News from MIRA
Report Calls for Concerted Action at Federal, State Levels
June 2, 2014 WASHINGTON — Immigrant parents in Massachusetts and elsewhere confront significant barriers as they try to engage with their children’s educational programs during the developmentally critical early years, with many facing greatly restricted access due to the lack of robust translation and interpretation services and their own limited functional literacy, a new report from the Migration Policy Institute’s National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy finds. The difficulties that many early childhood education and care programs experience engaging with these immigrant parents have been further exacerbated as funding for adult basic education and English instruction is greatly outpaced by the need.
The following is a media statement from FIRM, the Fair Immigration Reform Movement, a national organization uniting over 30 national, state and local immigrants' rights groups. As part of the FIRM Executive Committee, MIRA reiterates FIRM"s objection to the Obama administration's decision to delay its review of immigration enforcement policies. As stated below, the human cost is just too high to support such a delay, whatever its purported political advantages.— MIRA
May 28, 2014 (WASHINGTON)--The Fair Immigration Reform Movement, (FIRM) the nation’s largest immigrant-rights coalition, released the following statement on behalf of FIRM spokesperson Kica Matos after news that President Obama asked DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson to postpone any changes to immigration practices until August:
“A broad majority of the American public, voters, and civic groups have long been clear about our demands: Our country needs immigration reform and a stop to family separation immediately. While a delay in executive action to fix the broken immigration system may not mean much to the White House and House Republicans, in our communities it means that brave workers, parents and children go about their lives with the prospect of losing a loved one every single day – that should be a bigger priority than the Congressional calendar. Every day there is delay means 1100 additional deportations. The legacy that President Obama has created is a devastating one, rife with family separation and the destruction of our communities.
The following is a reprint with permission of an Executive Office of Health and Human Services press release. Press inquiries may also be directed to: Julie Kaviar [HHS] – 617- 573-1610 | or Marcony Almeida-Barros [ORI] – 617-988-3451
Obama Administration grant will help Massachusetts provide training and other services to more than 5,000 refugees and immigrants
May 22, 2014 Lynn— Health and Human Services Secretary John Polanowicz today announced that the Massachusetts Office for Refugees and Immigrants (ORI) has been awarded a grant to enhance vocational, educational, and citizenship assistance to refugees and immigrants across the Commonwealth. The nearly $400,000 grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) will place 90 AmeriCorps members across Massachusetts who will provide training and support to over 5,000 refugees and immigrants over the next three years.
“We thank the Obama Administration for its continued support and recognition of our Commonwealth’s commitment to immigrants and refugees,” said HHS Secretary Polanowicz. “Under Governor Patrick’s leadership, Massachusetts has long supported expanding growth and opportunity for all residents of the Commonwealth, and this partnership with AmeriCorps has been a critical component of fulfilling that mission.”
Task force seeks to accelerate the contributions of thousands of foreign-trained immigrant and refugee healthcare professionals in Massachusetts
BOSTON, May 21, 2014 — On Monday morning, three state offices came together with over a dozen major stakeholders in the Massachusetts healthcare profession to begin a discussion like no other in the nation — how to systematically address the career and professional barriers facing immigrant and refugee healthcare professionals across the state. The Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS), the Office for Refugees and Immigrants (ORI), and the Office of Access and Opportunities (OAO) met with the other stakeholders at EOHHS in a two-hour session that marks the first step in developing a comprehensive policy agenda to be presented early this fall to Governor Patrick, the first such study undertaken by any state government.
Advocates vow to continue raising support for bill to get all MA drivers tested, licensed, and insured
May 16, 2014 BOSTON — Late yesterday the Joint Committee on Transportation extended its consideration of the Safe Driving Bill, a measure that would allow all otherwise qualified Massachusetts residents to earn a driver's license, regardless of their immigration status. Originally, yesterday had been set as a deadline to either report on the bill favorably, in which case it could have continued through the legislative process, or to end its hopes this legislative session by either reporting unfavorably or sending the bill "to study." The May 15 deadline itself was an extension from an original March 19 deadline, when all state legislative committees made decisions on the bills that had come before them that session.
News of the Committee's second extension was greeted by advocates with measured optimism.
"On the whole, this second extension is a victory," said Gabriel Camacho, Regional Organizer with the American Friends Service Committee. "It shows that all our calls and advocacy have been making a difference with undecided committee members. Our task now is to keep our message loud and clear, and demonstrate how this bill would increase the safety of all residents of the Commonwealth."