Archive for the ‘News’ Category

MIRA Hires New Executive Director

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

Welcome Marie-Aimée Abizera!

_MG_1487

Marie-Aimée Abizera brings both professional and personal passion for helping immigrants and refugees thrive. She comes to MIRA with expertise in program creation, fundraising strategies, and resource management. Aimée has worked extensively with different immigrant and refugee groups and understands their plight not only through her work, but through her own experience.

Aimée was born in Kigali, Rwanda, where she lived until the Rwandan genocide began against the Tutsi in 1994. Her family managed to survive the mass murders that took a million lives in the span of a hundred days. With her family, Aimée migrated to Nairobi, Kenya. They lived as refugees in Kenya for six years until they were later resettled in Nashville.

Prior to joining MIRA, Aimée led in the creation of and the development efforts for Legacy Mission Village, a non-profit organization based in Nashville. Legacy Mission Village serves immigrants and refugees in Middle Tennessee with the goal of advocating for their rights and empowering them to achieve their full potential.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology from Covenant University in Chattanooga, Tenn., and a master’s degree in counseling from Argosy University.

Aimée lives in St. Louis with her partner, a medical fellow at Saint Louis University.

She begins as executive director on July 1.

Statement on the U.S. Supreme Court’s Immigration Ruling

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

June 23, 2016

Supreme Court’s Ruling on Administrative Relief Hurts Missouri Communities

Economy Will Suffer From Loss of Workers and Subsequent Tax Revenue

ST. LOUIS —  Missouri will lose both economic and social benefits from the millions of immigrants who no longer have temporary relief from deportation and work access after the U.S. Supreme Court’s split ruling on President Obama’s two Administrative Reliefs programs, according to a coalition of statewide and local immigrant advocacy organizations.

This week the Supreme Court released its ruling on United States v. Texas. At question was if President Obama’s immigration relief policies, expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA+) and the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) would move forward. The Court’s 4-4 tie left in place an appeals court ruling which blocks the two programs.

A ruling in favor of both DACA+ and DAPA would have deferred the deportation of qualified individuals with work authorization for three years, allowing them to continue to contribute significantly to our local economy.

“Those who would have benefited from this relief are people who have been part of our community for a long time,” said Kristine Walentik, staff attorney with St. Francis Community Services Catholic Immigration Law Project. “Without expanded DACA and DAPA, they are not only living in fear of deportation, but a loss of their economic contribution is a loss of tax revenue for Missouri.”

The U.S. economy would gain $41 billion in new tax revenue over the next decade if DACA+ and DAPA were implemented, according to estimates from the Missouri Immigrant and Refugee Advocates (MIRA).

Missouri would have also benefited from workers and young people competing on a fair playing field for jobs and education. “Administrative Relief would have been a real opportunity to embrace a welcoming approach toward immigrant communities,” said David Nehrt-Flores, organizer with MIRA. “Our state leaders need to work on policies that spur economic growth and community vitality instead of anti-immigrant vitriol.”

Now, the U.S. Congress must act to pass meaningful comprehensive immigration reform. “With the removal of expanded DACA and DAPA as options for temporary relief, the time to enact a roadmap to citizenship for the 11 million with undocumented status is now.” said Nicole Cortés, co-director of the Migrant and Immigrant Community Action Project.

Community Meeting:

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

Next Steps for Administrative Relief

June 29, 2016 6:00 – 7:30 pm

MIRA: 2725 Clifton Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63139

Join us for an information session on the next steps for Administrative Relief. Hear from community groups and organizations on the issues surrounding the U.S. Supreme Court’s upcoming ruling on DACA+ and DAPA. This meeting is free and open to the public.

RSVP now

Webinar:

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

Understanding the U.S. Supreme Court Ruling on Immigration

June, 28th 10:00-11:00am CT

The United States Supreme Court issued its ruling on U.S. v. Texas this week. This ruling will impact President Obama’s two administration relief programs and the lives of millions of immigrants across the country. Join us for a free webinar hosted by MIRA and the Immigrant Service Provider Network.

This webinar will bring together immigration advocates and attorneys who will highlight how we got here, what the ruling means for DAPA and DACA, and help prepare us to answer questions from community members about the Supreme Court ruling.

Sign Up Now

POSTPONED: Javier Mendoza Benefit Concert at the Wine Press

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

 

Javier MendozaDue to scheduling conflicts, the Javier Mendoza concert has unfortunately been postponed. However, we are working to reschedule the concert and bring you a great dinner and Javier’s beautiful music at a later date. We apologize for the short notice, and will be sure to keep you updated on the rescheduled show. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call us at (314) 669-1288 or e-mail us at info@mira-mo.org. Thank you for your understanding and continued support.

Join us for Javier Mendoza at the Wine Press

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016
He’s back… the unique and ever-popular Javier Mendoza is back at the Wine Press! Friday, June 10 at 7pm!
Click here for tickets.
Javier’s an accomplished singer & songwriter who’s won “Best Solo Artist” at the Riverfront Time’s Music Awards, and has had songs featured on MTV’s Real World. He’s had multiple magazine features, live performances, and TV guest appearances.  He’s also worked with some of the best musicians in the region and shared the stage with the likes of Willie Nelson, Blues Traveler, Everclear, Los Lobos, The Roots, Ben Folds, Idina Menzel, Duran Duran, and many more.
Friday, June 10
Dinner at 7pm, Concert at 8pm
The Wine Press
4426 Olive Street
St Louis, MO 63108
Tickets available here.
Buffet dinner menu: Chicken and Steak, Assorted Cheeses, Fruits, Vegetables, the Wine Press’s wonderful ciabatta bread, and dessert.
For $60 per person,  the dinner buffet, and this special fundraising concert for MIRA will be the second to last community evening at the Wine Press.
Seating is limited, reservations are required. Please click here to purchase your tickets.

ISPU Conducts Survey, “American Muslims in the 2016 Election and Beyond: Principles and Strategies for Greater Political Engagement”

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

ISPUThe Institute for Social Policy and Understanding recently conducted a survey entitled, “American Muslims in the 2016 Election and Beyond: Principles and Strategies for Greater Political Engagement.”  This is the most comprehensive survey of American Muslim political behaviors, and the recently released findings will go a long way in informing political and civic engagement in the American Muslim community. Read more on the survey and results here.

Cost of Brain Drain

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

 

Keeping DREAMers Out of College

 

Fiscal Policy Institute’s full report here

Job Announcement: Join MIRA’s Team!

Friday, April 15th, 2016

MIRA is seeking a full-time executive director to lead the coalition and guide day-to-day operations of the statewide advocacy organization.  The Executive Director will work with staff, coalition members, and the Board of Directors to develop and support programming that advances MIRA’s mission and builds the sustainability of the organization.  The ideal candidate will be an experienced organizer, advocate and fundraiser who is committed to immigrant rights, racial equality, and social justice.

For full details and directions for making application, click here.  Submissions are due by May 15, 2016.

 

Statement of Anti-Student Discrimination in State Budget

Friday, April 8th, 2016

Missouri Immigrant and Refugee Advocates deeply disappointed by the Senate passage of HB 2003, the appropriations bill for the Department of Higher Education, which contains title language directing colleges to discriminate against certain immigrant students in tuition and scholarship policies. This language, while non-binding, has been implemented by colleges and universities around the state since its inclusion in the 2015 budget.   This mean-spirited attack on immigrant students and their families devalues both education and students, and takes a short-sighted view of Missouri’s economic future.

The policy targets DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival) recipients, who were brought to the US as children and who are lawfully present, work-authorized taxpayers. It is shameful that in the face of hearing from hundreds of impacted students and community supporters, and a bipartisan call to remove the anti-immigrant language, legislators have passed a budget bill that enshrines discrimination in its title.

As a result of the skyrocketing tuition rates this policy has foisted on immigrant students, many have dropped out or transferred out of state. Missouri will continue to lose these students to Kansas, Illinois and others states that value the contributions of immigrant students and their families. Far from saving the state or colleges money, HB 2003 will cost schools tuition-paying students. It is a disgrace when Missouri’s leaders refuse to invest in qualified students and instead attack their dreams of opportunity.

The General Assembly should be working to make Missouri a welcoming place for all families, and encouraging more Missourians to go to college, not driving capable, motivated students out of our state. MIRA and our partners will continue to build power in our communities, and to work for equity for immigrant students.