>> For those of you who missed the Jan 10th meeting, that included a very informative presentation by staff attorneys Alissa Weinberger and Katherine Reynolds from the MetroWest Legal Services office in Framingham, the recording can be found at
https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/U5LhTY2btWRhnGPFjIygEMnPlv4QmOs7BsuRfftZNTGMsP2a0x1QRF9BnmKvO2nQ.2bh2ykcyzPUOOSsT       Access Passcode: 87@k4PVk
 I asked Alissa how our Task Force could help the attorneys representing asylum seekers by doing research, (not requiring a law degree) to establish factual bases, such as country conditions in the home country of the asylum applicant. [We are also looking into how we might also be trained to assist in preparing applications to qualify for Mass Heath]  After speaking with the managing attorney, Alissa responded that she would be willing to conduct a training session on what to do and how to do it. It would be a significant help that would free up the attorneys to devote their time to the legal issues rather than research that lay people could do.  Any interested folks would only have to sign their office confidentiality agreement, and there is no need for a background check.  Please contact me if you are interested.  If there is interest I will arrange to work out additional details with Alissa.  I would guess most of the work could be done virtually.

 >> Our next meeting will be held on Monday, Feb 14th at 7:30pm. A zoom link will be sent a few days before Valentine’s Day.  The main discussion will deal with the financial status of the Task Force and I urge you to attend because your input is crucial.

 >> Do you feel strongly about an immigration related issue you have read about?  If so, you may wish to let the White House know by calling the main switchboard, 202-456-1111and telling the operator. You can also call the local offices of Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 617-565-3170, Sen. Ed Markey’s at 617-565-8519 and Rep. Jake Auchincloss at 617-332-3333.  All of them keep track of these calls and the numbers or lack of numbers can have an impact.

>> The Congressional Research Service paper, entitled “Immigration Arrests in the Interior of the US: A Primer” dealing with ICE, is found at Https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/LSB/LSB10362  I hope you found the previous papers helpful.

For those of you who had questions that required some research, here are a few answers:

·      At the Jan 10th meeting there was a question about the approval/denial rates of asylum cases heard in the Boston immigration court. TRAC has published the list at https://trac.syr.edu/immigration/reports/judge2021/denialrates.html  Then scroll down to Boston
·      The Immigrant Learning Center has published statistics about the makeup of foreign nationals in Massachusetts. It is a wonderful source for statistical data.  SEE for example:  https://www.ilctr.org/quick-ma-immigration-statistics/?gclid=CjwKCAiAlfqOBhAeEiwAYi43F9WLsd6enfN8Fh_l2jiRZ___WqzgXPCXImQDFIR-1rZ24rxN1kVOrBoCSMsQAvD_BwE
·      In addition, the American Immigration Council has published a helpful Fact Sheet on immigrants in MA as of 2020, https://www.americanimmigrationcouncil.org/research/immigrants-in-massachusetts
>> Bloomberg Government reports that Democrats are trying to regroup on immigration changes in their sweeping tax and social spending bill, even as key proposals face enormous obstacles and the overall package teeters on collapse. In a statement, Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) asserted, “As we work to find a path forward on Build Back Better, I will continue working with my colleagues as we pursue any and all options that will provide much needed legal protections to hard-working undocumented immigrants who only want an opportunity to contribute to America’s future.

>> Reuters reports that Senate Democrats are urging the Biden administration to take executive action to grant Temporary Protected Status  to Central American immigrants from Guatemala and expand eligibility for those from El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Currently, more than 300,000 immigrants from El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua already have TPS. Under the senators’ proposal, at least another two million immigrants would be protected from deportation to their home countries, where natural disasters and crises prevent their safe return. (The president can do so without need for passage of an act of Congress)

>> MIRA names new Executive Director. SEE: https://www.heraldnews.com/story/news/local/ojornal/2022/01/05/mira-names-elizabeth-sweet-executive-director/9106875002/

>> Immigrants are a crucial part of pandemic recovery in the U.S. is the finding of a report published by The Immigrant Learning Center headquartered in Malden, MA.  See: https://myemail.constantcontact.com/New-Report-on-Immigrant-Essential-Workers.html?soid=1119683870831&aid=Ve3UFdZubOg

>> The A P reports that Massachusetts’ two U.S. senators are calling for a review of conditions at the Plymouth County jail for federal immigration detainees. SEE:

>> The next At My Neighbor’s Table Event: Consider learning how to be more effective when you are having challenging conversations.  At My Neighbors Table is hosting guest presenter is Liora Norwich, Executive Director at Network for Social Justice on Sunday, 1/23 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. She has worked in Israel and Palestine to advance social justice and civic engagement through integrated community development initiatives with local partners and international organizations. Liora has 15 years of experience in the nonprofit sector and a deep passion for advancing equity, inclusion, and diversity. Admission is free, registration required for Leaning Into Challenging Conversations: How to Listen, What & How to Say It at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/leaning-into-challenging-conversations-how-to-listen-what-how-to-say-it-tickets-239494643927    Contact Andy Wizer  (awizer@icloud.com  ) for more information.

 >> The International Institute of New England submitted the following:
Please join us Wednesday, January 19 at 5 p.m. for a Virtual Town Hall Webinar on the International Institute of New England’s work with Afghans who have recently resettled in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Registration required  at  https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_SyxSyR2LTAqYhNRK0bj0fw?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=cf4f0ce8-6105-4596-a4c2-09fa1d685b3e
That’s it for now,

 Stay safe

Gerry Rovner