Release of White House Recommendations on Immigrant Integration Celebrated at "Immigrants Day at the State House"
MIRA Executive Director announces release of federal report on strengthening immigrant integration before over 700 immigrants at 19th annual State House Even.
BOSTON — "Sometime today, the White House will release the federal government's historica action plan on immigrant and refugee integration," announced Eva Millona, Executive Director of the MIRA Coalition, at the State House today.
"The transformative potential of this action plan can hardly be overstated. For the first time in our nation’s history, it institutionalizes the principles of immigrant integration in the highest office of our land, the White House, thus enshrining in deed what our words across the ages have often said — that immigration is a core part of this nation’s character, of its exceptional place on the world stage."
Appropriately, Ms. Millona was speaking before more than 700 immigrants who gathered in the Gardner Auditorium for the 19th annual Immigrants Day at the State House, an event whose theme was "When We Unite, We Win."
"The release of this plan speaks to the theme of today’s gathering, showing how partnerships, coalitions, can still in these fractious times find ways to work around our gridlock and make real progress in the lives of millions," said Ms. Millona/ "I am very proud that MIRA was a key player in helping shape the recommendations that were submitted to the Task Force in our position as co-chairs of the National Partnership for New Americans, one among a select group of national organizations that provided this input to the White House. I thank NPNA for this opportunity, and also contributing partners the Migration Policy institute Institute's National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy, and Welcoming America."
The 64-page action plan released by the White House today touches on topics including building welcoming communities, strengthening pathways to citizenship, fostering entrepreneurship and small business growth, and expanding opportunities for English language acquisition. (See the fact sheet summary).
Ms. Millona also emphasized the importance of building new coalitions and strengthening old ones to create more opportunities to move forward at a time when DACA and DAPA implementation are stalled by a federal lawsuit. To that end, the event included Boston City Councillor Ayanna Pressley, as well as Senior Pastor at Leon de Juda ministry Roberto Miranda. Both spoke forcefully of the need to pass bills that would acknowledge that improved immigrant integration helps all resients of the state, including the Safe Driving Bill, the Trust Act and the Tuition Equity Bill.
Other highlights of the event included Representative Dan Cullinane's leading of the Pledge of Allegiance, Senator Jason Lewis' welcoming remarks stressing his own immigrant background from South Africa, and a testimonial on the importance of English classes from New American Elisabeta Nasi and about the promise of DAPA and importance of the Safe Driving Bill by domestic violence survivor Zoila Lopez, and a performance of Afro-Venezuelan jazz by the Fabio Rojas Trio.
"Immigrants come with a loaf of bread under their arm," said Reverend Miranda in a biblical reference to the spiritual nourishment which newcomers bring to this country. "We need to consider immigration from a place of grace and generosity, not narrow legalese."
"There are many reasons hundreds of us came out today," concluded event MC Ayanna Pressley. "To support solid funding for English classes here in the seventh largest immigrant state in the nation; to protect the housing of mixed-status families and those suffering from domestic violence; to support the LOOK Bill and open up language opportunities for native and foreign-born students alike. When we unite together behind these various causes, then all immigrants win, all native-born Massachusetts residents win, and our diversity becomes a point of strength, not division."