Archive for the ‘News’ Category

ISPN Kick Off Event!

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

ISPN kickoff flyer



Coalition statement on legislative override of veto on Senate Bill 224

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

Missouri Immigrant and Refugee Advocates and our coalition partners are gravely disappointed in the passage of anti-immigrant, anti-student SB 224, which closes the A+ Scholarship program to Missouri students who are not U.S. citizens or green card holders.  As a result of today’s veto override, hundreds of lawfully present immigrant students around the state of Missouri will be denied a scholarship they have earned, and they will be denied solely because they are immigrants and refugees.

Students who qualify for the A+ Scholarship must meet strenuous qualifications, including excelling in coursework, volunteering to tutor younger students, and maintaining excellent attendance and discipline records. As a result of SB 224, many students who have graduated from Missouri public high schools who have met all of these requirements will be discriminated against.  Individuals who will be disqualified include lawfully present immigrants and refugees, including asylum seekers and children of parents with visas.

In addition to enduring the injustices of the passage of SB 224, Missouri’s immigrant students are also contending with anti-immigrant instructions in HB 3, the appropriations bill for the Department of Higher Education.  That bill instructs colleges and universities to charge students who have been granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals relief (DACA) out-of-state or international tuition rates as well as revoking their institutional scholarships.  While this language is non-binding, it is being widely implemented by schools around the state, resulting in Missouri students being charged double or triple tuition while losing access to any institutional scholarship.

“MIRA and our coalition partners are organized, and will not stop our fight against this anti-immigrant, anti-student agenda,” said Vanessa Crawford Aragón, Executive Director of MIRA.  “We are working with students, their families, and allies around the state to make college accessible to all Missouri students, regardless of their immigration status.  Legislators should be working to make our state a welcoming place where all residents have the ability to succeed.  We look forward to addressing the larger tuition issue in the coming session.”

Karissa Anderson, Policy Manager for the Scholarship Foundation of St Louis said, “We are deeply disappointed in the legislature’s decision, but we will continue to work until higher education is accessible and affordable for all.”

Yara Puente, student leader from the Kansas-Missouri DREAM Alliance, remarked “As a result of these discriminatory policies, students like me are being discouraged from getting an education, or being forced to leave Missouri to go to college. We will continue to pursue equal access to education, as well standing against any other anti-immigrant measures.”



Take action and support DACA students

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015

Lawmakers and Administrators:

End Discrimination Against Immigrant Students!DACA students petition

A non-binding, unconstitutional insertion in the state budget for the Department of Higher Education has resulted in colleges around the state raising tuition rates and revoking scholarships for some immigrant students.  As a result of these changes, many DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) students are unable to attend college.

This discrimination must stop!  Sign our petition to tell college administrators to stop voluntarily complying with discriminatory policies and state legislators to end their agenda of discrimination against immigrant students.

Sign Here 

MIRA’s 10th Anniversary Celebration

Thursday, August 20th, 2015


Missouri Immigrant & Refugee Advocates’ 10th Anniversary Celebration

This year is MIRA’s 10th anniversary. To celebrate we are hosting two events in Kansas City and St. Louis. Please join us and buy tickets today. We also invite you to become a host or sponsor of the events.

St. Louis: November 12th 5-7 pm, 1223 Pine St.


Kansas City: November 21st 5-8 pm, 3900 Troost Ave.


Host and sponsored Ads will appear in the Art Show Exhibit Book which will be made available to everyone who views the art exhibit and who attend any of the 10th Anniversary Events. The Exhibit Book will be 8 1/2 X 11 inches.

Become a Host or Sponsor

Free Webinar

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

The Immigrant Service Provider Network Presents: 

Understanding the Immigrant Client’s Experience 

September 2nd, 2015 1:00 – 2:00 pm 

Registration now open.

Stop Discrimination against Missouri’s DREAMers!

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

You may have seen the news, just a month before classes start, Missouri DREAMers at several colleges and universities are beingblind-sided by skyrocketing tuition and a loss of scholarships!

We should be encouraging as many students as possible to excel in college, not to discouraging immigrant students from seeking a college degree in the state we call home.

We need Governor Jay Nixon to use his power  to end discrimination against Missouri’s immigrant students

Take action and support immigrant students today!

MIRA Statement on Gov. Nixon’s Veto of SB 224

Saturday, July 11th, 2015

Missouri Immigrant and Refugee Advocates welcome’s Governor Nixon’s veto of SB 224, which would prevent immigrant students from accessing Missouri’s A+ Scholarship program.  Gov. Nixon is quite right that the students harmed by this bill are some of Missouri’s best students, excelling in Missouri high schools and volunteering in the community as part of the program’s eligibility standards.  Barring them from receiving this scholarship on the basis of their immigration status is not only discriminatory, but it is counterproductive to discourage local students from obtaining a college degree in an economic reality where states and localities are competing to recruit the best and brightest.

While we applaud this action on SB 224, another policy passed by the legislature this year is creating another barrier to education for Missouri’s immigrant students.  Legally non-binding title language in HB 3, the appropriations bill for the Department of Higher Education, contained instructive language to colleges and universities to charge students who have been granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals relief (DACA) out-of-state or international tuition rates as well as revoking their institutional scholarships.  While this language is non-binding, some universities have begun to notify students that their tuition rates are skyrocketing and their scholarships are being revoked, as soon as this coming semester.

“We thank Gov. Nixon for taking a stand for immigrant students by vetoing SB 224,” said MIRA’s Executive Director, Vanessa Crawford Aragón.  “But as long as schools are raising tuition rates and revoking scholarships for DACA students, immigrant Missourians remain discriminated against in access to education.  MIRA calls on Governor Nixon to take a stand on HB3, and to instruct Missouri colleges and universities to stop discrimination against students on the basis of their immigration status.”

Join the Fight! Become a Sustaining Donor Today!

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

Together, MIRA has accomplished some big things, and we need your help to take it to the next level!  By using your credit or debit card to make a small monthly contribution to MIRA, you help create a reliable source of income for our organization that allows us to:

  • Respond quickly to threats from the legislature or local governments against immigrant and refugee families
  • Develop new programs to meet community needs.
  • Continue our work to educate policymakers, train new leaders, and expand our efforts to combat discrimination.marchers with banner

 Click here to become a sustaining donor to MIRA.  By donating $10, $15, or $20 on a monthly basis, your contribution helps make Missouri a more welcoming and respectful place for immigrants YEAR-ROUND!


Monday, May 4th, 2015

“Looking Among Us: Cross Cultural Connections”


The Missouri Immigrant & Refugee Advocates (MIRA) is seeking two to three Missouri artists to participate in its’ 4th Art Exhibit which opens at the Community Center at Old North on Friday, November 6, 2015, with a reception from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. The show will be open to the public without charge for three weeks.   The exhibit is anchored by Saint Louis visual artists Dail Chambers and Sukanya Mani.  Chambers addresses her African roots.  Mani, a first generation immigrant, showcases art forms from India.

MIRA seeks additional artists whose work connects with the nation’s multi-cultural heritage, whether by addressing the social, economic, and political obstacles that different groups in our country have faced or by celebrating the diversity that forms us.   Selected artists will produce 15 to 30 pieces, ranging in price from $25 to $350, for exhibition.  MIRA will retain 30 percent of all sales, and selected artists will receive 70 percent of all sales.

Artists interested in participating are asked to submit a completed entry form and a maximum of four (4) jpeg images or slides by the close of business on Friday, July 3, 2015.

The jurors reserve the right to make all decisions regarding eligibility of work.  There is NO entry fee for this show.  Each slide or digital image submitted should indicate artist’s first and last name, title, medium, and dimensions. Digital images or slides will be accepted with a completed entry form. Selected artists will be notified no later than Friday, July 24, 2015.

DAPA Pre-Screening Workshops

Friday, March 13th, 2015

Join MIRA and the Immigrant Service Provider Network for our DAPA  pre-screening workshops. These workshops are  an opportunity for community members to get prepared to file DAPA applications later this year.  All workshops will be at 1-5 pm.
Sunday, March 22nd : St. Charles Borromeo

Sunday, April 12th: St. Cecilia

Sunday, April 26th: Holy Trinity
DAPA Pre-Screening Clinic Flyer_MO-page-001