News from MIRA
An unconscionable betrayal of immigrants and their families
BOSTON, Aug. 14, 2018 – A court filing by the ACLU of Massachusetts in Calderon v. Nielsen reveals that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) personnel have actively collaborated with Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) to facilitate the detention and deportation of immigrants.
MIRA strongly encourages its members and concerned citizens to read the entire filing, which has prompted immediate condemnation from public officials (see letter from Congressman Michael Capuano).
Eva A. Millona, executive director of MIRA, responded with the following comments:
“The revelations in the ACLU’s court filing are deeply disturbing. We have come to recognize that at this point, ICE really is just ‘in the removal business,’ with little regard for public-safety priorities, much less the human impact of its actions. USCIS, however, has a very different mission. Every immigrant who enters this country, applies for a green card, or seeks U.S. citizenship goes through USCIS. And under our Constitution, they all deserve due process.
Mass. Legislature abdicates moral leadership in budget deal
BOSTON, July 18, 2018 – Today the Conference Committee released its version of the FY2019 state budget, stripped of four provisions to protect immigrant families that the Massachusetts Senate had overwhelmingly approved in May.
Eva A. Millona, executive director of the MIRA Coalition, responded with the following statement:
“We are deeply disappointed. The Massachusetts Legislature had a prime opportunity to stand up for civil rights and human decency, and under political pressure from Governor Baker and conservative Democrats, it backed down. The safety and well-being of tens of thousands of immigrant families will suffer as a result.
“It is particularly disturbing that the Legislature succumbed to fear-mongering about ‘sanctuary’ policies. Though nothing in the four provisions approved by the Senate actually met the definition of ‘sanctuary’ used by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, prominent House members embraced nativist propaganda misrepresenting those provisions, using the falsehoods as political cover for their inaction.
Travel ban decision sets a dangerous precedent for America
When the travel ban was first implemented, protesters flooded airports across the U.S. Photo by Rhododendrites/Wikimedia Commons.
BOSTON, June 26, 2018 – Today the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Trump administration’s travel ban, which forbids travel to the U.S. for the 150 million citizens of five Muslim-majority countries — Syria, Iran, Somalia, Libya and Yemen — as well as North Korea, with very limited exceptions.
The 5–4 decision in Trump v. Hawaii rests on a broad definition of executive authority. Even in the face of extensive evidence of the President’s anti-Muslim animus, the majority found, the ban must be upheld if it can be reasonably linked to “a justification independent of unconstitutional grounds.”
Indeed, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote, the few policies the Court has struck down in the past were found to be “divorced from any factual context… [showing] a relationship to legitimate state interests.”
“Today’s decision is deeply troubling and sets a dangerous precedent,” said Eva A. Millona, executive director of MIRA. “What the Supreme Court said, in essence, is that no matter how obvious the President’s racist and anti-Muslim motivations may be, if he can wrap the travel ban in the pretext of national security, it must stand.”
Order to end family separations will only change how children are traumatized
BOSTON, June 20, 2018 – Today, the President signed an executive order to address the ongoing family separation crisis on the border. Unfortunately for the thousands of people seeking asylum in the U.S., his solution is simply to incarcerate families together, indefinitely, while continuing to blame Congress and the courts for the crisis that he created.
“This executive order does not reverse the ‘zero tolerance’ policy initiated by this administration,” said MIRA Executive Director Eva A. Millona. “Rather, it seeks to treat persecuted families as criminals. This is a despicable act that is a debasement of American values.”
In addition to continuing to detain and criminally prosecute people seeking refuge, the Executive Order calls on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to seek a modification of the settlement reached in Flores v Reno. The “Flores settlement” dictates that U.S. Department of Homeland Security keep children in custody in the “least restrictive conditions” possible, provide basic necessities such as medical care, and separate them from adults to whom they have no relation.
“In seeking to overturn Flores, in seeking to deny basic dignity to asylum-seekers, this administration is once again dehumanizing immigrants,” Millona said. “We urge Congress to see these heinous actions for what they are and take immediate measures to truly protect children and families. They must stand up and show the world that the values of this administration do not represent the values of our great nation.”
MIRA joins Sen. Markey’s call for ban on family separations
BOSTON, June 15, 2018 – Today, we joined U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey, with several advocates, to condemn family separations and speak out in support of a Senate bill co-sponsored by him to end family separations not as part of a massive immigration “reform” bill, but by simply forbidding the practice.
The Keep Families Together Act was developed in consultation with child welfare experts and is supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics, Kids In Need of Defense (KIND), Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), Children’s Law Center and the Young Center for Immigrant Rights. It has overwhelming support from Senate Democrats, but no GOP support so far.