Our goal is to keep Massachusetts a welcoming place for workers, students, and refugees from around the world, because all residents deserve justice, equality, and dignity.

We work in partnership with the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA) and many other community based organizations to:

  • Promote Comprehensive Immigration Reform on a national level
  • Advocate for the rights and opportunities of immigrants and refugees
  • Work in solidarity with all immigrants to build bridges of understanding and community

How can you help?

Small actions make a great difference. To show your support for positive immigration reform, we encourage you to educate yourself on the issues, attend rallies, sign petitions, and spread awareness. Furthermore, we urge you to contact your state and congressional representatives to communicate your support for impactful legislation.

To follow our recommended actions and become involved in our advocacy efforts, email us at advocacy@iiicenter.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to our newsletter.

CURRENT PRIORITIES

DACA

Following the White House’s September decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, we ask that you take action to support the DREAM Act in Congress. The DACA program, which will be phased out in the next six months, has protected immigrant youth from deportation and made them eligible for work permits, driver’s licenses, and in-state tuition at public colleges and universities. Since 2012, over 800,000 youth have been granted DACA, garnering it broad bipartisan support. The DREAM Act, sponsored by Senators Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., would legislate many of the same protections provided by DACA. Furthermore, it would provide a path to citizenship or permanent legal status if applicants meet certain requirements. We must pass this legislation to ensure that young people throughout this country have access to security and opportunity. Please urge your congressional representatives, House Speaker Paul Ryan, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to speak out publicly in support of the DREAM Act.

Safe Communities Act (S. 1305, H.3269)

Currently before the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security, the Safe Communities Act (SCA) is a statewide bill designed to increase public safety by broadening community trust in local law enforcement. Implementation of federal law is the federal government’s responsibility, not that of individual states. Therefore, the SCA aims to protect local law enforcement from unnecessary and costly entanglement with immigration law enforcement. When immigrants suspected of civil immigration infractions are in the custody of local or state police but eligible for release, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) can request that the police delay the release of those in custody. These detainer requests give ICE time to arrive at the local police station and bring the individuals into their custody. Local law enforcement may cooperate with these requests, but they are not required to do so. We do not believe that local law enforcement should be obligated to imprison Massachusetts residents at the expense of state taxpayers on voluntary ICE detainer requests which do not prove that someone is eligible for deportation.The Massachusetts Supreme Court affirmed this in the August 2017 decision Lunn v. Commonwealth.

The Safe Communities Act would also introduce common sense, trust-building measures such as outlawing the creation of a Muslim registry and prohibiting local law enforcement agencies from deputizing local officials as immigration officers. In partnership with MIRA, the ACLU of Massachusetts, and other immigration organizations, the IIIC has pledged its full support for the Safe Communities Act. Legislators want to see broad support for the SCA in order to move it out of committee, so please contact your representative today.

Temporary Protected Status

The U.S. government offers Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to individuals who flee to the U.S. following extreme crises in their countries. TPS allows foreign nationals to reside and work in the U.S. Currently, there are 10 different countries designated for TPS in the United States, but the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) must renew each country’s TPS every 18 months. At that time, all individuals with TPS must reapply.

In March of 2017, DHS extended TPS for Haitian nationals for just six months—not the typical 18. Furthermore, DHS encouraged Haitians with TPS to prepare to return to Haiti in the event that the Department does not renew their status in January 2018. Thousands of Haitians in Massachusetts and across the country refiled for TPS in July knowing that they could be forced to return to a country unprepared to take them back. Since 2011, the IIIC’s Immigration Legal Services team has supported hundreds of Haitian families, but we remain concerned about the impact on the community should TPS end. We do not believe that anyone should be forced to return to a country in crisis, nor that people who have built a new life for themselves here should be forced to abandon their homes. Therefore, we ask you to contact the Department of Homeland Security and ask them to extended Haitian TPS for another 18 months.

In-State Tuition for Immigrants in Massachusetts

All Massachusetts residents should have access to affordable higher education opportunities. Therefore, we support S.669, a bill that provides immigrant students with access to in-state tuition and financial aid at Massachusetts state colleges and universities. 20 other states have passed similar legislation. Please contact your state representatives and ask them to support S.669.

ICE Detentions

Since January of 2017, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has increased detentions of immigrants by as much as 30% since the same time last year, and the number of arrests of people without a criminal record has more than doubled. The increase in arrests coupled with the elimination of immigration priorities has sparked anxiety and fear in the immigrant community in Massachusetts. Our Center and others have experienced a notable increase in citizenship applications in recent months as well a decrease in the number of people who are willing to report domestic violence, testify in court, and show up to medical appointments. Please encourage your representatives in congress to speak out against these changes, and volunteer with visitation programs which combat the isolating effects of immigrant detention.

 

Revised Travel Ban

The current travel ban, which went into effect on June 29, is causing significant hardship for refugees and family members of the six banned countries. We believe these restrictions are contrary to the American values of welcoming those in need of humanitarian assistance to our shores. The Supreme Court will hear arguments and make a ruling about the legality of the travel ban in October. In the meantime, please support organizations fighting these restrictions, such as the American Civil Liberties Union and Amnesty International.

 

If you have any questions about the IIIC’s advocacy efforts or positions, please email advocacy@iiicenter.org.