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Guide to U.S. Immigration Options for Refugees Abroad (PDF)

The Guide to U.S. Immigration Options for Refugees Abroad is a joint project between Goss Associates and Curran & Berger, Refugees International and the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys. This document gives a comprehensive overview of the U.S. immigration options available for refugees, including information on how they may apply to individuals from Syria. The PDF discusses: refugee processing, family relationships, “following to join”, adoption, humanitarian parole, temporary visas for medical treatment, and more.


Safe Communities Act

Many members of the community are scared to call the police when they are needed, out of fear of having their immigration status scrutinized.

The Safe Communities Act (S.1401 and H.3573) aims to strengthen communities by barring Massachusetts police from questioning resident’s immigration status. It also protects due process, limits Massachusetts’ notifications to ICE, ends contracts redirecting MA state forces to act as federal immigration agents, and provides updated training for law enforcement agencies.

Join Goss Associates in supporting the Safe Communities Act. Use the attached template to print out and send letters to your representative urging them to push for the implementation of the Safe Communities Act now.

Work & Family Mobility Act

H.3012 (Farley-Bouvier and Barber) and S.2061 (Crighton)

This bill would enable all qualified state residents to apply for a standard Massachusetts driver’s license, regardless of immigration status, while keeping our Commonwealth in full compliance with REAL ID requirements.

  • Tested and insured drivers make the roads safer for everyone. We want all drivers to know the rules of the road, pass the same driver’s test, and be properly registered and insured. It’s in our state’s interest to increase the number of insured drivers in order to boost our economy and make our roads safer.

  • Driver’s licenses increase public safety. A 2017 Stanford University study found that California’s law to expand licenses to unauthorized immigrants, AB60, led to improved traffic safety by reducing the number of hit and run accidents/hit and run accidents can lead to serious injury because of a delay in medical reporting and can leave those involved in an accident without financial recourse.

  • Driving is essential to mobility in Massachusetts, especially outside Greater Boston. Public transit options are far too limited to enable most residents to get to work, take their children to the doctor, or buy groceries. Notably, 78% of Massachusetts workers age 16 and older get to work by car, truck, or van — 71% driving along. Even in Suffolk County, 48% of people rely on personal vehicles, with 41% driving alone.

  • More drivers can have a positive effect on our state’s economy. State revenue will increase as more residents pay for licenses and auto registrations. Fewer uninsured motorists and more drivers in the insurance pool could also lower everyone’s insurance rates. In states like New Jersey that area also considering passing this law, it’s estimated that insurance companies will bring in about $233 million in additional premiums each year and the state of New Jersey would take in $11.7 million in license fees.

  • In the Trump era, immigrant families risk being torn apart every time they drive. In the first two years of the Trump administration, Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrests of people with no criminal convictions more than tripled. A major factor of this spike is a five-fold increase in arrests of immigrants who’ve been charged with an offense but not yet convicted. The most common charges are traffic offenses. By making driver’s licenses available to all, regardless of immigration status, we can reduce the devastating impact of Trump’s deportation agenda on Massachusetts families.

  • Immigrants who are currently barred from driving are a vital part of Massachusetts’ social and economic fabric. An estimated 255,000 undocumented immigrants lived in Massachusetts as of 2016— roughly one-fifth of the immigrant population. Many live in mixed-status families; about 1 in 20 US citizen children in our Commonwealth live with at least one undocumented family member. In 2016, undocumented immigrants contributed $8.8 billion to the Massachusetts economy, and they paid an estimated $184 million in state and local taxes.

  • There is a bipartisan support for driver’s license legislation across the U.S. Thirteen states and the District of Columbia already allow residents the right to apply for driver’s licenses regardless of immigration status, including our neighbors Vermont and Connecticut. New Jersey and New York are also considering legislation. Even Republican governors — in Utah, Nevada and New Mexico — have signed laws to confer driving privileges for all, regardless of immigration status.

  • This bill requires minimal changes to Massachusetts law, while keeping our Commonwealth in full compliance with Real ID requirements. In March 2018, our Commonwealth instituted a two-tier system of driver’s licenses and identification cards; the REAL ID, and the Massachusetts standard license. Only the latter would be affected by this legislation, which means Massachusetts would remain in full compliance with federal REAL ID requirements.

  • The Registry of Motor Vehicles is well equipped to handle an expansion in driver’s license eligibility. The RMV already deals with a wide range of driver’s license and identification card applicants, including non-citizens with varying immigration statuses and documentation and teenage drivers who aren’t of voting age yet.