News & Events
Labor, Faith and Human Rights leaders join immigrants pledge resistance to the insecurity raised by new enforcement program
May 10, 2012 BOSTON—"Any decent detective will tell you that this is the antithesis of what we need," said retired New Jersey police detective Robert Cole today at a press conference denouncing the implementation of "Secure Communties," an immigration enforcement program that automatically shares the fingerprints of anyone arrested with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Board Chair of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, Mr. Cole noted that a major impediment to effective crime fighting is lack of community trust, and Secure Communities shatters that trust, bringing immigration enforcement directly into regular local police practices.
Other speakers, including Cristina Aguilera, Campaign Organizer at the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, who criticized "S-Comm" for ensnaring hardworking mothers and fathers in deportation proceedings. "Nationwide, half of those deported through 'Secure Communities' have not been accused of serious crimes," Ms. Aguilera said, "And in Boston, almost half of those deported have no criminal conviction whatsoever â€” 49%."
Court Should Strike Down Arizona Immigration Law, Say Scholars, Advocates and 11 State AGs
April 25, 2012 BOSTON—Legal experts in Massachusetts today joined with civil rights leaders, clergy, immigrant rights advocates, and 11 state attorneys general across the nation, including Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, in urging the Supreme Court of the United States to uphold the ban on the most egregious parts of SB1070, Arizona's radical and destructive immigration law. Experts have protested that the law unconstitutionally usurps the power of the federal government to make and enforce immigration law, and that it mandates discriminatory treatment based on people's look and accent. As the New York Times editorial board wrote on Sunday, "its enforcement provisions essentially turn all Hispanics, including American citizens and legal residents, into criminal suspects."
Executive Vice-President of largest union in MA makes keynote speech at largest immigrant advocacy day of year
4/9/2012 BOSTON -- "Brothers and sisters, we ARE the New America â€” and a new America that votes," said Veronica Turner-Biggs to over 600 immigrants packed into the Gardner Auditorium for the 16th annual Immigrants Day at the State House. As Executive Vice-Presdent of SEIU1199, the largest union in Massachusetts, Ms. Turner-Biggs fittingly offered the keynote address at the largest immigrant advocacy day of the year. Indeed, the day's gathering was so successful that an additional 300 immigrants gathered outside the auditorium to rally in Nurse's Hall.
The first African-American woman to head a major union in Massachusetts, Ms Turner-Biggs focused on the event's theme, "Building Power Together."
"Together, our voices are stronger than they are alone," she said. "Together, we are building a stronger Commonwealth for everyone." She also emphasized the crucial importance of immigrants to the state's economy. "YOU are what keeps the Commonwealth working. And our legislators need to know that they cannot take your vote for granted."
Executive Vice-President of 1199SEIU keynote speaker at largest immigrant advocacy day of year
4/4/12 BOSTON -- The largest immigrant advocacy day of the year will take place on Monday April 9 as more than 500 immigrants and advocates fill the Gardner Auditorium for the 16th annual Immigrants Day at the State House. This year's keynote speaker will be Veronica Turner-Biggs, Executive Vice-President of 1199SEIU, MA Region. Ms. Turner-Biggs served as a rank and file member at Boston Medical Center before becoming the first African-American female elected as the head of a major union in Massachusetts.
The event also includes three immigrant success stories, a cultural presentation, and a candidates' forum for the Massachusetts U.S. Senate race. All major candidates â€” incumbent Senator Scott Brown and candidates Marisa DeFranco and Elizabeth Warren â€” have been invited.
Health Care for All and MIRA urge 37,400 documented immigrants who now qualify for Commonwealth Care to enroll or seek guidance
4/3/12 BOSTON - Today, representatives of Health Care For All (HCFA) and the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA) gathered to highlight the eligibility and enrollment process for the estimated 37,400 documented immigrants who now qualify for CommonwealthCare.
â€œWe are really excited that the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court affirmed our vision of health care as a right for all residents and we are committed to enrolling every single eligible individual into CommonwealthCare,â€ said Amy Whitcomb Slemmer, Executive Director of Health Care For All. â€œSome of our HelpLine callers are confused about the enrollment process. We are here today to make sure people understand what they are eligible for and how they can start getting their health benefits.â€
Health Law Advocates won this landmark legal victory on behalf of the class that sued the Commonwealth when state budget cuts included removing special status immigrants from the Commonwealth Care program and created a limited health plan known as the Bridge program.