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Civic Engagement Day Builds Support for In-State Tuition; Gathers Allies to Defeat Anti-Immigrant Legislation

12 Marzo 2015 No Comment
Marzo 12, 2015

On January 21, 2015, members of the Latino community (including people from Biloxi, Ocean Springs, Gulfport and Jackson) joined MIRA and many other human rights organizations to be part of Civic Engagement Day. The group consisted of civil & human rights leaders, union leaders, church members, students, mothers, business owners, and workers. The message delivered to the capitol wasWe are tired of racist and anti-immigrant laws!”

There are over 200,000 immigrants living in MS and it is estimated that a third of these are American citizens, which means they are entitled to vote. But even if they are not citizens, immigrants contribute to this state not only as workers also contribute $ 2.8 billion in purchases. Owners of business contribute $ 1.7 billion to the economy and have also created around 14,000 jobs ( Immigration Policy Center, 2013). Certainly, immigrants have brought prosperity to Mississippi!

Our priority issue for Civic Engagement Day was to promote in-state tuition for all Mississippi residents, otherwise known as Tuition Equity. One of the topics of conversation were the barriers faced by undocumented youth when they try to attend community colleges. Students who have qualified for DACA, o “DREAMERS,” can enroll in community colleges, but can pay excessive tuition (up to 2x the rate of instate tuition). During Civic Engagement Day, students had the opportunity to tell their stories and share their dreams.

The second goal was to defeat anti-immigrant bills. Some of these bills were authored by Senator Billy Hudson (R) , and called for more punishment for workers who show false information when applying for a job. Sen. Chris McDaniel (R), also wrote a proposal to prevent immigrants from gaining access to public benefits. 

In all, 11 laws were defeated thanks to the visits and conversations held with representatives and senators during Civic Engagement Day. 

2015 is an election year and there are rumors that there are community allies that are contemplating running against representatives and senators who continually attack the Latino community. It is important to register to vote, and find out which representatives have supported the Latino community

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