The Immigrant Rights Action Task Force (IRATF) of Jobs with Justice (JwJ) had its first project in the fall of 2003 when it began work on the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride. The task force was able to convene a table that resulted in 1,000 people greeting the two buses that came through St. Louis. JwJ sponsored an Immigrant Rights Action Project following the Freedom Ride, looking to organize leaders from the many and diverse ethnic and immigrant communities in the St. Louis area to speak out on immigrant issues, including comprehensive immigration reform. In 2006, the IRATF and its community partners were able to rally 5,000 people for an interfaith event.
In the fall of 2006, the Missouri House Special Committee on Immigration began to hold hearings around the state. The resulting report issued by the Committee made it clear that the IRATF would be facing a very difficult state legislative session in regard to immigration issues. JwJ hosted a statewide meeting to bring together those groups and individuals who have had informal relationships in the shared struggle for sensible and compassionate immigration policy. That meeting launched the Missouri Immigrant and Refugee Advocates Coalition (MIRA) in November 2006.
Today, MIRA has more than 40 member organizations statewide and has become the premiere immigration public interest group in Missouri. MIRA has established a presence in Jefferson City and throughout the state through education and advocacy. MIRA now welcomes both organizational and individual members.