe that everyone should feel safe and welcome in their community. The ordinance upheld by voters today embodies good common-sense police practices. We need everyone to feel safe calling 911 and interacting with the police, without fear that they’ll be turned over for deportation.
Today’s vote is a testament to the strong values of Salem residents and the vast majority of people in our Commonwealth. We welcome immigrants here, and are not easily swayed by the forces of bigotry and xenophobia.
At the same time, the fact that Question 1 even made it onto the ballot highlights the need for statewide legislation like the Safe Communities Act. Civil rights and public safety shouldn’t have to depend in a small local referendum. They should be the law of the land.