News from MIRA
Coakley, Falchuk and McCormick agree on many controversial policies, differ in views of role of government and the political establishment
October 16, 2014 BOSTON —An energetic crowd packed an auditorium at Bunker Hill Tuesday
night for the non-partisan Gubernatorial Candidates Forum on Immigration, Justice andEquality. The event marked the second gubernatorial-candidate gathering at Bunker Hill sponsored by a group of non-profits and higher education institutions: The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, Bunker Hill Community College, the Elma Lewis Center at Emerson College, MassVOTE, the Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers, and the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition. The audience reflected the diversity of the sponsors, with a wide range of ages and ethnicities represented, including students, families, union members, local leaders, and representatives of Massachusetts’ diverse immigrant communities (Spanish and American Sign Language interpretation were also provided).
In partnership with Greater Boston Legal Services, will provide technical assistance for 12 AmeriCorps attorneys and three paralegals at legal service organizations statewide
BOSTON, September 25, 2014 – On September 12, at the 20th anniversary celebration of the AmeriCorps network, President Obama announced the launch of “justice AmeriCorps,” a new public service program that will provide legal services to unaccompanied children in immigration courts across the country.
This week, the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA) was informed that it has received a $298,350 grant to create and implement that program in Massachusetts.
Working in partnership with the Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS), which will provide technical assistance, MIRA will recruit, train and place 12 AmeriCorps attorneys and three AmeriCorps paralegals at legal service organizations across the state, to provide legal assistance to unaccompanied children under the age of 16 who will appear before the Boston immigration court in Fiscal Year 2015.
Press conference underscores trauma caused by White House delay and urges calls to President, pressure from Congressional delegation, and voter engagement
September 24, 2014 BOSTON - A few days after Independence Day, a Mexican immigrant and father of three named Jose left his East Boston apartment to get one of his daughter's bag from the family car. He hasn't been able to return home since.
Jose has lived in this country for 17 years, is a foreman in his trade union, and volunteers with religious organizations. None of that mattered when he was stopped outside his apartment and asked for ID by agents for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) who happened to be looking for a neighbor. Jose could only produce an old Mexican passport, and as his three daughters watched through the apartment window, protesting and crying, Jose was detained. (The children have since had to undergo therapy for the trauma).
MIRA joins Mayor Walsh at City Hall ceremony to swear in 27 New Americans from 19 countries on Constitution and Citizenship Day
September 17, 2014 BOSTON — "I'll just share one story," said Boston Mayor Marty Walsh this
morning to a group of immigrants who had just taken the oath of citizenship. "When I was beginning to enter politics, my mother had been hanging on to her green card for years and years, and she said, 'I guess I'll have to become a citizen now to vote for you one day.'"
The story drew a long laugh from the packed audience in the Eagle Room in the Mayor's Office at City Hall, which included city and federal officials, immigrant advocates, TV camera crews, and 27 naturalized Americans from 19 different countries, ranging from Aruba to New Zealand. But the story also neatly summarized the proud mood and profound message of the day - citizenship intertwines great benefits and great responsibilities Or, as Boston Health and Human Services Chief Felix Arroyo said in the ceremony's keynote remarks: "The process you went through, while arduous, is not the end but the beginning...One of your responsibilities now is to participate in our democracy."
MIRA: President Obama's decision to delay executive action breaks promise and hurts America
September 6, 2014 BOSTON — Immigrant advocates in Massachusetts today joined a chorus of voices from across the nation criticizing President Obama for his decision to delay taking executive action on immigration until after the midterm elections. On June 30, the President had promised to take executive action to overhaul the immigration system by the end of the summer if Congress did not act on immigration reform by then. But today, an unnamed administration spokesperson quoted in the New York Times blamed "Republicans’ extreme politicization of this issue" for the decision to delay action until after November. The Times and other news sources reported the decision was taken to alleviate the fears of Democratic Senate candidates about the political ramifications of action now.