Irish International Immigrant Center, BostonIIIC

Cycling the World!

Looking a bit tired but still chipper, Breifne Earley arrived in Boston last week on his last stop in North America. This 34-year-old County Leitrim native began his journey on March 1, 2014 from Greenwich, England. Since then he cycled 15,000 miles, for 418 days in twenty-four countries and across six continents.

His goals: To raise money for Cycle Against Suicide: to increase discussion about mental health and suicide, both at home in Ireland and in the countries he travels through – and, of course, to break the Guinness world record!

Breifne is no stranger to these issues. He said, “Four years ago I was single, severely overweight and hated my job and I sat in my bedroom one night and contemplated taking my own life.”

Instead, he set himself a number of goals to turn his life around – he travelled the world, went on fifty blind dates, lost forty-five pounds, learned how to cook, and completed a triathlon as part of the personal challenge. The core message Breifne wants to get out is that “It’s OK to not feel OK; and it’s absolutely OK to ask for help.”

The IIIC welcomed Breifne at a reception last week to wish him God speed as he heads back to Europe to finish his tour.

Immigration News & Advice


Q: Some friends of mine recently moved to a new school district, and they have been having trouble enrolling their children in the local public elementary school. Both the parents and the children are legal permanent residents. Can the school stop the children from enrolling in school?

A: No. Under Federal law, all children in the United States are entitled to public elementary and secondary education regardless of their race, color, national origin, citizenship, immigration status or the status of their parents or guardians. A school therefore has no legal basis to prevent legal resident children from attending. Note especially that this entitlement also extends to cases where children or their parents are undocumented.

There is some confusion about the kinds of information that schools can collect from pupils and their parents without violating federal law. The Civil Rights Division in the US Department of Justice has published a fact sheet with some clarification of this issue. These are the main points:

(1) Schools can require proof of residency in the school district. Examples of evidence of residency could be a lease or utility bills. However, a school district may not inquire about the citizenship or immigration status of pupils or their parents.

(2) Schools may require a copy of a child’s birth certificate only in order to establish that the child meets the age requirements for a particular grade in school, and they may not prevent a child from enrolling merely because he or she has documentation showing birth outside the United States.

(3) A school may request a child’s Social Security number in order to use it as a student identification number, but it must inform the child and the parents that providing the number is voluntary, and it may not prevent the child from enrolling if the parents choose not to provide the number. [Note: Using Social Security numbers rather than randomly generated numbers for identification purposes in schools, on driver’s licenses, etc. may be unwise in view of the possibility of identity theft.]

(4) Data on race and ethnicity: In order to meet various statistical reporting obligations under federal and state law, schools may request, but may not require, that parents provide such data.

Anyone who believes that a school district is violating federal law with respect to the immigration status of children or their parents may contact one of the following agencies:

Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Educational Opportunities Section

(877) 292-3804 (toll-free);

Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, (800) 421-3481 (toll-free);

Disclaimer: These articles are published to inform generally, not to advise in individual cases. Areas of law are rapidly changing. US Citizenship and Immigration Services and the US Department of State frequently amend regulations and alter processing and filing procedures. For legal advice, seek the assistance of IIIC legal services staff.

IIIC Round-Up

U.S. Citizenship Preparation Class Begins – May 7

Are you interested in becoming a U.S. Citizen? Citizenship classes at the Irish International Immigrant Center (IIIC) will prepare you for the naturalization exam and interview. Study the questions that will be asked, learn what to expect during your interview, and gain confidence that you will pass the exam and be on your way to U.S. citizenship. Tutoring is also available.

This six-week class is offered on Thursday afternoons from 1:00 to 3:00 PM and again on Thursday evenings from 6:00 to 8:00 PM. Fee: $30.00.

For further information, contact Sarah at (617) 542-7654 Ext. 36; Email: or visit the Center between 9:00 — 5:00 weekdays.

Black and Green of Boston - Sunday, May 17th 2:00 to 5:00 PM

WHERE: Medicine Wheel Productions, 110 K Street, 2nd Floor, South Boston, MA 02127

Join us for an afternoon of cultural exchange - great food, music, and conversation. Enjoy Poetry Reading, Irish dance, urban dance, and world music. Boston’s first ever Chief Diversity Officer, Shaun Blugh, will be our speaker. Performances by: • Zumix • OrigiNation, Inc. • Heavy-Quinn Dance School •Jamele Adams. This program is presented in partnership with the Montserrat Aspirers.

Admission: Donation $10 | Free for children 12 and under. Advance registration appreciated.

For further information and reservations, contact Johanne Méléance Phone: 617-542-7654 Ext. 13: Email:

Domestic Worker’s Bill of Rights

The Domestic Worker’s Bill of Rights (the “Nanny Bill”) took effect this month on April 1. It is important to remember that the Massachusetts wage and hour laws, as well as the Domestic Worker’s Bill of Rights, apply to all workers regardless of immigration status, including undocumented workers. To more fully understand your rights and obligations, the IIIC suggests that you visit the Massachusetts Attorney General’s website for detailed information:

Time's Running Out!

But there's still time! Remember to take a minute to recognize your favorite charity (the IIIC!) through the Boston Globe GRANT program ending on April 30.

The Boston Globe GRANT Program enables readers to show their support for non-profits by choosing which ones are given free advertising space in The Boston Globe. The organizations with the highest donations will be able to spread the word about their valuable work through this process

Seven-day newspaper subscribers' vouchers are valued at $100; all other subscribers (including website-only readers) receive vouchers valued at $50. You may have already received the voucher in the mail. This will cost you nothing. Simply write our name and address on the voucher, and place it in the return envelope. Alternatively, you may go online and enter your selection at The Irish International Immigrant Center, 100 Franklin Street, Boston, MA 02110

Career Opportunities at the IIIC

Join the team at the IIIC! Two positions are currently open. For more information visit the IIIC website ( and go to “Get Involved – Career Opportunities.”

Wellness Director

The Center seeks a director of our Wellness services who is capable and qualified to provide individual and group counseling services, case management and the coordination of a number of community engagement activities. Activities include substance abuse prevention, suicide prevention programs, health screenings and other holistic services designed to ensure that newcomers safely transition and integrate into society

Guest Services Coordinator

The Guest Services Coordinator will ensure that all our visitors feel welcomed and cared for and respond to callers with accurate information in a respectful manner. The Coordinator will be knowledgeable about all our services, and the services of other agencies to which we make referrals. The Coordinator will also manage the reception area, telephone system, and office supplies.