Massachusetts Immigrant & Refugee Advocacy Coalition
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Dear Members and Allies,
the most important recent news for immigrants in Massachusetts is the
most seemingly mundane. Last week, the Commonwealth Connector began
re-enrolling eligible immigrants into the regular state-sponsored health
program, Commonwealth Care.(See below).
This culminates a two-year fight to restore coverage for immigrants who
were shut out of the system after the budget crisis of 2009. It once
again brings Massachusetts closer to meeting the noble ideal of
providing affordable, quality health care coverage for all its
Unfortunately, this quiet conclusion comes on the heels of another loud set of anti-immigrant measures
introduced in the Massachusetts State House, copying the onerous and
punitive bills introduced in state legislatures across the nation.
is one reason we are in the middle of a campaign with the Greater
Boston Citizenship Initiative (GBCI) to help as many eligible
immigrants as possible complete their citizenship applications — so that immigrants can represent their interests more powerfully and directly through civic participation.
GBCI's third clinic, on February 4, was the initiative's largest yet,
serving over 200 Legal Permanent Residents with the help of staff from
six partnering organizations and dozens of volunteers. We hope you can
help us top that number by spreading the word about our next clinic, at Notre Dame Education Center, 200 Old Colony Ave, South Boston (near the Andrew T Stop), on Saturday, March 3 from 11am to 2pm. Click here to register online, or call 617-65-READY for more information.
also plans to branch out with citizenship work state-wide in the coming
months, and we will soon be alerting you about clinics for eligible
Legal Permanent Residents throughout the Commonwealth.
Yet another way to build power together is to save Thursday, May 31 from 6 - 8 p.m. for MIRA's major annual fundraising event, Give Liberty a Hand. Please visit our newly launched website to learn about all the exciting people and events that will form a part of our 25th anniversary celebration. Thank you as always for your support.
Eva A. Millona
February 4 Greater Boston Citizenship Initiative clinic, February 4, at SEIU 615
USCIS to Hold Chinese-language Engagement Sessions
will conduct a national Chinese-language engagement (Jiao liú) session
on Thursday, February 16, from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m Pacific.as part of
the ongoing series of multilingual public engagements. Each Jiao liú
session focuses on an immigration-related topic and includes a
presentation and Q&A session during which USCIS spokespersons
provide explanations of the law, regulations, and forms, but do not
offer legal advice or provide case specific information.
The first national Jiao liú session will promote the Office of Citizenship’s initiative: The Naturalization Process – Becoming a United States Citizen.
The event will be broadcast live from the San Francisco Field Office
and stakeholders may participate via teleconference by calling 1-800-475-8388 (password: Jiao liú), or via live Web stream at http://www.uscis.gov/stream/Live. For further information on this event, please email Public.Engagement@dhs.gov and enter the word “Jiao liu” in the subject line.
Commonwealth Care Restoration for "Special Status" Immigrants
Monday, February 6, the Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector
Authority began sending notices to persons currently enrolled in the
Commonwealth Care Bridge program, informing them that they may enroll in
Commonwealth Care as a result of the recent Supreme Judicial Court
decision in Finch v. Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority.
you have questions about this process, or about whether you are a
"special status" immigrant eligible for Commonwealth Care, you can call
the MIRA Coalition's health care line at 617-350-5480 x222, or the Health Care for All Help Line at 1-800-272-4232.
Individuals will be able to select a Commonwealth Care plan from February 13 - 24, with an effective coverage date of March 1.
enroll in Commonwealth Care, persons in Bridge may either call the
Connector or complete and mail a form, but will not be able to enroll
you are currently enrolled in Bridge and do not select a Commonwealth
Care plan between February 13 and 24, you will be automatically enrolled
in CeltiCare's Commonwealth Care Plan on March 1.
status" immigrants who were unable to receive Bridge coverage, because
they were not enrolled in Commonwealth Care on August 31, 2009, will
receive a notice from the Connector after March 26 informing them that
they may enroll in Commonwealth Care.
At that time, persons will be able to enroll in Commonwealth Care by
phone, mail or website, for an effective coverage date of May 1.
you are on the Bridge waitlist, it is important that you enroll in
Commonwealth Care after you receive a letter from the Connector, as
there will be no auto-enrollment for this population (unlike for those
currently enrolled by Bridge). If you do not enroll within 90 days of
the date in your letter from the Connector, you will lose whatever state
health coverage you may currently have (whether MassHealth Limited or
Health Safety Net).
Immigrant Legislation Hearings, Pro and Con
At the State House this week, MIRA stood for one bill and
against another heard before their committees. To stave off
anti-immigrant legislation, MIRA submitted testimony to the Joint
Committee on the Judiciary in opposition to H 2189, "An act relative to bail factors,"
which would add "immigration status" to the factors that must be
considered when setting bail. This bill would impose high costs to fully
train courts on the complexities of immigration law, and could also
violate defendants' Constitutional rights.
MIRA also submitted testimony to the Joint Committee on Transportation in support of H 3073, "An Act relative to commercial driver licensing," sponsored by New Bedford Representative Antonio Cabral. This bill would direct the registrar of motor vehicles to provide commercial driver's license exams, when requested, in Portuguese and Spanish,
as well as other languages if needed. This bill represents a positive,
constructive proposal to promote integration of Limited English
Proficient immigrants in Massachusetts.
Hearing Scheduled for Anti-Immigrant Bill SB 2061
A hearing for anti-immigrant bill SB 2061 has been tentatively slated before the Joint Committee on the Judiciary on Tuesday, February 28 at 1:00 p.m. Hearings are open to the public, and anyone may submit written or oral testimony. Among its measures, the bill would:
You can read more on this sweeping measure in our press release. If you have questions about this bill or the process for testifying, please contact MIRA State Policy Director Shannon Erwin at 617-350-5480 x222.
Force the state report on the status of implementing the notorious Secure Communities program, and force local police to perform federal immigration checks on anyone held in police custody.
Force small businesses and others contracting with the state to implement the flawed and expensive E-Verify immigration check system.
Permanently bar undocumented immigrant children who have graduated from Massachusetts high schools from receiving in-state tuition rates (changing the current regulation into a law)
Force the attorney general to investigate any allegation that a worker is undocumented, no matter how spurious.
Force the Department of Revenue to produce official anti-immigrant propaganda on the "strain" caused by undocumented immigrants, with no mention of any possible benefits.
Evict families with undocumented members from state-sponsored public housing, even if those families include impoverished U.S. citizen children.
Next Citizenship Clinic March 3
Saturday, March 3, 2012 • 11am—2pm
Notre Dame Education Center
200 Old Colony Ave • South Boston, MA
In collaboration with MIRA, the Fish Family Foundation and community organizations, the Greater Boston Citizenship Initiative will
provide free application assistance for Legal Permanent Residents
eligible to apply for US Citizenship. To be eligible, you must:
who are not able to afford the $680 application fee will receive
assistance with a fee waiver application if they (1) receive
means-tested benefits or (2) have a household income below 150% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
Have had a green card for at least 5 years (3 years in certain limited circumstances);
Be at least 18 years old;
Be able to read, write, and speak basic English (unless you qualify for an age exemption or a disability waiver); and
Have no serious criminal issue.
Enter to Win Prizes!
GBCI is pleased to announce that applicants who provide proof
that they have submitted their application to USCIS will be entered
into a drawing to receive either (1) paid citizenship application fees for you and a family members ($1360 total) OR (2) a gift card for $500 in groceries!
For informational fliers in other languages, please visit our website.
15th Annual International Women's Day Breakfast
Linda K. Paresky Conference Center
Thursday, March 8, 2012
Ending Violence Against Women: Pathways to Power, Resilience & Leadership
Please RSVP at http://iwd2012.eventbrite.com
Suggested donation of $6 at the door
Commemorate International Women’s Day
Hosted by Association of Haitian Women
Natacha Clerger, US Army/USAR
Mèt Kò Veye Kò: Defann Tèt Ou
Protecting Your Body: Self Defense
Saturday, March 10, 2012
9:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Boston Public Library/Mattapan Branch
1350 Blue Hill Ave
Mattapan, MA 02124
Refreshments will be served
For more information please call AFAB at (617) 287-0096
Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers (MAPS) Hosts Public Office Workshops
The Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers (MAPS), in partnership with MassVOTE and with support from the CPCU Credit Union, is pleased to invite you to participate in Ready, Set, Run!
– a new 4-part workshop series designed to train community leaders on
how to run for public office. We think this is an important way to build
Portuguese-speaking leadership capacity and empower our communities.
The workshops will be held at the MAPS office at 1046 Cambridge Street
in Cambridge on 4 consecutive Tuesdays in March, from 7-9 pm, beginning
Tuesday, March 6th. The registration fee is $50.00 per person.
Session 1: Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Why run for office? What does it take to win?
Session 2: Tuesday, March 13, 2012
How many votes does it take to win?
Session 3: Tuesday, March 20, 2012
How do I get volunteers and campaign money?
Session 4: Tuesday, March 27, 2012
What's my message? How do I get elected and keep everything organized and legal?
more information and to register visit www.maps-inc.org or contact
Deolinda Da Veiga at (617) 864-7600 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Anti-Defamation League Sponsors 5th Annual 'A Nation of Immigrants' Community Seder
Sunday, March 11, 2012
For more information, contact email@example.com or call 617-406-6364.
Sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League, New England
How to Start a Small Business Information Session
Hosted by The Workplace
Tuesday, February 21
11:00 am sharp
29 Winter Street 4th Floor
Downtown Boston 02108
Space is limited. You MUST sign up to reserve a seat!
(617) 737-0093 x 3001- www.theworkplace.org
and managing a business takes motivation, desire and talent. It also
takes research and planning. Come learn how the U.S. Small Business
Administration can help you achieve your goal starting and expanding
your business. General information will be provided on the following
programs and services:
SCORE – Counselors to America’s Small Business
Small Business Development Centers
Women’s Business Centers
SBA Loan Guaranty Program
8(a) Business Development Program
HUBZone (Historically Underutilized Business Zones) Program
Government Contracting Opportunities
Seeking Volunteers to Teach Conversation Groups
Mark Community Education Program is a community-based ESOL and
Citizenship program for adult immigrants, offering 5 ESOL classes,
evenings and weekends to serve working adult immigrants. The
Citizenship program, in partnership with the Irish International
Immigrant Center, offers a Saturday morning class to help applicants
with the literacy skills, speaking skills, and knowledge of U.S. history
and government necessary to pass their Citizenship interviews.
addition, the St. Mark Community Education Program is offering
volunteer-run Conversation Groups on Thursday evenings 7-8:30pm and
Saturday mornings 10-11:30am. These groups provide more opportunity to
learn and practice English for students in the classes and provide a
place for any community members to learn and improve their speaking and
listening abilities in English. If you are interested in
teaching adults and supporting immigrants in our communities, please
contact Donna Kaye, Executive Director, at 617 288-8515 or
AmeriCorps New American Integration Program Positions Available
Partnership of the MA Office for Refugees and Immigrants, the
Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, and English for
New American Integration Program recruits committed individuals from
diverse backgrounds to assist and strengthen the work of community based
organizations that serve refugees and immigrants. Our diverse group
represents 21 different countries and speaks 23 different languages.
Members will assist refugee and immigrant communities in obtaining
essential services and educational opportunities that enable them to
improve their quality of life. NAIP members receive intensive training
to teach English for Speakers of Other Languages, serve as medical
interpreters, and assist eligible Legal Permanent Residents in their
applications for citizenship.
term of the service for this position continues from the start of
service through August 31, 2012, with the possibility to reapply for a
full-year position (Sep 2012-Aug 2013). The member will be expected to
complete at least 900 hours of service at their host site through the
duration of their service.
Members interested in this service opportunity will receive:
Positions are available immediately.
A living allowance
Education Award upon successfully completing term of service
If interested, please send email to NAIPCoordinator@MassMail.state.ma.us.
NAIP AmeriCorps Members at a training
The Barbara Lee Family Foundation / Barbara Lee Political Office is Hiring
Two open positions for a Communications Manager and an Administrative Assistant.
The Communications Manager
works with the Principal and Executive Director to promote the work of
the Foundation and Political Office. This position reports to the
The Administrative Assistant
supports the Executive Director and other staff, as assigned. This
position reports to the Executive Director. The Barbara Lee Family
Foundation (BLFF) supports progressive initiatives in two primary
program areas: women in politics and contemporary art. The Barbara Lee
Political Office (BLPO) manages Barbara Lee’s political projects,
fundraising, and contributions to organizations and candidates. The Lee
Family Office (LFO) manages administrative functions for Barbara Lee.
Interested candidates should contact Moire Carmody at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a full job description and application instructions.
In This Bulletin
Member to Member
Save the Date
FREE Citizenship Clinic
Saturday, March 3
200 Old Colony Ave •
South Boston, MA
For more information contact us at
P: 617-350-5480 F: 617-350-5499