Call to support pro-immigrant amendments to the state budget!

The House Ways and Means Committee has released its budget for fiscal year 2018, including funds for programs that serve and protect immigrant and refugee residents of Massachusetts.

Our House allies are filing amendments to increase funding for these programs. Please call or email your Representative TODAY to ask them to cosponsor pro-immigrant amendments. Below is a script to help you; click here to find your state representative. Click here to read more about each amendment and why it’s important.

April 21 update: We’re focusing our efforts on Representative Cabral’s amendment, #1034, to increase funding for citizenship programs. 

Note: Staff will be busy and may rush you through the call. The main things to convey are the name of the representative who is sponsoring the amendment, the line item number, and the sponsors’ requests for early sign-on. Please call by April 24!

Sample script:

Hello, my name is _____________, and I am calling from [town/city] to ask Representative [name of your Rep] to co-sponsor three amendments to the House Budget that serve and protect immigrants and refugees. The sponsors are asking for sign-on as soon as possible. The three amendments are:

  1. Representative Cabral’s amendment increasing funding for the Citizenship for New Americans Program (CNAP), in Line Item 4003-0122, to $500,000. It’s Amendment #1034. To cosponsor, please contact Al Medeiros at ext. 7639. [ Note that the following Representatives have already cosponsored: Balser, Barber, Cahill, Chan, Connolly, Cullinane, Decker, Donahue, DuBois, Farley-Bouvier, Goldstein-Rose, Gonzalez, Hay, Hecht, Kafka, Khan, Koczera, Lewis, Linsky, Livingstone, Madaro, Moran, Provost, John Rogers (of Cambridge), Schmid, Tosado, Vega, and Walsh. ]

  2. Adult Basic Education and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ABE/ESOL), in Line Item 7035-0002, to $31.5 million. It’s Amendment #300, by Representative Koczera. To cosponsor, please contact Danielle Allard at ext. 8674.

  3. Representative Hunt’s amendment increasing critical funding for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention and Survivor Services, in Line Item 4513-1130, to $34.5 million. It’s Amendment #808. To cosponsor, please contact Erin Walsh at ext. 8894.

Can Representative [name of your Rep] cosponsor these amendments today?

Please thank the Representative for supporting programs that serve immigrant communities in our state!

Want to do more? Send this link to 3 friends and urge them to call their Representatives, too!

Learn more about the 3 amendments:

1. Citizenship for New Americans Program (CNAP); line item 4003-0122; amendment sponsored by Representative Cabral.

CNAP helps eligible low-income Green Card holders acquire citizenship, providing legal assistance and integrated English and civics classes, and giving applicants a stunning 89% success rate on the naturalization exam. Demand for citizenship services has grown exponentially since the November election, but funding remains stalled at pre-2009 levels. Federal funding is also at risk, making providers more reliant than ever on state and private sources. This amendment requests a modest $100,000 funding increase to meet this demand.

2. Adult Basic Education/English for Speakers of Other Languages (ABE/ESOL); line item 7035-0002; amendment sponsored by Representative Koczera.

ABE/ESOL programs are positively linked to higher levels of economic success, employment, and wages. Although immigrants comprise nearly 19% of our workforce, and have higher rates of economic participation than native-born residents, much of this activity is confined to low-wage service industries. ESOL classes for adult learners are under-resourced and in short supply, with 18,000 waitlisted students. This amendment would increase funding for Adult Basic Education programs to $31.5 million (an increase of just over $3 million) to promote workforce integration for new Americans and other adult students.

3. Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention and Survivor Services (including targeted services for immigrant and refugee survivors); line item 4513-1130; amendment sponsored by Representative Hunt.

This budget line funds a range of services for victims and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, including services for immigrant and refugees formerly administered through the RISE (Refugee and Immigrant Safety and Empowerment) program. Immigrant residents of the Commonwealth have historically been twice as likely to be victims of domestic violence homicide as native-born residents, and the aggressive expansion of federal immigration enforcement has created a chilling effect on reporting by witnesses and victims of abuse, inviting impunity for perpetrators and risking increased fatalities. These services save lives by providing culturally and linguistically appropriate crisis intervention and safety planning, targeted outreach, legal services, advocacy with law enforcement, courts and social services, and provider training.>

Contact Amy Grunder, Director of Legislative Affairs
617-350-5480 x222, agrunder[at]

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