News & Events

Business owners make their case for the Safe Communities Act

MBIC legislative briefing
Andrew Tarsy, left, moderated a panel discussion with Meg Glazer, of Glacon Contracting, Larry O’Toole, of Gentle Giant Movers, and Seana Gaherin, of Dunn Gaherin’s. Click on the photo to see more images.

At a legislative briefing, members of the Massachusetts Business Immigration Coalition said the climate of fear directly affects their workers, even though they have lawful status.  

BOSTON, November 6, 2019 – Seana Gaherin and her husband have run Dunn Gaherin’s, in Newton, for 28 years, with a staff made up mainly of immigrants. They have helped make the pub a beloved gathering place, and stand out for their work ethic and dedication.

So it pains her, as a first-generation American herself, to see people she loves and respects treated “as second-class citizens… only because they are not born in this country.”

“That’s why I’m here today,” she told a roomful of legislators and staff: “to tell you more about that and how much I rely and depend on those people. Not only are they my friends and family, but they’re my cohorts… my business would not be able to survive without them.”

Gaherin was one of three business owners and members of the Massachusetts Business Immigration Coalition (MBIC) who came to the State House for a legislative briefing on the business case for state legislation to protect immigrant families – in particular, the Safe Communities Act.

Read more: Business owners make their case for the Safe Communities Act

MIRA joins advocates from across the U.S. in endorsing visionary New Deal for New Americans Act

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 30, 2019 – Today MIRA Executive Director Eva A. Millona joined legislators and advocates on Capitol Hill to unveil the New Deal for New Americans Act, which was introduced today in the U.S. House of Representatives by Reps. Grace Meng (NY), Jesús “Chuy” García (IL) and Pramila Jayapal.

The bill, which has the strong support of MIRA and the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA), which Millona co-chairs, lays out a vision for more welcoming and inclusive nation that rejects hate, fear and division and instead aims to ensure that all people can feel at home and truly thrive here.

Under the proposal, the federal government will invest in strategies that have proven successful in integrating immigrants and refugees in our communities, enabling them to realize their economic potential and fully participate in civic life, to the benefit of the whole country.

The New Deal for New Americans Act accomplishes this by reducing barriers to naturalization and providing more support for eligible residents to become U.S. citizens; investing in high-quality English classes that meet the needs of immigrant communities; ensuring that immigrants can get the training they need to fill the jobs that are driving our economy; and supporting cities and states with the resources they need to resettle refugees.

Read more: MIRA joins advocates from across the U.S. in endorsing visionary New Deal for New Americans Act

A victory for American values on ‘public charge’ – but the fight continues

Public-charge-dignity-graphicBOSTON, October 11, 2019 – Today U.S. District Court Judge George B. Daniels issued a temporary injunction against the Trump administration's “public charge” rule, preventing the rule from taking effect as scheduled on Oct. 15.

The rule would define any immigrant who uses certain health, nutrition or housing programs as a “public charge,” and enables federal officials to turn away green card and visa applicants preemptively if they’re deemed likely to use such programs in the future.

The case in which Judge Daniels ruled today is one of several lawsuits that have been filed to block the policy, which would effectively shut out working-class immigrants and decimate family-based migration.

“We’ve said from the start that this rule is not only morally abhorrent, but also unlawful,” said Eva A. Millona, executive director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Coalition (MIRA). “Today’s decision is a victory for American values, and a breath of fresh air for thousands of Massachusetts families whose ability to sponsor loved ones had been in jeopardy.”

Read more: A victory for American values on ‘public charge’ – but the fight continues

Amid a global displacement crisis, we must stand up for refugees

Refugees from DRC leave a transit camp in Uganda.
Refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo leave a transit camp in Uganda for an eight-hour journey to another refugee settlement. DFID/Flickr.

BOSTON, September 27, 2019 – The Trump administration has set a cap of 18,000 for refugee admissions in the fiscal year that begins next Tuesday. This is a record low for the modern U.S. refugee resettlement program – and less than one-fifth the average over the program’s four-decade history.

As of Sept. 20, more than 29,800 refugees had been admitted to the U.S. in fiscal 2019. Since trying and failing to ban refugees early in 2017, the Trump administration has rapidly reduced the cap from the 110,000 level set by former President Obama in his last year: first to 45,000, then to 30,000. In a move that is likely to further hinder resettlements, the White House also issued an executive order yesterday that requires state and local governments to consent to receiving most refugees.

As New England’s largest coalition advocating for immigrants and refugees, with multiple members working directly in refugee resettlement and integration support, MIRA strongly condemns this administration’s repeated assaults on the world’s most vulnerable people.

Read more: Amid a global displacement crisis, we must stand up for refugees

New ‘public charge’ rule would shut out working-class immigrants and harm millions of families

The rule, which goes into effect Oct. 15, would deny green cards or immigrant visas to anyone deemed 'more likely than not' to use one of several safety-net programs someday, unless they earn over 150% of the federal poverty line. 

BOSTON – The Trump administration on Wednesday will publish a new rule that would curtail legal immigration by vastly expanding who can be denied a green card or visa because they are deemed at risk of becoming a “public charge.”

The rule, which goes into effect on Oct. 15, would redefine “public charge” – a person who depends on government benefits and thus may be turned away – to include not only immigrants who receive cash benefits or need long-term care, but also people with disabilities, those deemed to have limited earning potential, and participants in many “safety net” programs used by millions of working Americans. Overall, it would make it much easier to shut out anyone earning less than 250% of the federal poverty line ($64,375 for a family of four).

“This rule is a perfect example of the wanton cruelty and bigotry that drive this administration,” said Eva A. Millona, executive director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA). “It accomplishes two hateful goals at once: to keep out immigrants who are not wealthy on arrival – mainly people of color – and to sow fear in immigrant families and deter them from accessing ‘safety net’ programs that help keep their children safe, healthy, nourished and learning.”

Read more: New ‘public charge’ rule would shut out working-class immigrants and harm millions of families