News & Events

1,500 immigrants & allies advocate for their priorities at the State House

Largest-ever Immigrants’ Day at the State House offers a powerful rebuke against bigotry

IDSH2017 Matias
State Rep. Juana Matías, House sponsor of the Safe Communities Act, introduces the speaking program.

BOSTON, April 5, 2017 – About 1,500 immigrants, children of immigrants and their allies came together at the State House today to advocate for a Commonwealth where all people feel welcome to pursue their dreams and feel safe, regardless of where they were born.

This was the 21st Immigrants’ Day at the State House, and the largest to date. The annual event, organized by the Massachusetts Immigrant & Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA), brings the community to Beacon Hill to celebrate their contributions to the state’s economy, culture and civic life, and to speak with legislators about bills and budget items that are priorities for foreign-born residents.

“We knew to expect a big crowd, because people were eager to speak out against the bigotry and xenophobia that we’ve been witnessing,” said Liza Ryan, director of organizing at MIRA. “Still, it was awe-inspiring to see the Great Hall packed with people from all over the world who’ve made America their home, and who came to speak out for themselves and their communities.”

Read more: 1,500 immigrants & allies advocate for their priorities at the State House

MIRA calls for robust funding of key programs that support immigrants

Priorities include citizenship, English and adult basic education classes, job-seeking support, health coverage, domestic and sexual violence prevention.

BOSTON, March 31, 2017 – As federal policies become increasingly hostile to immigrants, MIRA Executive Director Eva A. Millona today submitted testimony in support of public programs that help keep communities healthy and safe, build workforce skills, and transition eligible immigrants to citizenship.

“Now more than ever,” she told the Joint Committee on Ways and Means, “we respectfully request your support in the state budget for funding of programs that promote immigrant integration, opportunity and safety, strengthening the Commonwealth’s economic, civic, and social fabric and fueling economic growth.”

In particular, MIRA is advocating for four line items in the fiscal 2018 budget, plus a policy change:

Read more: MIRA calls for robust funding of key programs that support immigrants

Bill aims to mobilize skilled practitioners trained abroad to help meet Mass. healthcare needs

More than 20% of foreign-trained doctors, pharmacists, nurses and other health professionals living in the Commonwealth are unemployed or working outside their fields.

BOSTON, March 28, 2017 – Massachusetts has a lot of doctors, but when it comes to meeting basic needs, it falls short. More than 7 percent of state residents lack adequate access to primary care, dental care, or mental health services. This includes more than 500,000 low-income people in 25 cities and towns in Berkshire, Bristol, Essex, Franklin, Hampden, Middlesex, Suffolk and Worcester Counties.

A new bill before the Massachusetts Legislature aims to narrow the gap by tapping into a major source of underused talent: the 8,000 foreign-trained health professionals living in the Commonwealth, including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, physical therapists and mental health professionals, among others. More than 20 percent of those practitioners are currently unemployed or working in lower-skilled jobs. They have been unable to reenter their professions due to complex and costly licensing requirements, lack of information, and lack of targeted career services.

Read more: Bill aims to mobilize skilled practitioners trained abroad to help meet Mass. healthcare needs

MIRA celebrates federal court orders blocking travel ban

BOSTON, March 16, 2017 – Federal courts have blocked the Trump administration’s travel ban, finding that even though the new Executive Order (EO) is slightly different, it is motivated by religious bias, just like the EO that was struck down in January.

The U.S. District Court for Hawaii issued a temporary restraining order yesterday after finding that the new EO, signed on March 6,  clearly violates of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The court issued a national order blocking the administration from halting the issuance of visas to refugees and citizens of six Muslim countries.

Read more: MIRA celebrates federal court orders blocking travel ban

Revised travel ban persists in repudiation of American values

BOSTON, March 7, 2017 – The MIRA Coalition denounces in the strongest possible terms the revised executive order issued today by the Trump Administration in an effort to circumvent the court order that blocked the original travel ban issued on January 27. This new EO would suspend the U.S. refugee program for 120 days, and stop for 90 days the issuance of visas for travelers from Iran, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia and Yemen, with an exception for U.S. lawful permanent residents.

Iraq was removed from the list of seven majority-Muslim countries in the original ban. The order also cuts by more than half the cap on the number of refugees accepted each year, from 110,000 to 50,000.

Read more: Revised travel ban persists in repudiation of American values