Migrants in Massachusetts

Immigrant Rights

Immigrants’ Rights Groups File Public Records Requests to Shed Light on Arrival of Migrants in Massachusetts

Immigration Data Can Inform State/Local Policymaking

Centro Presente and Lawyers for Civil Rights (LCR) filed public records requests, under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to obtain information around the recent increase of newly-arrived migrants to Massachusetts. The release of this information is critical to inform key decisions at the state, municipal and community levels concerning resources and support services for residents, including immigrants. 

As the number of migrants arriving in Massachusetts continues to grow, community leaders and policymakers continue to assess the needs of newly arrived migrants. Yet, many questions linger because immigration data is limited and sporadic. The total number of arriving migrants – and their demographic profile – remains unclear.  The FOIA requests filed by Centro Presente and LCR focus on the number of people who requested a change of address to Massachusetts with immigration officials. 

“Centro Presente has been organizing recently arrived migrants in the Greater Boston area, many of whom are women and girls who have experienced some form of gender-based violence in their countries of origin, on the migrant route and even here in the U.S.,” said Patricia Montes, Executive Director at Centro Presente. “We must ensure that elected officials are aware of this so that we are addressing these women’s specific needs in our policies and programs.”

“What happens at the Southern border and what happens in our communities is interconnected and intertwined, whether it’s families arriving in Boston or migrants fraudulently flown to Martha’s Vineyard, we must be ready to respond to their needs,” said Mirian Albert, Staff Attorney at LCR. “We cannot do that without more demographic information about recent immigrants so we can better understand their lived experiences. Once we have that information, we can ensure policy-makers are responding adequately.”

Click here for the DOJ request, and here for the DHS request.