>> Our guest speaker for our next meeting will be Sandy Robinson, the Executive Director of the Needham Community Council.  She will bring us up to date on the activities of the Council, from ELL Instruction, the Food Pantry and many other activities that benefit people regardless of their immigration status.  She will tell us how we might be able to help the Council. A Q&A will follow.
 >> Our next meeting is scheduled for Monday, March11, via zoom, starting at 7:30pm.  Please send me any agenda items you wish to discuss.  A Zoom invitation will be sent during the week of March 4th. 
 >> AND don’t forget the March 16th program of Suitcase Stories Unpacked at the Library starting at 6:30PM, which is our program.  See the flier attached.
 >>  Minutes for Feb 12th meeting is attached below.

>> The New York Times published an article on Feb 29th, entitled “The U.S. Economy Is Surpassing Expectations. Immigration Is One Reason.” Go to:https://www.nytimes.com/2024/02/29/business/economy/immigrants-labor.html?unlocked_article_code=1.ZE0.Ne5-.IPe-pSH2q4y4&smid=url-share .It’s well worth a read.
>> Yesterday (Feb 29th) both President Biden and former president Trump visited the Texas Border, albeit about 300 miles from each other.  Rather than merely decry the situation and assign blame for the current situation, President Biden suggested that he and Trump meet to find a solution.  Trump promptly rejected the idea.  

>> Bill Okerman has sent a fascinating report about the foreign-born population living in Boston, by country and by job categories. The Feb 14, 2024 report is entitled,  “Global Greater Boston: Immigrants in a Changing Region”.  Go to https://immresearch.org/publications/global-greater-boston-a-new-report-from-iri-and-boston-indicators/
 >>. Currently Massachusetts only allows those who have a social security number to file for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).  Anyone who has an Income Tax identification number (ITIN) is barred from doing so. The Mass Budget and Policy Center has issued a report that supports legislation to allow any taxpayer to file for the EITC.  Such legislation would have a major beneficial  on immigrants.  The key takeaways from the Report are:

“ In Massachusetts immigrant or mixed-status families who work and pay taxes are currently prevented from receiving the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) if any family member in the household is ineligible for a Social Security Number.

Ten other states already extend their EITC to immigrant taxpayers without Social Security Numbers who file taxes with an Income Tax Identification Number (ITIN).

Massachusetts could do the same to help working families to afford the high cost of living in Massachusetts. Depending on the tax filing rate among eligible undocumented tax filers, about 21,000 to 26,000 households would benefit, representing between 61,000 and 76,000 individuals.
The cost of extending the EITC to eligible immigrants would fall between approximately $22.6 million to $28 million.
     SEE: https://massbudget.org/2024/02/21/itin-eitc-2024/  for the full Report.
 Thanks to Bill Okerman for sending this item to me.

As I am sure you know, the U S House of Representatives has declined to vote on an immigration bill negotiated by a non-partisan group of Senators.  Many of the provisions in that bill were originally favored and pushed by former president Trump, until he recently decided it would give the Democrats an upper hand in the 2024 presidential campaign.  Rather, the House majority is pushing, among other demands, that DHS increase the number of detainees to 38,000, but declines to increase the DHS budget to cover the costs.  Meanwhile the Dept of Homeland Security intends (as of Feb 15th) to reduce the number of detainees to 22,000, which would be within its budget.   Let’s look at some facts:  DHS estimates it costs $150.00 per day per detainee. Do some math:  $150.00/day x 365 days = $54,750/ year/ detainee.  38,000 detainees per year would thus cost $2,080,500,000.00 (that’s $2 BILLION 80 MILLION, 500 Thousand).   
22,000 detainees per year would cost $1BILLION 204 MILLION, 500 Thousand. ($1,204,500,000.00).  Since the House refuses to raise the budget of DHS to cover a current deficit, one has to wonder where the House expects DHS will find the funds to cover the increase the House demands.  SEE Article dated Feb 14th from the Washington Post attached
I’ll leave for another day to look at the costs to increase the staffing of the Border Patrol, the Asylum Office, Citizenship and Immigration Services, and increases in the Immigration Court.

You may wish to contact the Office of the Speaker of the House to register your thoughts.   (202-225-0600)

I hope to see you all on the 11th for what should be a very informative meeting.