News & Events

Amid a global crisis, U.S. refugee program is ‘decimated’

U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey joined a roundtable discussion organized by MIRA with refugee resettlement agencies, legal experts and advocates to assess the impact of the travel and refugee bans.

SuraAlAzzawi speaks about her experience as a refugee.Sura A., right, describes her personal experience as a refugee from Iraq. Prior to coming to the U.S., she waited in Turkey for several years.

BOSTON – On January 27, 2017, President Trump barred citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries – and all refugees – from entering the U.S., with the stated goal to “protect the American people from terrorist attacks.” Thousands of protesters took to the streets and filled airports, including Boston Logan, to show solidarity and provide legal assistance to detained travelers.

A year later, where do we stand? And how do we move forward?

Aiming to answer those questions, MIRA brought together legal experts, refugee resettlement agencies, advocates and public officials on February 5 at the state Office for Refugees and Immigrants (ORI), as part of a week of action to launch the nationwide We Are All America campaign.

Read more: Amid a global crisis, U.S. refugee program is ‘decimated’

Congress must act to right the wrongs of TPS termination

BOSTON, January 8, 2018 – Today the Trump administration announced that it is ending Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Salvadorans. Effective Sept. 9, 2019, about 200,000 people who have been living and working legally in the U.S. for almost two decades, who have American families, homes and businesses, will be subject to deportation.

Eva Millona on TPS termination for El SalvadorMIRA, the largest coalition advocating for foreign-born people in New England, strongly condemns this decision.

“This is the fourth TPS termination in just four months,” said Executive Director Eva A. Millona. “Given the dire conditions in El Salvador, which the U.S. State Department has warned Americans not to travel to, it is clear that nothing – not natural disasters, not hunger, not rampant violence – is seen as a valid justification anymore for protected status. Our government is perfectly comfortable sending longstanding, law-abiding residents into life-threatening conditions, and their U.S. citizen children as well.”

Read more: Congress must act to right the wrongs of TPS termination

Time to ‘turn up the heat’ to pass the DREAM Act

MIRA joined U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey and several Dreamers in a call for urgent action in Congress to enable DACA recipients to stay legally in the U.S.

Estefany speaks at Markey presser Jan. 3 2018.Estefany, 19, a student at UMass Boston, urged Congress to act now to pass the DREAM Act, before her future is wrecked.

BOSTON, January 3, 2018 – Estefany attended one of Boston’s best high schools and earned good grades, but even with DACA, she didn’t qualify for most forms of financial aid and had to struggle to find her way into college. With an Unafraid Scholarship and a second grant, she was able to enroll in UMass Boston, planning to major in international relations.

On her first day of college, President Trump ended DACA.

“That crushed my heart,” she said.

Her status expires at the end of next semester. She can still study after that – but will she ever be able to pursue the career she’s working so hard for?

With U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey at her side, Estefany urged Congress to act now to pass the DREAM Act. “We need to pass something,” she said. “It’s not something you can do in a year, because in a year, I don’t know where I’m going to be, and all my hard work is going into the trash.”

“Do something. It’s urgent.”

Read more: Time to ‘turn up the heat’ to pass the DREAM Act

At Our Shared Table, a moment to give thanks – and a call to action

Hundreds of immigrants, refugees, advocates and public officials gathered for ‘one of the best things done at the State House’ – a Thanksgiving meal together.

Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry, our emcee, spoke about her experience as the child of Haitian immigrants.

BOSTON, November 21, 2017  “I stand before you as a child of immigrants,” Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry said as she welcomed guests to Our Shared Table, MIRA’s 13th annual Thanksgiving luncheon at the State House, on Tuesday.

Like so many in the room, her parents came looking for a better life and new opportunities. They came from Haiti, but one of the great things about this country is that it doesn’t matter where you come from, she said. “When we come to these shores, we are all Americans.”

MIRA hosts Our Shared Table as a way to bring together immigrants and refugees – including newly sworn-in U.S. citizens – with public officials and advocates, providing a warm and friendly setting to get to know one another, share stories and find common ground.

“It’s one of the best things done at the State House,” said, Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez, chairman of the Joint Committee on Ways and Means. “Let’s be real: We’ve got to talk, and if we want to talk, we’ve got to get together like this.”

Read more: At Our Shared Table, a moment to give thanks – and a call to action

Coalition celebrates a victory for students across Massachusetts

Classroom-photoThe LOOK bill will enable schools to tailor programs to the diverse needs of English learners, and will encourage kids to fully master two languages, a huge asset in a global economy.

BOSTON, November 15, 2017 – The Massachusetts Legislature tonight approved the Language Opportunity for Our Kids (LOOK) bill, greatly expanding options for English learners in the Commonwealth’s public schools and creating a new Seal of Biliteracy that will help students compete in the global economy.

English learners are the fastest-growing population in Massachusetts schools, doubling since 2000 to more than 90,000 students, or about 9.5% of total enrollment. Some are immigrants, but 82% of them are U.S. citizens, and they live throughout the state: 90% of school districts have at least one English learner.

Read more: Coalition celebrates a victory for students across Massachusetts