News from MIRA

Advocates Vow to Come Back Stronger Next Session

Community disappointed but undefeated by Committee's failure to pass a bill that would allow all drivers to become trained, licensed and insured

June 23, 2014 BOSTON — The Joint Committee on Transportation voted today to send to study the Safe Driving Bill, H. 3285. Members of the Safe Driving Coalition reacted to the news with disappointment but without discouragement, vowing to revive a bill that would remove immigration status as a barrier to getting a Massachusetts driver's license, thereby helping to ensure that all drivers on the road are trained, licensed and ensured.

Read more: Safe Driving Bill Sent to Study

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.

Read more: Migration Policy Institute Study Maps Major Barriers in Crucial Early Childhood Education Arena...

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.

Read more: President Obama, House Republicans Have Moral Responsibility to Stop Family Separation

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,ORI_photo_article 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.”

Read more: Patrick Administration Announces Grant to Enhance Citizenship, Job Training and Educational...

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.

Read more: Nation's First State Task Force Addressing the Barriers Facing Foreign-Born Healthcare...