News & Events

Governor Healey, Speaker Mariano Celebrate Immigrant and Refugee Rights at 27th Annual Immigrants Day at the State House

State leaders joined policymakers and advocates at the MIRA Coalition’s yearly event, celebrating new beginnings for immigrants and refugees across the Commonwealth

Boston, MA – Governor Maura Healey and Speaker Ron Mariano, as well as state legislators and immigrants rights advocates, joined the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy (MIRA) Coalition to celebrate recent expansions of immigrant and refugee rights in the Commonwealth.

“I’m excited to be back in person for the MIRA Coalition’s Immigrants’ Day at the State House to celebrate the contributions of immigrants and refugees in Massachusetts,” said Governor Maura T. Healey. “I’m grateful for the important work that MIRA and its members do year after year to support our communities, especially when it comes to language access and housing security. Our administration is committed to continuing this partnership to ensure Massachusetts is a home where everyone has access to opportunity.”

The event, the MIRA Coalition’s 27th annual Immigrants Day at the State House, focused on the theme of new beginnings. Speakers lauded key legislative successes, including last year’s passage of the Work and Family Mobility Act. The event also highlighted the work that remains on expanding immigrant and refugee rights, such as securing emergency housing for asylum seekers, as well as resources for local communities supporting arrivals.

I’m grateful to MIRA for putting this event together, and for their continued collaboration on a number of issues facing immigrants and refugees, as we begin this new legislative session,” said House Speaker Ronald J. Mariano (D-Quincy). “We’ve demonstrated in the past that we can achieve great things, such as The Work and Family Mobility Act, when we work together, and I’m confident that we can do even more to make the Commonwealth a more welcoming place for immigrants from all over the world.”

Today’s event makes clear how far Massachusetts has come in expanding immigrant and refugee rights.” said MIRA Coalition Executive Director Elizabeth Sweet. “But it also shows how much more work is left to do, from bolstering language access at public-facing state agencies, to creating a pathway to permanent licensure for internationally-trained physicians, to securing in-state tuition equity for individuals regardless of immigration status. We look forward to working with Governor Healey, Speaker Mariano and the rest of the legislature in making even more progress on behalf of immigrants and refugees who call Massachusetts home.”

“The event today gives an opportunity for people like me to speak and share our experiences as immigrants in Massachusetts,” said Brenda Romero, an activist with La Colaborativa. “It gives me an opportunity to advocate for changes I want to see in my community such as language access and the Feeding Our Neighbors Act. Today, we put faces and stories to the obstacles and difficulties immigrants endure.”

Emceed by State Representative Danillo A. Sena of Acton, the full list of speakers included:

  • Governor Maura Healey 

  • House Speaker Ron Mariano

  • State Representative Rita A. Mendes of Brockton

  • Hiba Senhaj of the Driving Families Forward Coalition

  • Brenda Romero of the Mass Speaks Coalition 

  • Dr. Laith Altatwari, Internationally-Trained Physician

  • Elizabeth Sweet, Executive Director of the MIRA Coalition

A recording of today’s speaking engagement can be seen here, which featured more than 250 attendees. After speakers delivered remarks, individuals met with their state representatives and senators to advocate for the expansion of immigrant and refugee rights.

MEDIA CONTACT: Alex Psilakis
(508) 641-9761