News from MIRA

Award ceremonies include dinner with Congressman Luis GutierrezIMG_2495

Dec. 4, 2013 WASHINGTON – The Migration Policy Institute (MPI) announced today that the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA)

is receiving one of four 2013 E Pluribus Unum Prizes, given this year to four organizations from across the nation for exceptional immigrant integration initiatives.The national award honors MIRA’s New Americans Integration Institute for its work to help newcomers contribute more fully to the economic, civic and social fabric of the United States.                                      

Read more: MIRA Earns Award for Immigrant Integration Initiatives

"Tuition Equity Bill" would equalize in-state tuition rates for all graduates of Massachusetts high-schools

DSC_0998-001Dec. 11, 2013 BOSTON — "I don't know what to do with you," a local high school guidance counselor told Natalia Berthet, as they were meeting some years ago to discuss her future . Coming from a guidance counselor, it was another way of telling Berthet she could see no future at all.

That is why the 25-year-old Leominster resident shared her story yesterday with the Joint Committee on Higher Education, as they met to hear public testimony on Tuition Equity Legislation introduced in the legislature by Senators Chang-Diaz and Forry and Representative Provost. For almost two hours, the joint committee attentively listened to a wide range of testimony in support of the bills from State Legislators, Heads of Administration, attorneys, business and community organizations, secondary and post-secondary educators, and young immigrants like Berthet, many of who donned black graduation caps throughout the crowded hearing room.

Read more: State-House Hearing Provides Strong Support for In-State Tuition Bill


Supporters laud opportunity to ensure that all Massachusetts drivers are licensed and insured

September 5, 2013 BOSTON — The Joint Transportation Committee of the State Legislature has scheduled a public hearing on Tuesday, September 10 for the Safe Driving Bill, a bill which would  allow state residents to apply for a learner's permit or driver's license regardless of their immigration status, thereby improving the lives of thousands of immigrants and increasing the safety of our state roadways for everyone.

Across the nation, legislation of this type has gained momentum, with supporters including  road safety experts, police chiefs, business associations, labor unions, health care providers, immigrant rights advocates, and others. On Tuesday, a broad coalition will appear at the State House to urge the Committee to endorse the bill and ensure that all drivers in Massachusetts are tested, licensed and insured. Earlier this summer, neighboring states Vermont and Connecticut passed similar bills, as have Oregon, Colorado, Maryland and Illinois over the past year.


Read more: PRESS ADVISORY: Broad Coalition Set to Testify in Favor of Safe-Driving Bill at State House on...

MIRA joins groups around nation calling for an end to concessions

June 25, 2013 BOSTON — In a successful bid to win broader  Republican support for the immigration reform bill, the Senate voted last night to adopt the Corker-Hoeven border-enforcement amendment, thereby agreeing to double allocations for border agents and raising spending by almost 70 percent. The 67 to 27 vote raised the probability that that the bill will not be filibustered, but the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA) joined with immigrant rights organizations from across the country to decry the amendment's wasteful spending and dangerous threat to border residents' civil rights.

Read more: Senate Adopts Wasteful Border Enforcement Amendment to Immigration Reform Bill 

Passage of Senate immigration reform bill and end to same-sex discrimination demonstrate movement's powerful momentum

June 27, 2013 BOSTON — The Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA), the largest organization representing the rights of the foreign-born in New England, commends the U.S. government for a week of major advances on the equal treatment of all residents of the United States. Today, the U.S. Senate passed S. 744, the "Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013," the broadest and most comprehensive reform of the immigration system in over a quarter century. The bill establishes a pathway to legalization for millions of men, women and children living in the shadows, and restructures the current immigration system so that the nation will more readily respond to the needs of our economy and of those wanting to emigrate to the Unites States. This comes the day after the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), thereby allowing federal recognition of legally sanctioned same-sex marriages in Massachusetts and other states. The Obama Administration acknowledged that the Supreme Court ruling would allow the federal government to treat the petitions of same-sex married couples just like those of opposite-sex couples.

Read more: MIRA Applauds Major Progress on Immigrant Rights