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BOSTON – Wednesday, March 29 was the first Immigrants & Refugees Day on the Hill since the pandemic.

It was also the first Immigrants Day at the State House for first-time State Representative Priscila Sousa (D-Framingham), who was born in Brazil.

More than 250 people packed the Great Hall at The State House to celebrate Immigrants & Refugees Day .

MIRA Coalition’s 27th annual Immigrants Day at the State House, focused on the theme of new beginnings.

Many attendees were excited that the Work and Family Mobility Act passed last year.

The act provides a pathway for undocumented immigrants to be able to obtain a Massachusetts driver’s license.

Gov. Maura Healey spoke during the event.

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“I’m excited to be back in person for the MIRA Coalition’s Immigrants’ Day at the State House to celebrate the contributions of immigrants and refugees in Massachusetts,” said Governor Maura T. Healey. “I’m grateful for the important work that MIRA and its members do year after year to support our communities, especially when it comes to language access and housing security. Our administration is committed to continuing this partnership to ensure Massachusetts is a home where everyone has access to opportunity.

The Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA) is now advocating for the Language Access and Inclusion Act. The Act would require agencies within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to provide public information and services in different languages.

The MIRA Coalition is also advocating for Tuition Equity Act. The Act calls for Massachusetts high school graduates, regardless of immigration status, to have access to in-state tuition.

Today’s event makes clear how far Massachusetts has come in expanding immigrant and refugee rights.” said MIRA Coalition Executive Director Elizabeth Sweet. “But it also shows how much more work is left to do, from bolstering language access at public-facing state agencies, to creating a pathway to permanent licensure for internationally-trained physicians, to securing in-state tuition equity for individuals regardless of immigration status. We look forward to working with Governor Healey, Speaker Mariano and the rest of the legislature in making even more progress on behalf of immigrants and refugees who call Massachusetts home.

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“Immigrants day at the State House was amazing,” said Rep. Sousa, who met with Brazilian Women’s Group – Grupo Mulher Brasileira, Health Ministry, SourceHub, and MassBay Community College.

The event was emceed by State Representative Danillo A. Sena of Acton. Besides the Governor, the other speakers were:

House Speaker Ron Mariano

State Representative Rita A. Mendes of Brockton

Hiba Senhaj of the Driving Families Forward Coalition

Brenda Romero of the Mass Speaks Coalition 

Dr. Laith Altatwari, Internationally-Trained Physician

Elizabeth Sweet, Executive Director of the MIRA Coalition

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Editor’s Note: Photos courtesy of State Rep. Priscila Sousa. Portion of this report came from a press release from MIRA.

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By editor

Susan Petroni is the former editor for SOURCE. She is the founder of the former news site, which as of May 1, 2023, is now a self-publishing community bulletin board. The website no longer has a journalist but a webmaster.