MIRA and the fight for immigrants | City of Ideas
Tonight, I am proud to have the opportunity to be honored alongside Gov. Deval Patrick, Eastern Bank President Robert Rivers and Kairos Shen of the Boston Redevelopment Authority at MIRA’s ‘Give Liberty a Hand’ gala. I was pleased to accept the award on behalf of the Foundation’s long commitment to the needs of immigrants and the institutions that support them – work that is critical to the continued growth and prosperity of Greater Boston.Since that first grant in 1987, the Foundation has provided more than $1.3 million to MIRA for its work on immigration issues. Most recently, we were a partner in the establishment of the New American Integration Institute, a new think tank that conducts research and analysis on immigrant integration in the state and nation, tying that research to projects on the ground that will create strong and effective pathways for the full economic, social and civic integration of the Commonwealth's nearly one million foreign-born residents.
That research is critical at a time when the debate often misses the true impact immigrants have on our communities. A 2012 report from the Partnership for the New American Economy found that immigrants are twice as likely as native-born residents to start their own small businesses. In Massachusetts, that spirit of entrepreneurship creates tens of thousands of jobs and puts billions of dollars into the local economy.
MIRA has played a key role in raising awareness of both the needs of immigrants and refugees in the Commonwealth and the undeniable and important contributions immigrant communities make here. In economic terms, we talk about human capital. But what we mean is people and families. Through our investment in MIRA, as well as other initiatives, such as the groundbreaking English for New Bostonians partnership, we are working alongside other funders, city leaders and dozens of not-for-profit organizations to ensure better opportunities for all the citizens of Boston.
We must continue to educate the broader public that successfully welcoming and integrating immigrants into the region only enhances our civic and economic vitality. We are proud that we were “there at the beginning” for MIRA. But we know that the work is far from over, to create sensible policies that provide opportunity for our newest residents to succeed.