A flood of opposition to deputizing law enforcement as ICE agents
The message from advocacy groups, legal experts, faith-based organizations and citizens was clear: let the federal government handle immigration matters.
State Rep. Antonio Cabral said he doesn’t want to debate immigration policy. “That is the responsibility of the federal government,” he told the Joint Committee on Public Safety on Monday.
Instead, the New Bedford Democrat urged the committee to support his two bills, H.3033 (An Act Relative to Enforcing Federal Law), and H.3034 (An Act Limiting the Use of Prison Labor), on fiscal grounds. “State dollars ought to be used for state programs, period,” he said.
The first bill would bar the use of state funds to implement “287(g)” collaboration agreements between Massachusetts sheriffs and correctional facilities and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Under those agreements, which have been signed by the Bristol County and Plymouth County Sheriffs and the state Department of Corrections, officers of those agencies are deputized to question people about their immigration status, arrest them for immigration violations, and start deportation proceedings.
On May Day, Congressman listens to concerns among immigrants and refugees
A dozen people brought together by MIRA talked about urgent needs and moral imperatives.
MIRA Executive Director Eva Millona welcomes Congressman Joseph Kennedy at MIRA on Monday. Click to see more photos.
BOSTON, May 2, 2017 – Amira and her children came to Boston with just three suitcases and hope. She applied for asylum and got a work permit, which has enabled her to support her family. But progress on her case has been slow, and the wait has been nerve-wracking.
“I’ve been living in anxiety for three years,” she told Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy (D-MA 4th Dist.) on Monday. She can’t travel internationally, but doesn’t even dare leave the state, lest it somehow get her in trouble. “My children think that if I speed in the car, I might get deported.”
She hears her people described as a drain on U.S. taxpayers, even though she knows they’re working hard, even starting businesses. She hears Muslims equated with terrorists and ISIS. Her son, now 8, has been bullied in school. “Kids are telling him: You are a foreigner – you must go back.”
Amira was one of a dozen people that MIRA brought together in its office on Monday to talk with Congressman Kennedy about the challenges faced by immigrants and refugees right now.
It was clearly a subject close to the Congressman’s heart. He spoke with anger about the Trump administration’s “cold-blooded” strategy to target immigrants, and with deep compassion for immigrants and refugees. It is our “moral obligation”, he said, to help ensure that all people in our communities can achieve their full potential.
MIRA is turning 30 this year, and we want you to be part of the celebration! Give Liberty a Hand is our main annual fundraiser, and this year, with our big anniversary, we’re making it extra festive.
Since 1987, MIRA has given voice to refugees and immigrants from all over the world who made their home in New England, raised families, built careers, started businesses, and become engaged citizens and community members. We have much to be proud of – and you have helped make it possible!
We have worked to defeat anti-immigrant legislation, and to advance policies and secure funding for programs that help immigrants and refugees. We have helped thousands of green card holders in becoming U.S. citizens, and registered thousands of new Americans to vote. We also train legal advocates for refugee children, and support a range of programs to help recent immigrants and refugees to learn English and adapt to American life. With so much at stake, your support is crucial!
Give Liberty a Hand is both our annual fundraiser, and a time to honor people who “give liberty a hand” by working to advance the rights and integration of immigrants and refugees.
Get your tickets now! You can buy individual tickets, be a sponsor, or even if you can’t make it, contribute to our fundraising campaign. Thank you for supporting MIRA’s mission as we celebrate 30 years on the front lines!
Bilingualism is an asset, and Mass. schools should promote it
It’s time to free schools to teach English language learners in the ways that best meet their needs – and to enable high school graduates to earn a ‘Seal of Biliteracy’.
When children who don’t speak English enroll in a Massachusetts public school, they go into an English “immersion” program – not just to learn the language, but for math, science and all subjects. Their teachers are specially trained to work with “English language learners,” but by law, even if they speak a student’s native language, they can’t use anything but English in the classroom.
For some children, immersion works well, and they quickly learn enough English to succeed in school. Others struggle, however, and fall behind significantly in their education.
And whether or not they thrive in English, often students who were fluent in their native language when they arrived get “rusty” after a few years. They may still do fine in casual conversation, but struggle to read, write or use the language in a more formal setting.
Bills before the Massachusetts Legislature this session aim to change that.
Take action to protect immigrant rights!
- Find online "Know Your Rights" resources in English, Spanish and other languages.
- Request a "Know Your Rights" workshop in your town or region.
- Learn what public health professionals can do to protect undocumented residents and their families.
- Find out actions school officials can take to protect undocumented students.
- Report bias incidents to the Attorney General's anti-harassment hotline.
- And check out MIRA's Facebook page for local events and actions.
Make your voice heard and support safe communities!
From the Boston Tea Party to the anti-slavery and marriage equality movements, Massachusetts has been a leader on civil rights. Today we need to see that kind of courage on behalf of immigrants and Muslims in our communities.
The Safe Communities Act would protect the civil rights of all state residents by making sure our tax dollars are not used to help the Trump Administration deport immigrant families or create a Muslim registry. This powerful new version of the Trust Act is sponsored by State Sen. Jamie Eldridge (S.1305) and State Rep. Juana Matías (H.3269).