MIRA 2016 Advocacy Day

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

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

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: http://www.iistl.org/Syria.html

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

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.

Exhibit on Legacy of Civil Rights Leader César Chávez Opens at St. Louis Public Library

November 16th, 2015
Cesar Chavez

César Chávez at work in the community garden at La Paz in Keene, California by Cathy Murphy, 1976. Photo reprinted with permission of the César E. Chávez Foundation and Cathy Murphy.

One of the great civil rights leaders of the 20th century, Cesar Chávez experienced the hardships of being a migrant farm worker and the sting of racial discrimination. He spent his life advocating for the rights of farmworkers and dedicated himself to community organizing activities and later founded the first farm workers’ union.

On Nov. 12, internationally famed photographer David Bacon opened In His Own Words: The Life and Work of César Chávez, an exhibit featuring 38 photographs paired with excerpts from Chávez’s dynamic speeches, interviews, and authoritative writings.

The exhibit will be on display at the Saint Louis Public Library, Carnegie Room, 1301 Olive St., 63103 from Nov. 12 to Dec. 12. Hours are Monday – Thursday, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Friday – Saturday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

The free exhibit that documents Chávez’s remarkable life and career is also part of the celebration of the 10th anniversary of MIRA.

In His Own Words: The Life and Work of César Chávez is an exhibition by Humanities Texas, a state affiliate of the National Endowment of the Humanities. It is available in St. Louis as part of the Missouri Latinos Initiative, a joint project made possible by the Diversity Committee of the St. Louis Public Library, Missouri Immigrant and Refugee Advocates (MIRA), the Missouri Humanities Council and the Hispanic Arts Council. For more information, please visit missourilatinos.org.

Read the full story from St. Louis Public Radio here.

Looking Among Us: Cross-Cultural Connections

November 2nd, 2015



For more details, and to RSVP, Click Here.

Join the Immigrant Service Providers’ Network

October 14th, 2015

For questions, email info@mira-mo.org or call 314-669-1288.

ISPN Kick Off Event!

September 17th, 2015

ISPN kickoff flyer



Coalition statement on legislative override of veto on Senate Bill 224

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

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