Community Resources

One of MIRA’s most important functions is to serve as a hub for reliable, up-to-date information on immigrants and refugees in Massachusetts and all the services and resources you may need.

This section has three key types of material: facts and figures; key aspects of immigration law and immigrants’ rights; and links to information and contacts for citizenshipEnglish language and adult educationhealth and human services; and refugee assistance.

We have additional resources on entrepreneurship, workforce development, access to education, and foreign-trained professionals in the Integration Institute section.

We do our best to keep these up to date. If you find any outdated materials or broken links, or you any questions, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.!

MA immigrants region of originWhere immigrants in Mass. come from. Data from MPI.

Facts about immigrants & refugees

Scores of reports and factsheets about immigrants are published every year, mainly at the national level, but also some at the state and local levels. This page highlights key resources that we find particularly useful and cite in our own work; in the future, we expect to present a collection of MIRA-produced factsheets as well.

If you have any comments or would like to suggest an additional resource to include here, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Download MIRA’s factsheet, Immigrants are our Commonwealth (April 2018)

NEW factsheet: Immigrants in the Massachusetts Economy (August 2018)

See Reason magazine’s visual primer, What part of legal immigration don’t you understand? (2008)

Read more: Facts about immigrants & refugees

REAL ID and Mass. driver’s licenses: March 2018 update

REAL IDIn 2016 Massachusetts passed legislation to implement REAL ID, a federal standard adopted by Congress in 2005. Under the new law, state residents will have two options for their driver’s license or ID card: a REAL ID-compliant one, or a standard Massachusetts state license. The new system is effective on March 26, 2018. 

If you already have a valid, unexpired Mass. driver’s license or ID on March 26, it will still be valid until its expiration date.

The changes affect everyone, but are particularly important for non-citizens to understand. 

Key differences between a REAL ID and a standard license:

  • The REAL ID licenses will be marked “valid for federal identification purposes” with a gold star in the upper right-hand corner.
  • If you want a REAL ID license or ID, you must apply in person, whereas five-year standard licenses can be renewed completely online in most cases.
  • Starting in October 2020, only licenses/IDs that are REAL ID-compliant will be accepted as identification at airport security checkpoints. You will NOT be able to board an airplane using a standard Mass. license or ID.
  • You will still be able to use a valid passport (from any country), an EAD card, a permanent resident card (green card), or any of the other documents listed to board flights or as ID to enter a federal building.
  • Until October 2020, your standard license or ID can still be used to board an airplane; in federal buildings where ID is required, you already need REAL ID or one of the other federally accepted documents listed above.

Read more: REAL ID and Mass. driver’s licenses: March 2018 update

Emergency plans for families

Parents whose immigration status is uncertain are encouraged to make emergency plans for the care and custody of their children in the event of a sudden detention by immigration officials and possible deportation. There are several different legal options, and the right choice for each family will depend on the specific circumstances. For example, it matters whether you have relatives with legal status who can help you, and where they live. You’ll also want to consider your child’s needs (e.g. medical concerns).

To explore your options, MIRA recommends that you review guides prepared by the Mass. Attorney General’s office (available in English, Spanish, Haitian Creole and Portuguese) and the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute (in English, with helpful forms to fill out).

If your children might need to move abroad in the event of a deportation in the family, make sure they have a passport! They may be eligible for a U.S. passport, but also consider getting them a passport from your country of birth; the Mexican and Salvadoran consulates, for example, have actively encouraged their citizens to do this. Here is a list of consulates in Boston.

 

Fin de DACA: Información crítica para los ‘Soñadores’

La administración Trump ha anunciado la eliminación gradual del programa Acción Diferida para los Llegados en la Infancia (DACA). Para los casi 8.000 residentes de Massachusetts que han transformado su vida a través de DACA, esa noticia ha causado gran consternación. En MIRA, estamos comprometidos a hacer todo lo posible para ayudar a los beneficiarios de DACA durante esta crisis.

Esto es lo más importante que tiene que saber. También lo puede descargar como PDF:

Read more: Fin de DACA: Información crítica para los ‘Soñadores’

Legal services

The following organizations can provide immigration legal services through attorneys or BIA-accredited representatives:

Greater Boston Area

Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD)/
Fenway Neighborhood Service Center
714 Parker Street
Roxbury, MA 02120
Ph: (617) 445-6000

Agencia Alpha
62 Northampton Street, #203
Boston, MA 02118
Ph: (617) 541-4455, x16

Catholic Charities Refugee and Immigrant Services
275 West Broadway
South Boston, MA 02127
Ph: (617) 464-8100
Call Monday at 9:00am to leave voicemail to schedule appointment

Centro Presente
12 Bennington Street, Suite 202
East Boston, MA 02145
Ph: (857) 256-2981

Community Legal Services and Counseling Center
47 Thorndike Street, Suite SB-LL-1
Cambridge, MA 02141
Ph: (617) 661-1010

East Boston Ecumenical Community Council
50 Meridian Street, Suite B1 
East Boston, MA 02128
Ph: (617) 567-2750

Greater Boston Legal Services (Immigration Unit)
197 Friend Street
Boston, MA 02114
Ph: (617) 371-1234/ 800-323-3205

60 Gore Street, Suite 203
Cambridge, MA 02141
Ph: (617) 603-2700 / TTD 617-494-1757

HarborCOV
148 Shawmut Street
Chelsea, MA 02150
Ph: (617) 884-9799
* only for domestic abuse survivors

Irish International Immigrant Center
One State Street, Suite 800
Boston, MA 02109
Ph: (617) 542-7654

Justice Bridge Legal Center
UMASS School of Law, Boston Office
67 Batterymarch Street, Lower Level
Boston, MA 02110
Ph: (617) 860-3414

Kids in Need of Defense (KIND)
c/o Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP
155 Seaport Boulevard, 5th Floor
Boston, MA 02210 / (617) 207-4138
* only for unaccompanied minors

Mayor's Office for Immigrant Advancement
1 City Hall Square, Room 806
Boston, MA 02201-2030
12-2pm on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month
Ph: (617) 635-4500

Political Asylum/Immigration Representation (PAIR) Project
98 North Washington Street, Suite 106
Boston, MA 02114
Ph: (617) 742- 9296

Project Citizenship
4 Faneuil South Market Building
Suite 4025
Boston, MA 02109
Ph: (617) 694-5949

Victim Rights Law Center
115 Broad Street, 3rd Floor
Boston, MA 02110
Ph: (617) 399-6720, x19
* only for domestic abuse survivors

Central Massachusetts

Ascentria Care Alliance 
11 Shattuck Street
Worcester, MA 01605
Ph: (774) 243-3100

Central West Justice Center
An Affiliate of Community Legal Aid
405 Main Street, Fourth Floor
Worcester, MA 01608
Ph: (508) 755-3260/ 855-CLA-LEGAL

MetroWest Legal Services
63 Fountain Street, Suite 304
Framingham, MA 01702
Ph: (508) 620-1830/ 800-696-1501

Western Massachusetts

Ascentria Care Alliance
94 North Elm Street, Suite 401
Westfield, MA 01085
Ph: (413) 787-0725

Berkshire Immigrant Center
88 South Street
Pittsfield, MA 01201
Ph: (413) 445-4881

Center for New Americans
42 Gothic Street
Northampton, MA 01060
Ph: (413) 587-0084

Community Legal Aid
One Monarch Place, Suite 400
Springfield, MA 01144
Ph: (413) 781-7814

20 Hampton Avenue, Suite 100
Northampton, MA 01060
Ph: (413) 584-4034

Southeastern Massachusetts

Catholic Social Services of Fall River
1600 Bay Street/ PO Box M/So. Station
Fall River, MA 02724
Ph: (508) 674-4681

Justice Center of Southeast Massachusetts, LLC
A subsidiary of South Coastal Counties Legal Services, Inc.
231 Main Street, #201
Brockton, MA 02301
Ph: (508) 586-2110

University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth – Immigration Law Project
33 Faunce Corner Road
Dartmouth, MA 02747
Ph: (508) 985-1174

Northeast Massachusetts

Northeast Justice Center
181 Union Street, Suite 201B
Lynn,  MA 01901
Ph: (781) 599-7730; 1-888-657-2889

International Institute of New England (Lowell)
15-17 Warren Street, 2nd Floor
Lowell, MA 01852
Ph: (978) 459-9031 / Fax: 978-459-0154

New Hampshire

International Institute of New England (New Hampshire)
1850 Elm Street
Manchester, NH 03103
Ph: (603)647-1500 / Fax: 603-669-5830

Rhode Island

Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island
220 & 645 Elmwood Avenue
Providence, RI 02907
Ph: (401) 461-5940

National directories:

For an in-depth look at immigration legal providers, services and detention facilities across the United States, visit the Immigrant Advocates Network’s National Immigration Legal Services Directory at http://immigrationadvocates.org/nonprofit/LegalDirectory.

The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) offers a list of pro bono legal service providers in different states.  Visit https://www.justice.gov/eoir/list-pro-bono-legal-service-providers-map for the map.

The Citizenship Works directory will help you find a non-profit organization near you that is qualified to help you with your case. Visit https://www.citizenshipworks.org/findlegalhelp for more.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) can refer you to immigration attorneys across the United States. Find a lawyer at http://ailalawyer.com.

For more information on how to avoid immigration scams, please visit: http://uscis.gov/avoid-scams or http://StopNotarioFraud.org.

 

This article was last updated on March 28, 2017.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

RenewMyDACA-logoKEY THINGS TO KNOW (updated Sept. 1, 2018):

On Sept. 5, 2018, it will be a year since the Trump administration has announced it would end DACA. For those who already have DACA, your work permit and deferred action will continue until their expiration date, and until further notice, due to several court orders (see below), you can renew your DACA for another two years.

Individual circumstances will vary, but in general, WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND RENEWING if you can. DACA enables you to work legally, and in Massachusetts, it’s also decisive if you want a driver’s license or in-state tuition at public colleges. MIRA can help you with the paperwork if needed; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. United We Dream’s RenewMyDACA.com has lots of information to help you. MIRA doesn’t offer financial aid to cover the $495 fee, but GoFundMe has a special program to help Dreamers fund themselves. We may also be able to connect you with Mass.-based supporters; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For authoritative, regularly updated information on DACA litigation, see the National Immigration Law Center.

We also recommend this excellent overview of DACA’s positive impact on beneficiaries and the whole economy. 

Watch our bilingual segment on DACA on WBZ’s Centro (taped Aug. 31, 2018).

Read more: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

Temporary Protected Status

haitiangirltpsTemporary Protected Status (TPS) is a humanitarian designation made by the President of the United States for the benefit of people who could not safely return to their countries due to armed conflict, a natural disaster, an epidemic, or other extraordinary conditions.

Once a country has been designated for TPS, eligible nationals of that country have a limited time to apply for the status. The TPS designation allows beneficiaries to receive work authorization and have a Social security number, making them eligible for a driver’s license and other benefits. TPS designation can be valid for six, 12, or 18 months – depending on what the administration wishes to do in a particular case – and can be renewed an unlimited number of times. Every time a designation is renewed, those with TPS status must re-register and might also need to renew their work authorization.

UPDATED FEB. 1: Download a 2-page primer on TPS!

See Governor Baker’s letter supporting TPS extension

NEW: See letter by Mass. Attorney General Healey + 18 colleagues urging Congress to act 

Read more: Temporary Protected Status