News from MIRA
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.
July 11, 2013 BOSTON — In a meeting on Capitol Hill yesterday, House Republicans decided to reject the Senate's historic bipartisan agreement on immigration reform and to only pursue piecemeal legislation gradually, with an emphasis on border security first. Immigrant advocates across New England reacted strongly against the decision, noting that the reform bill passed the Senate with unprecedented bipartisan support, that every major poll has shown the American people favor a strong and interconnected bill to deal with the current broken system, and that all impartial studies show that the nation and economy would benefit from a broad plan that affords 11 million immigrants the chance to contribute fully to American society through citizenship.
Speakers will celebrate campaign to raise naturalization rates in cities like Brockton.
June 13, 2013 BROCKTON — Early on a afternoon last September, upwards of 500 area residents swarmed to a citizenship clinic offered in downtown Brockton by the Greater Boston Citizenship Initiative (GBCI), Community Connections of Brockton, and the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA).
GBCI works across the state with groups like MIRA and Community Connections of Brockton to help eligible immigrants apply for U.S. citizenship. The turnout was by far the largest the two-year-old organization has yet seen, suggesting the tremendous desire for integration assistance in this Massachusetts Gateway City, where upwards of one in four residents is foreign-born.
Top leaders in government, philanthropy, city planning, and business honored at MIRA gala for their vision and leadership on immigrant integration
May 24, 2013 BOSTON – At 6 p.m. on Wednesday, June 5 at the Fairmont Copley Plaza, the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA) will honor four extraordinary leaders for their contributions to the success of immigrants in Massachusetts: Boston Foundation President and CEO Paul Grogan, Eastern Bank President Robert Rivers, BRA Planning Director Kairos Shen, and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick.
In different ways, each has played a remarkable role in shaping policies and programs that have made immigrants in Massachusetts so economically and culturally successful. The four leaders will be honored as the U.S. Senate takes up a broad immigration reform bill that represents the best chance in a quarter century to fairly and thoroughly rebuild the nation's immigration system.
June 13, 2013 BOSTON — During a weekend when fathers are reuniting with their families across the nation, immigration reform advocates will gather tomorrow afternoon in front of the Suffolk County House of Corrections in Boston to demand that Congress and the Obama administration stop separating immigrant fathers from their wives and children.
“The father of our child and provider for our family was taken from us in February, after being stopped by a Massachusetts State Trooper for no apparent reason other than the color of his skin,” said Norma Velazquez, of Fitchburg. “I will be standing in front of the building where he is detained to ask the government to stop this cruel destruction of my family, and of thousands of families like mine across Massachusetts.”
The Suffolk County House of Corrections typically houses around 250 immigrant detainees every day, none of whom are serving criminal sentences, in a holding facility that also houses convicted criminals. The U.S. government pays about $90 a day for each detainee, many of whom spend months or even years waiting for the final adjudication of their cases, with no access to court appointed attorneys or other basic rights enjoyed by inmates serving criminal sentences.
Last year, over 5,000 immigrants were deported from New England — a figure that has climbed steadily since 2006 — a large portion of them processed through the Suffolk County House of Corrections.These figures form a small part of a national deportation network in which1,500 fathers, mothers, children and friends are taken away and locked-up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) everyday.