News from MIRA
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."
Safe Driving Bill would help ensure all Massahcusetts drivers are tested, licensed and insured
May 5, 2014 BOSTON — On Saturday, May 3, South Coast residents gathered at the Mattapoisett Friends Meeting House to discuss the Safe Driving Bill, a bill that would remove immigration status as barrier to becoming a tested, licensed and insured Massachusetts driver, thereby improving road safety for all Massachusetts residents.
In separate recent online polls conducted by Fox News and by Boston Herald columnist Michael Graham, the bill was favored by at least 70% of voters, and at the Safe Driving Bill hearing before the Joint Committee on Transportation on March 5, testimonies in favor of the bill ran from the Patrick Administration to doctors to numerou
s longtime Massachusetts residents, who together outnumbered the smattering of opponents by the hundreds.
The bill follows in the wake of eight states that have recently passed similar legislation, including Vermont and Connecticut. States with Safe Driving laws have shown decreases in both unlicensed drivers and fatal accidents, and immigrant advocates and safety experts alike point to numerous other reasons for the legislation's widespread support.
First U.S. runner to win since 1983 brings city, nation and world together at Patriot's Day event
April 22, 2014 BOSTON — Cheers could be heard sweeping through the pack of runners at the Boston Marathon, as news spread that the first person to cross the finish line was Meb Kefleziighi, the first U.S. runner to win the race since 1983. The news also struck a chord of pride among local immigrant advocates, who noted that the 38-year-old Keflezhighi is also an American by choice, having taken the oath of citizenship at age 22, a decade after he arrived in San Diego with his family from their native Eritrea. Over 18 million Americans have also completed their own immigrant journeys by taking the same oath, and Keflezhigi raised their profile the moment he decided to run the Boston Marathon a year ago, when he was an observer of the tragedy near the finish line.
Government, academic and non-profit experts at invited to partner with Task Force
April 28, 2014 BOSTON — "My job is to be a good closer and just bring the game home," said Ron Marlow, Assistant Secretary of the Massachusetts Office of Access and Opportunities, as he began his closing remarks on Friday at a symposium on immigrant professionals organized by the MIRA Coalition and partners. Of course, baseball analogies in April sprout as fast and wide as dandelions, but the Assistant Secretary covered multiple bases with his pitch at this wide-ranging and energized gathering at The Boston Foundation.
Marlow's baseball analogy applied not only to the symposium's impressive array of demographic analysis, practical lessons and personal testimonials, but also to the Patrick Administration's long-standing commitment to better integrate immigrants and refugees into the fabric of the Commonwealth. As the administration winds down its game in the next few months, Marlow announced, one of the team's closing projects would be a task force "that will produce a set of recommendations to serve high-skilled immigrants" in the critical health care and life sciences sectors. Set to be co-chaired by Marlow and symposium participant Josiane Martinez, Executive Director of the Office of Refugees and Immigrants, the task force will seek "to compile information produced by [the symposium's] hard-working individuals," with the goal of providing "a blueprint for action" for the next governor to better utilize immigrant professionals' skills and talents.
April 10, 2014 BOSTON — MIRA is proud to announce that Executive Director Eva Millona, in her capacity as co-chair of the National Partnership for New Americans, will participate in a new, ground-breaking initiative, Networks for Integrating New Americans, which aims to advance immigrants’ economic and civic integration in five U.S. communities and beyond.
Funded by Office of Technical, Career and Adult Education (OCTAE) at the U.S Department of Education, this initiative will refine and document collaborative program models for helping immigrants to achieve their dreams.