Archive for the ‘News’ Category

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.

Stop Discrimination Against College Students

Thursday, March 24th, 2016

The Missouri Senate is in the process of crafting the state’s budget for this year. Again this year, immigrant college students are in the being put at risk by the inclusion of a provision in the appropriations bill for higher education that would require students with DACA and certain other immigrant statuses to pay up to three times the rate of tuition as their classmates AND prohibit those same students from receiving institutional scholarships.

This policy hurts students and families, and is bad for our economy. Join MIRA in urging senators to remove the anti-student language from HB 2003 by having your organization listed on this petition.

David Bacon’s Photo Essay Feat. St. Louis Airport Taxi Drivers

Monday, February 22nd, 2016



Read David Bacon’s latest photo essay featuring taxi drivers at St. Louis Airport. The essay includes personal stories of local drivers and highlights the impact a welcoming community can provide for new immigrants.  Read in full here: Taxi Drivers of the back 40

Photo Credit: David Bacon.

Stay Calm: Information About Recent Deportations

Thursday, January 28th, 2016


Please review and share the following resources (English and Spanish) provided by the Catholic Legal Immigration Network. Contact MIRA for more information.



MIRA 2016 Advocacy Day

Friday, January 15th, 2016

Join us in Jefferson City on March 9th, 2016!

This is your chance to meet face-to-face with lawmakers to discuss what’s important for immigrants and refugees in your community. RSVP today!
Our elected officials hear all kinds of stories about immigrants and refugees. They hear from national anti-immigration organizations, they hear from reporters on cable news, they hear from politicians in other states, but now, more than ever, your senators and representatives need to hear from YOU!

We will provide all the materials you need, teach you how to get a meeting with legislators, how to talk about legislation, and provide a brief orientation to the Capitol. Carpools will be organized from different parts of the state. A bag lunch will also be provided.

Take Action to Protect Refugees

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

As politicians in Missouri and around the country seek to turn away refugee families seeking a new life in the U.S., MIRA stands with Gov. Nixon and others who are refusing to discriminate against refugees. Add your voice to those standing up to make Missouri a safe and welcoming place!

For individuals: Click Here to send an email to your state legislators telling them to do the right thing and welcome refugees from Syria and elsewhere.

For organizations and congregations: Click Here to list your organization or faith community as a supporter of  safety and inclusion for refugee families.

MIRA Coalition Supports Welcoming Refugees to Missouri

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 17, 2015

As politicians around the country call for a halt to resettling Syrian refugees in the U.S., Missouri Immigrant and Refugee Advocates supports Gov. Nixon in his refusal to discriminate against refugee families.  At a time when hundreds of thousands of refugees are fleeing mortal danger it is imperative that our communities rise to the call to make our state a welcoming refuge for individuals and families seeking a new start in a safe place.

In order to qualify for refugee status to the U.S., individuals are subjected to a lengthy vetting process.  Of the hundreds of thousands of refugees currently awaiting resettlement in camps in the Middle East, only a fraction of those will be admitted to the U.S.  Rather than succumbing to fear-mongering, Missouri and our neighbors must honor the American tradition of welcoming those seeking a better life in this country.

“The attacks in Paris, Beirut, and elsewhere in the past week highlight the danger that is forcing Syrians and refugees around the world from their homes to seek relocation to the United States,” said Vanessa Crawford Aragón, Executive Director of MIRA.  “Rather than politicizing those tragedies, elected leaders in Missouri and around the nation should be following the lead of residents and community organizations and standing up for refugee families.”

For information on the resettlement process and other questions related to the Syrian refugee crisis, please see this FAQ from the International Institute of St Louis:

Missouri Immigrant and Refugee Advocates is a statewide coalition dedicated to making Missouri welcoming and inclusive for immigrants and refugees of all backgrounds.



“Looking Among Us: Cross-Cultural Connections,” Celebrates MIRA’s 10th Anniversary

Monday, November 16th, 2015
Maya Angelou by Dail Chambers

Maya Angelou by Dail Chambers

Inspired by a far-ranging set of muses from the Mississippi River to the women of the Bible to ancient Indian painting techniques, the artists featured at our exhibit, “Looking Among Us: Cross-Cultural Connections,” which celebrates the unique cultural heritage of seven Missouri artists and our 10th anniversary.

“Art is a universal language that fosters understanding between people from all walks of life,” said MIRA Executive Director Vanessa Crawford Aragón. “MIRA’s work recognizes the intrinsic value of all people and supports any effort in Missouri to create a welcoming climate for immigrants and refugees.”

The seven featured artists are Dail Chambers, Holly Roe, Pratima Murali, Nicole Cooper, Jeane Vogel, Shilpa Rao and Sukanya Mani.

You can still see it! It runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. this Monday through Friday and Sunday, November 22 from 2 to 5 p.m.