News & Events

‘You belong’: Immigrants’ Day brings hundreds to advocate for a more just and welcoming Commonwealth

Doris Reina-Landaverde, flanked by a Harvard student and U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley, advocated for driver’s license legislation.

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.

Read more: ‘You belong’: Immigrants’ Day brings hundreds to advocate for a more just and welcoming Commonwealth

White House proposal cannot be taken seriously

The President continues to demand $5.7 billion for a wall in exchange for ending the shutdown, and his offers on DACA and TPS are woefully inadequate.

BOSTON, January 19, 2019 – Today President Trump offered a proposal to end the government shutdown, now on its 29th day, by exchanging the $5.7 billion he has demanded for a border wall – now a “steel barrier” – for limited protections for Dreamers and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders. In response, MIRA Executive Director Eva A. Millona said:

“It’s good to see the President finally recognize that the only way out of this shutdown is to actually negotiate, not just stick to his position while repeating false and misleading talking points. And it’s good that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is finally allowing a vote on at least one proposal to end the shutdown.

“However, the offer on the table cannot be taken seriously. It continues to include billions of dollars for what is essentially a monument to fear and xenophobia, and the concessions it purports to make are woefully inadequate. We would welcome hiring 75 more immigration judges, but the same has been offered by Congressional leaders – combined with actual solutions to the humanitarian crisis on our southern border.

Read more: White House proposal cannot be taken seriously

How to make the most of Worcester’s global talent pool?

Eva addresses Worcester Chamber
MIRA Executive Director Eva A. Millona invited Chamber members to join her in advocating for investments in integration and policies to protect vulnerable immigrants.

WORCESTER, December 18, 2018 – As President and CEO of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, Tim Murray represents a wide range of business leaders, more than 2,000 in all. But despite their diversity, they share a common challenge.

“The single biggest issue that I hear from our members… is the need for a motivated, educated workforce,” Murray said. And immigration, he added, is “clearly a major component of that.”

Worcester is home to about 40,000 foreign-born people, and the Worcester Metro Area, to about 100,000 – from Ghanaians to Vietnamese, Brazilians to Albanians. More than one-fifth of the city’s population is foreign-born, more than double the share in 1990.

Read more: How to make the most of Worcester’s global talent pool?

For Thanksgiving, stories of hope, struggle and resilience in America

Damaris Velasquez of Agencia ALPHA
Damaris Velasquez, co-founder of Agencia ALPHA, was undocumented for 23 years. To those who still are, she said: “Don’t allow this broken system to try to define your identity.”

At Our Shared Table 2018, speakers urged immigrants and refugees to ‘dream big’ and define their own identity, while calling on elected officials to bring Massachusetts realities closer to its ideals.

BOSTON, November 20, 2018 – Iván Espinoza-Madrigal was 9 when he came to the U.S. from Costa Rica. His mother worked for minimum wage so he could get an education, and he was the first in his family to graduate from college, then from NYU Law School.

Now, as executive director of Lawyers for Civil Rights, he fights to ensure that millions like him can enjoy the same opportunities. Looking out at hundreds of immigrants and refugees gathered in the Great Hall of the State House, he praised them for “not just surviving, but thriving,” and he offered a call to action.

“It is important for all of us to join forces, because we are stronger together,” he said. “I know it can be exhausting, I know it can be demoralizing. But I also know that each of us has the capacity to protect ourselves and each other.”

Read more: For Thanksgiving, stories of hope, struggle and resilience in America

An important reprieve for TPS holders – but Congress still must act

Haitian protester in January
A Haitian immigrant at a rally in January. More than 4,700 Haitians in Massachusetts have TPS and risk deportation as soon as next July.

BOSTON, October 4, 2018 – Yesterday, U.S. District Judge Edward Chen granted a preliminary injunction preventing the federal government from ending Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for immigrants from Sudan, El Salvador, Haiti and Nicaragua.

The ruling, in a case filed last March by the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California and other advocates, provides a much-needed reprieve for hundreds of thousands of TPS holders – especially those from Sudan, whose protection was scheduled to end on Nov. 2.

In Massachusetts, more than 6,000 Salvadorans and 4,700 Haitians face deportation as soon as next July once their TPS ends – even though they’ve lived here lawfully for at least 15 years, and many have U.S. citizen children.

In his ruling, Judge Chen cited multiple statements by President Trump about immigrants of color and Muslims as evidence that TPS termination was “based on animus against non-white, non-European immigrants in violation of Equal Protection guaranteed by the Constitution.” The issues raised by the plaintiffs, he wrote, “are at least serious enough to preserve the status quo.”

Read more: An important reprieve for TPS holders – but Congress still must act