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Help Make Jackson Become More Welcoming

16 May 2014 No Comment
Bill Chandler, Executive Director
Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance 
May 14, 2014

Imagine.  Imagine you have just purchased a new home in Jackson, Mississippi.  It needs renovations, but your family has gathered to get the house in shape by Christmas.  Imagine you are getting your children ready for school in the pre-dawn darkness of early December.  Suddenly, your front door bursts open and a United States Marshal’s Fugitive Task force made up of people who are supposed to protect you invades your home and frightens your children.  Imagine that you find out they are looking for a murder suspect unknown to you, but instead of apologizing for their mistake, members of the task force yell racial slurs at you and beat you and members of your family who must be taken to a hospital.  Imagine that when all is said and done, two of your family members are headed to deportation, one is charged with a federal crime, and you are charged with a misdemeanor.

This is what happened to Rosi Lopez, a Mississippi-born U.S. citizen, due to the rampant racial profiling and abuse against people of color in our community.  She and her mixed family, some of whom are here with authorization and others who aren’t, now live in fear of the very people who have sworn to protect the residents of Jackson, Mississippi.

I find this behavior unacceptable, and I know you do to.  MIRA sought justice for the Lopez family by providing co-counsel legal representation.  The charges against Rosi and her husband’s cousin, Arturo Fomperosa, who was charged with illegal possession of a firearm, have been dropped.  Legal Project Director L. Patricia Ice is currently working with the FBI on an investigation into this matter.

I am proud that MIRA represented this family who was brave enough to come forward with their story.  Yet, I am concerned that other Jackson immigrants as well as people of color in Mississippi and all over this country are facing this type of violence and discrimination every day.


You can help ensure that Jackson becomes the friendly, safe, and hospitable city we all know it can be.  Your donation http://www.yourmira.org/donate/ of $30, or more if your budget allows, will support MIRA as it leads the community in a WELCOMING JACKSON initiative.

WELCOMING JACKSON is part of a larger WELCOMING AMERICA movement where people like you and me step up to make their cities friendly and safe for new Americans who want better lives for themselves and their families.

As part of this initiative, MIRA is

  • Aiding in the implementation of Jackson’s anti-profiling ordinance, written by MIRA LEGAL PROJECT Director, L. Patricia Ice, and approved by the City Council.
  • Working with the city council to provide municipal ID cards to all who live in Jackson, regardless of immigration status.
  • Negotiating banking options for those without social security numbers so that they can keep their money safe and avoid being targeted by criminals looking to prey on those who carry large amounts of cash.
  • Talking with state legislators to ensure that all children who graduate from a Mississippi High School with a 3.0 GPA may attend a community college or other institution and pay in-state tuition, regardless of their immigration status or that of their parents.
  • Educating the public that Mississippi immigrants do not hurt our economy, but rather bring in money and pay more than $52 million  in taxes every year.
  • Communicating with law enforcement to highlight the need to hire bilingual officers and dispatch staff
  • Taking part in the nationwide Dignity Campaign http://dignitycampaign.org/statements/we-need-a-new-way-forward/, a network of organizations and individuals who affirm the need for an immigration reform bill based on human and labor rights.

If you believe, like I do, that these efforts will make Jackson a better place for all its residents, please donate  http://www.yourmira.org/donate/ $30 or whatever your budget allows, to support MIRA in a continuing effort to ensure that all men, women, and children are treated with dignity and respect so that they can live without fear and contribute to Jackson’s growing prosperity.

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