Give Liberty a Hand is MIRA’s biggest fundraiser of the year and our celebration of champions for immigrants and refugees in our Commonwealth – leaders in government, business and advocacy who “give liberty a hand” by working to advance immigrant rights and integration.
We expect hundreds of MIRA members, partners and friends to join us for an inspiring evening to support MIRA’s work across Massachusetts.
Why Give Liberty a Hand?
Family-based migration. Asylum and refugee resettlement. DACA and Temporary Protected Status. Even visas for high-skilled workers. Everything that makes America a land of hope and opportunity is under attack, and only we can protect it. MIRA is on the front lines, fighting tirelessly for the rights and integration of immigrants and refugees. This gala is a chance to honor those who are fighting alongside us and championing our communities – from Capitol Hill, to corporate board rooms, to the grassroots. It is also a vital source of funding for MIRA at this time of enormous need. Your support will help us ensure we have the resources to fulfill our urgent mission.
Dream and Promise Act is an important step forward for Congress
Jessica Garcia, a Dreamer from Los Angeles and member of CHIRLA, speaks at the unveiling of the bill. Behind her is lead sponsor U.S. Rep. Lucille Royce-Allard.
BOSTON, March 12, 2019 – Today on Capitol Hill, House leadership unveiled H.R. 6, the Dream and Promise Act, which would provide permanent protection and a path to citizenship to Dreamers and people with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED).
The bill, sponsored by U.S. Reps. Lucille Royce-Allard (D-CA), Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) and Yvette Clarke (D-NY), builds on the DREAM Act, which was passed by the House in 2010, but fell to a filibuster in the Senate, and the American Promise Act, introduced in 2017 to protect TPS holders.
At a time when even modest proposals to protect immigrants tend to include major tradeoffs – from billions for a border wall, to punitive new enforcement policies, to cuts to family immigration – this bill marks a sea change: protecting immigrants without hurting other immigrants.
“The Dream and Promise Act is a breath of fresh air,” said MIRA Executive Director Eva A. Millona. “It sends a strong message to Dreamers and TPS and DED holders: We know this is your home. We know how much you contribute to this nation – and we stand behind you.
Now more than ever: Support the Safe Communities Act!
Two years ago, we launched a movement: immigrant advocates, civil rights groups, service providers, faith leaders and allies committed to ensuring that in Massachusetts, no one has to live in fear, and everyone’s civil rights will be respected. We built unprecedented support on Beacon Hill and across our Commonwealth. Dozens of communities also adopted local pro-immigrant policies.
Now it’s time to bring our work to fruition. A new Safe Communities Act is before the Legislature: S.1401 (Sen. Jamie Eldridge) and H.3573 (Reps. Ruth Balser and Liz Miranda). It’s streamlined but has the same core provisions to restore community trust in police by avoiding entanglement in immigration matters, and protect due process for all.
We need to keep building political momentum to ensure that the SCA passes in this session. That means legislators need to keep hearing from constituents, week after week, until we succeed.
Help make college dreams a reality for Boston students!
Thousands of immigrants attend Boston’s high schools. They work hard and have big dreams, but at graduation time, many face a huge obstacle: If they’re undocumented, they don’t qualify for federal financial aid, and if they enroll in a public college in Massachusetts, many will have to pay out-of-state tuition.
Nationwide, only about 3% of undocumented students finish college, mainly because of the cost. The Unafraid Scholarship was created by a group of teachers to help students from Boston Public Schools who’ve been accepted to college but aren’t eligible for federal financial aid.
‘You belong’: Immigrants’ Day brings hundreds to advocate for a more just and welcoming Commonwealth
BOSTON, March 4, 2019 – Doris Reina-Landaverde was speaking for thousands of people, and she didn’t want to stand alone. So before she began, she asked students from Harvard University, where she works as a janitor, to join her at the podium, along with 32BJ SEIU District 615 leader Roxana Rivera and U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley.
Then, her voice still shaky at first, she explained how Temporary Protected Status (TPS) – a humanitarian program that covers more than 12,000 immigrants in Massachusetts, about half of them Salvadorans like herself – had enabled them all to build lives and families here over the past two decades.
The Trump administration wants to end TPS for almost everyone, but a federal judge’s intervention has bought some time for TPS holders from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan (but not other countries); just last week, their protection was extended until January 2020.
But her paperwork still says Sept. 9, 2019. Her license expires on her birthday in December. And in Massachusetts, getting a driver’s license requires proof of lawful presence. TPS holders have already faced difficulties with renewals, even with the law and RMV leadership on their side.
It’s time to extend in-state tuition to all Mass. high school graduates!
At least 20 states and the District of Columbia have laws or policies enabling students who meet certain criteria to pay in-state tuition at public colleges and universities, regardless of immigration status. A growing number of states also offer state financial aid to these students.
Yet in Massachusetts, where 1 in 6 residents is foreign-born, and immigrants and their children make up a large shares of public school enrollment in many districts, bills to extend in-state tuition and state financial aid to all eligible high school graduates have failed to advance in the Legislature. For thousands of students, that means college is simply beyond reach. In Massachusetts, students with DACA or Temporary Protected Status (TPS) qualify for in-state tuition, but undocumented students don’t – no matter how long they’ve lived here. And all these students, including DACA and TPS holders, are ineligible for federal or state financial aid.
For context, a year of full-time coursework at Bunker Hill Community College (15 credits per term, excluding health insurance, books, etc.) will cost $5,580 with in-state tuition, and $12,060 at out-of-state rates. At Framingham State University, in-state tuition and fees for day students are $10,336, while the out-of-state price is $16,416. At UMass Boston, the costs are $14,167 and $33,966, respectively.