Since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, MIRA has worked tirelessly to ensure that Mississippi’s immigrant community has access to important health resources, information, and even financial support. As soon as COVID-19 shots were available, we began holding vaccination events in collaboration with partners like the Mississippi State Department of Health, the Urban Institute, … Continue reading MIRA distributes thousands of vaccines in Mississippi’s immigrant community
Congratulations to MIRA clients Sergio Espín Peralta (left) and Patience Diggs (right), new U.S. Citizens! They each took the Oath of Allegiance this summer in New Orleans. Sergio lives in metro Jackson, and is a native of Morelos State, Mexico. Patricia also helped him obtain lawful permanent residence more than twenty years ago. Patience came … Continue reading New US Citizens!
One MIRA client’s experience illustrates the brutal impacts of COVID delays and the current immigration system. “JK” (name shortened for privacy), an asylum-seeker, was detained in Texas after a horrifying journey from Cameroon through Latin America to the U.S. / Mexico border. She was transferred to Adams County Correctional Facility in Natchez, MS after she … Continue reading Dying while waiting for the right to work
During the last two years, wait times for processing applications with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have skyrocketed. Staff shortages, limited appointment times (for COVID-19 safety), and complications introduced by the Trump administration have meant that immigrants who desperately need visas, work permits, or green cards, are waiting longer than ever. MIRA’s Legal … Continue reading Crippling delays with USCIS harm immigrants in Mississippi and around the country
During this year’s legislative session, Mississippi lawmakers passed a bill to repeal an old state law that made it more difficult for naturalized citizens to register to vote. The 1924 law, which required naturalized citizens to provide documentation proving their citizenship when registering to vote, was also the subject of a federal lawsuit. A group (the … Continue reading 2022 Legislative win!
Welcome, new MIRA Organizer Nataly Camacho Morales, a native of Oaxaca, Mexico! Nataly grew up in Clinton MS graduated from Holmes Community College with a Paralegal degree. She joined MIRA as an organizer in February 2022, to work alongside Luis Espinoza on the vaccination and health campaigns. Together, they organize events for the immigrant community … Continue reading New MIRA Organizer
Buy a ticket (or a few) for a chance to win exciting prizes! Tickets are $5.00, and your purchase will raise funds so we can continue working for the needs of our community. The prizes are: 1st place — 1 iPad & 1 Chromebook2nd place — $100 gift card, donated by La Guadalupe Store in … Continue reading Fundraiser raffle to support MIRA
Some immigrants have a Mississippi state ID or driver license that reads, in bold letters, “Non U.S. Citizen.” This message appears on one MIRA client’s ID (pictured above). She is a permanent resident and has a social security number, and needed to open a bank account so that she could receive direct deposit at her … Continue reading State ID verbiage causes problems for immigrants
Since early 2020, people have existed in a state of ongoing crisis, as the global pandemic upended almost everything in our lives. From illness and loss, to work interruptions and job insecurity, to food and supply shortages, to isolation from family and loved ones, to political upheaval: as a collective, we’ve all seen and experienced … Continue reading Civic Engagement Day: Wednesday, January 26, 2022—join us
Continuing our efforts to protect the health and safety of Mississippi’s immigrants, MIRA lead organizer Luis Espinoza has launched an important campaign called “Tu Salud es Importante… ¡Vacunate!” (Your health is important…get vaccinated!), which focuses on two major fronts: first, distributing booster shots to those who have already been vaccinated during MIRA’s earlier outreach and … Continue reading More than 1,600 Vaccines for Immigrants
The Legal Project has been working on a number of cases, including employment authorizations, DACA renewals, marriage-based adjustments of status. Additionally, we have successfully assisted several clients in obtaining citizenship (see below). The Legal Project has been active in organizing and community action, attending events held in remembrance of the 2019 worksite raids in Mississippi, … Continue reading MIRA Legal Project Updates
During summer 2021, MIRA received a visit from Dr. Paul Ortiz and 20 students from the University of Florida at Gainesville (UF). Dr. Ortiz, an author and professor of history at UF, directs an initiative called the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program (SPOHP), which “is committed to using critical historical inquiry and digital humanities production … Continue reading Visit with Dr. Paul Ortiz and Students from University of Florida at Gainesville
Save the date for our annual Civic Engagement Day at the Mississippi State Capitol—we’ll gather Wednesday, January 26, 2022 to voice our opposition to any anti-immigrant proposals and advocate for the expansion of human rights for all. Please plan to join us—more information will be shared in the coming months. We’re almost certain to face legislation that … Continue reading Save the Date: Civic Engagement Day 2022
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, MIRA has been fighting to protect the immigrant community in Mississippi. In the early months of the pandemic, we sourced and distributed masks to immigrants, and when COVID testing became available, we collaborated with the Mississippi Department of Health to host pop-up testing sites around the state. We … Continue reading On the front lines during the pandemic
After months of political unrest following the assassination of Haiti’s president, and spurred on by the recent devastating earthquake, thousands of Haitian refugees (by some estimates, up to 15,000) have made the journey to the U.S. / Mexico border at Del Rio. Thousands were camped under a bridge in squalid conditions, with more arriving each … Continue reading Urgent Action Needed: Humanitarian Crisis at the Border
Happy Hispanic Heritage Month! Hispanic Heritage month is celebrated from September 15th through October 15th. As we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, The Mississippi State Department of Health is pleased to host the next Town Hall meeting addressing COVID-19 Variants and Vaccination to the Hispanic/Latin community Thursday, October 14, 2021, at 6 pm. We want to … Continue reading Message from Mississippi State Department of Health
Farm Workforce Modernization ActMIRA and allies around the country are monitoring this bipartisan congressional immigration proposal, which includes components that range from concerning to outright dangerous—it’s a bill that was heavily compromised and does more harm than good. For example, the bill offers a path to legal permanent residency for farm workers, but its requirements … Continue reading Update on National Immigration Legislation
Welcome to William Huff, new paralegalThe MIRA Legal Project welcomes William “Willy” Huff as our new paralegal. Willy grew up in Memphis, Tennessee and is a Millsaps College graduate with a BA in Political Science. Before working with MIRA, he interned with the American Civil Liberties Union. He now assists MIRA Legal Project Director Attorney … Continue reading 2021 Staff Updates
Please join us for a FREE virtual meeting on Thursday, February 11, 2021, 5:00 – 7:00 pm, to discuss Immigration Reform Under the Biden Administration. This is a public meeting open to all and will be in English with some Spanish interpretation. The ideal audiences are immigrants from any part of the world, their families … Continue reading Virtual Meeting: Immigration Reform Under the Biden Administration
The Mississippi Department of Health will host a COVID-19 town hall focused on the Hispanic community, on January 28, 2021. Click here for more information.
Join us TONIGHT at 6PM for a virtual Town Hall as we discuss ICE, immigration law, and community empowerment. Co-hosted by Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance , ACLU of Mississippi, and Immigrant Alliance for Justice & Equity of Mississippi. Zoom information below:
With the virus spreading rapidly in the cramped working conditions of the poultry plants, many Mississippi immigrants have contracted COVID-19. Tragically, a number of immigrants have passed away from COVID. In a community still suffering the fallout from last year’s massive immigration raids, this combination of illness, deaths, and layoffs has been devastating. In June, … Continue reading MIRA continues support to immigrant families hard hit by COVID
We need your help to ensure that people who are at risk of violence and persecution in their home countries can still seek asylum in the United States. The Trump administration wants to essentially shut down the US Asylum program—so we must act quickly. For decades, the United States has granted asylum to individuals who … Continue reading Urgent action needed: defend the US Asylum program!
We are in the midst of a historic push for civil rights. In the aftermath of the racially-motivated murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, the Black Lives Matter movement is gaining momentum. Its demands for justice are shaping policies in local governments, exposing the brutal violence of the police, and forcing reckonings … Continue reading MIRA Stands With Black Lives Matter
MIRA staff, including members of the Legal Project, are working remotely and continuing to defend and expand immigrant rights at this challenging time. Complicating matters is the fact that USCIS Offices remain closed and don’t plan to reopen until around June 4th. They suspended in-person services in most field offices, but continue to provide mission-critical … Continue reading MIRA Legal Project Update
Immigrants on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis Tremendous responsibility falls on the shoulders of immigrant workers: they’re critical in the response to COVID-19, but are more vulnerable than any other class of worker. Let’s take a look at their contributions, and how employers and governments are failing to protect them. FOOD SUPPLY While … Continue reading Immigrants on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis
The immigrant community in Mississippi has suffered greatly in the past several months. Last August’s massive immigration raid left hundreds without work, and now the coronavirus pandemic compounds those losses. With heavy hearts, we share that at least three immigrant workers have died as a result of COVID-19 in the cities of Forest, MS, and … Continue reading MIRA Supports Immigrants as COVID-19 Wreaks Havoc
The raids have been covered extensively in local, national and international media. These are a few of the most compelling stories we’ve seen. Community: Loss and Devastation I need my Mom and Dad: Children cautiously march in Canton after ICE raids ICE Raid Separates 4-month-old baby from breastfeeding mom ‘The store depends on them’: What … Continue reading Community and Political Impact of the Raids
MIRA Legal Project Director Attorney Patricia Ice is providing support to raid victims in a variety of ways. She is part of a legal coalition led by attorney Amelia McGowan, of the Mississippi Center for Justice, Cliff Johnson from the MacArthur Justice Center at the University of Mississippi Law School, and Mary Townsend from El Pueblo. … Continue reading Update: MIRA Legal Project Work During Raid Aftermath
MIRA thanks all of you for your continuous support in this crisis. For more photos and a Spanish-language update on MIRA’s work during the raids and throughout 2019, please visit this post created by MIRA Organizer Luis Espinoza. Immediately following the August 7th immigration raids, MIRA mobilized to provide relief. Just as we did after the 2008 Howard Industries … Continue reading Financial Aid for Raid Victims’ Families
The immigration raids did lasting damage to vibrant communities in Mississippi, including Canton, Forest, Morton, Pelahatchie, Carthage, and Laurel / Bay Springs (which was the site of a similar raid in 2008). Hundreds of families and children are traumatized, hundreds of people are in detention, and hundreds face complex legal battles. Beyond the local impact, … Continue reading Relief work continues in hurting immigrant communities
To say that this is an emergency of unprecedented proportions would be putting it lightly. Last Wednesday, August 7th, about 600 Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Homeland Security Officers descended on Mississippi to carry out the largest single-state immigration raid in our country’s history. They swept up 680 immigrants at 7 food processing plants … Continue reading The worst ICE raid in our history
Are you a naturalized U.S. citizen? Are you registered to vote? Have you had trouble registering or voting? Please come to an important meeting for all naturalized citizens and interested people. ¿Es usted un ciudadano estadounidense naturalizado? Está registrado para votar? ¿Ha tenido problemas para registrarse o para votar? Por favor, venga a una reunión … Continue reading Trouble Voting in Mississippi?
Saturday, May 25 · 9AM – 12PM · MIRA Office (4436 N. State Street, Ste. A-1, Jackson, MS) Join us for our May Naturalization Workshop! During this workshop, MIRA Legal Project Director Attorney L. Patricia Ice will help Lawful Permanent Residents complete the N-400 application for Naturalization. A few important details to be aware of: … Continue reading May Naturalization Workshop
Saturday, April 27 · 9AM – 12PM · MIRA Office (4436 N. State Street, Ste. A-1, Jackson, MS) Join us for our April Naturalization Workshop! During this workshop, MIRA Legal Project Director Attorney L. Patricia Ice will help Lawful Permanent Residents complete the N-400 application for Naturalization. A few important details to be aware of: … Continue reading April Naturalization Workshop
MIRA Legal Project Director Attorney Patricia Ice volunteered with the Immigration Justice Campaign at the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, TX for a week last month. This detention facility, run by a private, for-profit agency called Core Civic, is the largest family detention facility in the nation and has a contract with the … Continue reading Attorney Patricia Ice Volunteers in Dilley, TX
MIRA is visiting Jackson’s downtown transit terminal every day to bring food and water to hungry migrants as they travel from ICE facilities in Texas to locations across the Southeast and East Coast. Families, including babies and young children, are shunted from ICE facilities onto Greyhound buses and are given no food or water for … Continue reading Update: Hungry Migrants Traveling Through Jackson
A broad coalition gathered on Wednesday, January 30th at the Mississippi State Capitol for MIRA’s annual Civic Engagement Day. Workers, immigrants, activists, community members, and religious leaders joined together in urging legislators to support immigrant and worker rights in Mississippi. The day consisted of a walk to the Capitol building; a news conference; and crucial … Continue reading Strategic Action at Civic Engagement Day 2019
After our 12:30PM news conference in the Capitol building’s rotunda, participants formed delegations (about 6 people per group) and moved to meet with specific legislators. The delegations included immigrants and people from Mississippi’s Latino and Muslim communities; there was also a bilingual person in each group to translate for any non-English speakers. Each delegation was … Continue reading 2019 MIRA Civic Engagement Day Legislative Priorities: House of Representatives
Welcome Luis Espinoza, a native of Ecuador, who has been publishing La Noticia, a Spanish-language weekly newspaper in Mississippi, for nearly twenty years. He has been associated with MIRA since our founding, and tells our story to Latino communities throughout the state. Luis has extensive relations with Latino communities, and while continuing his journalistic work, … Continue reading Welcome New MIRA Staff Members
Donate to help us care for detainees left without food or water Hundreds of migrants, mostly Guatemalans and Hondurans, have been passing through Jackson on Greyhound buses, traveling from ICE detention centers in Texas to locations east of the Mississippi River. Most of the adult detainees (who have immigration court hearing dates in the future) … Continue reading MIRA Feeds Hungry Migrants Traveling Through Jackson
Join us on Wednesday, January 30 for a critical action at the Mississippi State Capitol as we support human rights for all! Meet at the MIRA Office (4436 N. State Street, Ste. A-1, Jackson, MS) at 10:00AM for an update and orientation on the legislative session, and to prepare to meet with legislators at the … Continue reading Civic Engagement Day 2019
Saturday, January 26 · 9AM – 12PM · MIRA Office (4436 N. State Street, Ste. A-1, Jackson, MS) Join us for our first Naturalization Workshop of 2019! During this workshop, MIRA Legal Project Director Attorney L. Patricia Ice will help Lawful Permanent Residents complete the N-400 application for Naturalization. A few important details to be aware of: … Continue reading January Naturalization Workshop
Please join us for the first Advocacy meeting of 2019 – Wednesday, January 16 at 12pm, at the MIRA office (4436 N. State Street, Ste. A-1, Jackson, MS). Lunch will be served as we continue preparation for Civic Engagement Day 2019. In addition to getting ready for Civic Engagement Day, we will be working on … Continue reading January 2019 Advocacy Meeting
The deadline to register to vote in the November elections is Monday, October 8th. You can come to the MIRA office to register, or simply go to your local courthouse. If you are already registered to vote, you should double-check that you are registered in the correct precinct – if you have recently moved (even within … Continue reading Your participation in midterm elections is critical
On Thursday, Sept 13, Lenol O. Flowers, a native of Belize, was sworn in as a US citizen in Jackson, Mississippi Federal District Court. Congratulations, Mr. Flowers!
MIRA Legal Project Director Attorney L. Patricia Ice in Jena, Louisiana in front of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) office on August 31 with lawyers Meredith Soniat, Jeremy Jong, MIRA Social Work Student Intern Madeline Casey and Attorney Phoebe Lytle. Patricia Ice Joined the Legal Team at Jena Detention Center from The Jackson Advocate When … Continue reading MIRA Legal Project Responds to Migrant Crisis
Bill Chandler, the Executive Director and a founding member of the Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance, is preparing to retire. A lifelong activist, organizer, and tireless advocate for immigrant and worker rights, Bill, now 77, plans to transition out of full-time work. Though he will step down from day-to-day involvement, he will remain an ardent supporter of … Continue reading MIRA Executive Director to retire
Madeline Casey, left, with US District Court Judge Carlton Reeves and Patricia Ice Our fall semester MIRA intern is Madeline Casey, from Pass Christian, Mississippi. She is a senior Social Work and Spanish Major at Mississippi State University. Maddie said she chose to do her internship with MIRA because she, like MIRA, is passionate about … Continue reading Welcome Madeline Casey, MIRA Intern
Saturday, September 29 · 9AM – 12PM · MIRA Office Join us for our third Naturalization Workshop this summer. During this workshop, MIRA Legal Project Director Attorney L. Patricia Ice will help Lawful Permanent Residents complete the N-400 application for Naturalization. A few important details to be aware of: In order to apply for naturalization, you … Continue reading September Naturalization Workshop
¿Sabe qué servicios ofrece el Departamento Federal de Vivienda y Desarrollo Urbano de los Estados Unidos, conocido como HUD? El jueves 19 de julio, de 2 a 3 pm, representantes de la agencia le explicarán, en español, los servicios de los consejeros de vivienda, cómo funciona el subsidio de alquiler, cómo presentar reclamos por discriminación, … Continue reading Información acera de HUD | Information Session on HUD
Saturday, July 28 · 9AM – 12PM · MIRA Office Join us for our second Naturalization Workshop this summer. During this workshop, MIRA Legal Project Director Attorney L. Patricia Ice will help Lawful Permanent Residents complete the N-400 application for Naturalization. A few important details to be aware of: In order to apply for naturalization, you … Continue reading July Naturalization Workshop
Saturday, June 23 · 9AM – 12PM · MIRA Office Join us for our first Naturalization Workshop this summer. During this workshop, MIRA Legal Project Director Attorney L. Patricia Ice will help Lawful Permanent Residents complete the N-400 application for Naturalization. A few important details to be aware of: In order to apply for naturalization, you … Continue reading June Naturalization Workshop
In Mississippi and across the country, immigrants are always on the defensive, politically speaking – constantly resisting racist candidates and xenophobic legislation. MIRA is launching a longterm effort to build political power through the ballot box: helping people apply for citizenship so that they can become registered voters is a proven and historic strategy for … Continue reading Naturalization + Voter Registration = New Political Power
Speech that Melinda Medina, MIRA Organizer, delivered to the participants of a Poor People’s Campaign rally at the Mississippi State Capitol on May 21, 2018. Learn more about the goals and history of the Poor People’s Campaign here. A single mother from a distant land struggles to feed her child. Where she is from there … Continue reading MIRA Organizer Melinda Medina speaks as part of Poor People’s Campaign rally in Jackson, MS
Ignacio Suarez recently became a U.S. Citizen. He is a native of Nicaragua. Congratulations, Ignacio!
It is amazing the misinformation and ignorance that abounds about Latinos. A sad but good example is that of the perception that Cinco de Mayo is “Mexican Independence Day.” It is not. Mexican Independence Day is September 16, 1810. While Cinco de Mayo is sometimes promoted as such mainly to sell beer and tequila in … Continue reading Cinco De Mayo: The Truth
A progressive and a friend of MIRA, Sen. David Blount (D) of Jackson shared his perspective on the 2018 Mississippi Legislative Session. With the 2018 legislative session completed, I am writing to share with you my annual recap of my work in the State Senate. The session was a lackluster affair without any notable accomplishments, … Continue reading 2018 Legislative Report from Mississippi State Senator David Blount
In summer 2017, reports surfaced that Trump was beginning to make good on his threats against so-called “sanctuary cities” by denying federal funding to cities that failed to comply with new Department of Justice requirements. Essentially, the new DOJ guidelines say that local law enforcement must assist federal immigration agents, or else lose funding from … Continue reading DOJ: Jackson must drop sanctuary status or lose federal funding
In February 2017, ICE agents raided the Vargas’ family home before dawn, snatching up the father and son as they stepped outside their house to go to work. ICE agents then staged an hours-long standoff with Daniela, the one family member remaining inside the home, a young DACA recipient. MIRA was the first on the … Continue reading Daniela Vargas: Mississippi DACA recipient targeted by ICE for speaking up
On Wednesday, January 24th 2018, MIRA members and allies traveled to the Mississippi State Capitol to engage with state legislators. We urged lawmakers to oppose all anti-immigrant proposals introduced, and to support a number of proposals that would benefit immigrants and other workers. State Representative Kathy Sykes (D, Jackson) introduced many of the legislative proposals that … Continue reading 2018 Civic Engagement Day Recap
In memory of Korey M. Harrion (1977-2018). On March 14, 2018 the MIRA lost our webmaster, Korey Harrion, following a brief illness. Prior to becoming a MIRA staff member, Korey graduated from Callaway High School, Hinds Community College, and Jackson State University with degrees in Computer Science. Harrion played saxophone in the Callaway High School … Continue reading In memory of Korey M. Harrion
During the 2018 Mississippi legislative session, Rep. Andy Gipson (R-District 77) authored an anti-CAIR resolution (HR-1) that sent a clear message of distrust to Mississippi’s Muslim community. Mississippi has historically displayed anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant sentiments. Local community activists decided to join MIRA’s 2018 Civic Engagement Day to confront Rep. Gipson about HR-1 and to foster a … Continue reading Community Activists Confront Rep. Andy Gipson (R-District 77)
Congratulations to Imani Weusi Hancock, a Legal Project client, who recently became a U.S. citizen! Imani was born in Jamaica and currently lives in Lakeland, Florida.
“Undocumented immigrants can apply to college. Many undocumented students aren’t sure if they can legally attend college in the U.S. Some automatically assume they can’t. However, there are no federal or state laws prohibiting the admission of undocumented immigrants to U.S. colleges, and schools aren’t required to report undocumented applicants or students to immigration officials. State … Continue reading Undocumented Immigrants CAN apply to College
MIRA wants to congratulate our friend Anwar, formerly of Yemen, who was sworn in as a U.S. citizen in New Orleans yesterday! Anwar lives in in metro Jackson, MS. Congratulations, Anwar!
The Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance, and its allies, will peacefully protest outside the office of Sen. Thad Cochran in Jackson, MS on Friday September 8th, from 11:30AM to 2:00PM.
Both immigrants and allies spent an entire day at the Mississippi State Capitol speaking with local legislators about the anti-immigrant bills introduced during the …
Please text MIRA to 33222 on your cell phone to receive up to four mobile alerts per month from the Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance. It’s easy and quick, so sign-up now! Thanks!