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Amid Massive Influx of International Arrivals, MIRA Coalition Launches Immigration Advocate Legal Helpline

Amid Massive Influx of International Arrivals, MIRA Coalition Launches Immigration Advocate Legal Helpline

Boston, MA – The Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy (MIRA) Coalition is launching an immigration advocate legal helpline to offer direct legal guidance to community organizations in response to the unprecedented need for services resulting from an influx of international arrivals. The helpline, which is supported by a $75,000 grant from the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, will assist advocates in navigating the many complexities of the immigration process so arrivals may rapidly receive the support they need.

“Community organizations have been a lifeline to immigrants, neighborhoods, and the state throughout the uptick in international arrivals to Massachusetts, but these organizations need greater access to legal resources,” said Elizabeth Sweet, Executive Director of the MIRA Coalition. “The immigration advocate legal helpline will offer essential guidance to community organizations serving immigrants across the Commonwealth, ensuring that these groups can focus on supporting the children and families who depend on the wraparound services they provide.”

The immigration advocate legal helpline, which will function as a non-emergency service, will support community organizations seeking guidance on some of the most frequently asked legal questions, including questions about work authorization. Advocates may call the helpline 24/7 at (508) 293-1871 and leave a detailed voicemail that includes their contact information.

“MIRA’s immigration helpline for service providers will play a major role in supporting international arrivals and community groups as we continue navigating an unprecedented humanitarian crisis,” said Ivan Espinoza-Madrigal, Executive Director of Lawyers for Civil Rights. “MIRA’s efforts will help share much-needed resources so community groups may more effectively help the many families fleeing violence, corruption and instability for the hope of a better life in Massachusetts.”

The helpline will not only reduce the immense workload legal immigration organizations are grappling with, but limit how long immigrants must wait for much-needed legal support from attorneys. Speeding up the legal process for arrivals is paramount, as many seek work authorization as quickly as possible so they may provide for themselves and their families. By connecting newcomers with trusted legal practitioners more quickly, MIRA hopes to reduce the likelihood that they will be targets of notario fraud for individuals who misrepresent themselves as qualified to offer legal advice or services.

 “Given how vast and complex the U.S. immigration system is, the MIRA Coalition’s advocate legal helpline could not come at a better time,” said Reverend Myrlande, Chief Executive Operating Officer of the Everett Haitian Community Center. “Community organizations are some of the best-positioned groups to aid arrivals, as they often speak the same language and understand the experiences of the populations they serve. Now, with increased access to critical legal information, the organizations will be able to help arrivals apply for essentials like work authorization even more quickly.”