>> Our next ZOOM meeting will be held on Monday evening, Feb 12th, at 7:30PM.  Please send me any items you wish to add to the agenda.

>> Cheryl reports  “Good snowy morning  — we received the Mass Council/ Needham Council for Arts and Culture grant funding – however for $400 not the $750 requested. So we will need to discuss finances a bit —both with Cheryl/Suitcase Stories regarding what the lowest fee she can charge us and… where we may be able to make up the difference.  Bill – there are some financial attachments at the bottom of this page that we can go over at a later time. Interesting – it is a reimbursement model.  Fantastic job Cheryl!”

>> The Minutes from our Jan 8th meeting is attached below>> Many of us have a hard time understanding Humanitarian Parole and Asylum.  I came across two short articles that may be of interest to you: 1.  Fact Sheet dated Jan 12, 2024 Understanding the Importance of Humanitarian Parole in the U.S. Immigration System” ( https://www.americanimmigrationcouncil.org/sites/default/files/research/understanding-humanitarian-parole-factsheet.pdf  )
2.  Fact Sheet dated Jan 2024, Asylum in the United States ( https://www.americanimmigrationcouncil.org/sites/default/files/research/asylum-in-united-states-update-jan-2024.pdf) If you are interested in a more in-depth paper from the Congressional Research Service, a nonpartisan branch of the Library of Congress, let me know.

>> ICYMI:  I apologize for attaching the incorrect copy of the minute from the Dec 11th meeting minutes to my FROM THE CHAIR dated Jan 5, 2024.  A correct copy is attached below. 


State Department Extends Nonimmigrant Visa Interview Waivers Indefinitely
The State Department announced an update to its discretionary interview waiver policy for nonimmigrant visa applicants. It replaces the temporary policies in place for almost three years. Most importantly, the State Department made this a standing policy that will be reviewed annually, which will decrease uncertainty for many stakeholders. Interview waivers have played a key role in reducing visa processing times at the agency.NATIONAL NEWS:

>> CENSUS BUREAU PREDICTS THREE IMMIGRATION SCENARIOS FOR AN OLDER AND MORE DIVERSE AMERICA BY 2100  SEE story as reported in US News:  https://www.usnews.com/news/us/articles/2023-11-09/the-census-bureau-sees-an-older-more-diverse-america-in-2100-in-three-immigration-scenarios

>> On May 21, 2023 Sanford (University) Institute for Economic Policy Research published a report entitled, “The mythical tie between immigration and crime” that concluded ,”opponents of immigration often argue that immigrants often drive up crime rates, but that has not been the case in America for the last 140 years’. ( https://siepr.sanford.edu/news/mythical-tie-between-immigration-and-crime )>> COAST TO COAST!!  Bill sent thru the story from the LA TIMES “Immigrants Fuel U S Workforce”.  And the AP published an article that Maine is suffering a workforce shortage.  The SEE attachments below.  LOCAL NEWS:

>> WGBH aired a story entitled,”Despite new law undocumented immigrants face issues getting drivers licenses in MA”. SEE: https://www.wgbh.org/news/local/2023-12-06/despite-new-law-undocumented-immigrants-face-issues-getting-drivers-licenses-in-massachusetts >> Bill has also sent an article entitled, “Report: More than 43K Mass. construction workers are being exploited by employers”  SEE: https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/markets/report-more-than-43k-mass-construction-workers-are-being-exploited-by-employers/ar-AA1lag6Hill

>> Bill and Diego bring us the following updates concerning  “An Act to protect injured workers”  ( https://malegislature.gov/Bills/193/H1927 )  Diego is trying for meetings with Senate President Spilka and several metrowest Representatives.  There is talk of getting the bill attached to some must-pass legislation.  He met with Attorney General Andrea Campbell a couple of weeks ago to try to secure her favorable outlook on the bill. Two injured workers – both from Casa- spoke about their experiences with retaliation.    As you will remember, the AG would have a signal role in enforcement of retaliation complaints and we had been concerned that the office was reluctant.    Campbell left the group feeling she understood the urgency of the matter.   The   injured workers legislation was favorably reported to the House Ways and Means Committee on January 16. See https://malegislature.gov/Bills/193/H1927. Bill adds that he has watched a lot of bills over the years be favorably reported to House Ways and Means, only to see the clock run out on July 31 without any action taken on them. He  hopes this time will be different.LOCAL REQUESTS:

Stay warm, dry and safe
Gerry Rovner