Partnership for Immigrants’ Rights

The Partnership for Immigrants’ Rights  is a team of immigration advocates and Northeastern researchers devoted to promoting the health, safety and human rights of immigrants. The Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy (PHRGE) founded the Partnership in September 2019 by inviting immigration advocates and Northeastern researchers to convene regularly to develop research and advocacy initiatives that flow directly from the needs of immigrant communities. Since that time, representatives of the Massachusetts American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA) have met regularly with an interdisciplinary team of Northeastern academics with expertise in race and criminal justice, health care policy, human rights law, immigration, and sociology. For more information, contact Elizabeth Ennen, director of PHRGE, at

Mission Statement

The Partnership for Immigrants’ Rights (Partnership) aims to protect and promote the human rights of immigrants in Massachusetts. The Partnership pursues its goals by bringing together immigration advocates, interdisciplinary academics, and immigrants for collaborative work on the pressing issues facing immigrant communities, including access to justice, community safety, public health, and racial justice. Partnership members work together (1) to generate community-informed and advocacy-driven research, and (2) to deploy the results of this research in the development and implementation of tools for change, including advocacy strategies, policy proposals, communications plans, legal interventions, and public education campaigns. The Partnership’s work focuses on Massachusetts but provides important insights for research and advocacy in the United States and beyond.

Spring 2023 Conference for Immigration Organizations

Advancing Immigrants' Rights in Massachusetts: Connecting Research to Action was held on April 11. The goal of the conference was to help immigration organizations in Massachusetts (1) picture ways in which academic research might support their advocacy and fundraising goals, and (2) connect with Northeastern researchers. If you were not able to attend but are interested in learning more about the Partnership for Immigrants' Rights, please contact Elizabeth Ennen at

Organizations Represented in the Partnership


The Everett Language Access Project
The Partnership, in collaboration with Northeastern's Institute for Health Equity and Social Justice Research, worked with the mayor of Everett, MA, Carlo Demaria, and the Everett Safe and Welcoming Coalition, to develop a language-needs assessment for Everett. The project supported anti-racism efforts in Everett and informed efforts to improve statewide regulations on language-access issues.

The Trust Project
Northeastern's Institute for Health Equity and Social Justice Research, in collaboration with the Partnership, produced a report on how undocumented and mixed-status families in Massachusetts experience life with respect to healthcare access, policing, and legal protection. The report also provided information on the effect of “sanctuary” or welcoming” policies on these individuals and families. The report flowed from a community-based participatory research collaboration between Northeastern University’s Institute for Health Equity and Social Justice Research, MIRA, the Massachusetts ACLU, and several grassroots community centers in Massachusetts.

The Safe Communities Project
The Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy (PHRGE), in collaboration with the Partnership, is issuing a report on a multi-year research project on the “sanctuary” or "safe community" policies (e.g., bylaws, ordinances, resolutions) enacted in Massachusetts municipalities in recent years. This research has significantly enhanced advocacy efforts to promote strong “safe community” policies in Massachusetts.

MA Police and Immigration Enforcement Project
The Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy (PHRGE), in collaboration with the Partnership, is using public-record requests to identify all local Massachusetts police policies on the issue of immigration enforcement. PHRGE will produce a report on the degree to which Massachusetts police departments are electing to collaborate with federal officials on immigration enforcement, and a toolkit for advocates: Guide for Using Public-Records Law to Solicit Information from Massachusetts Police Departments.

People in the Partnership

Immigration Advocates

Rosa Alemán
Digital Communications Manager and Content Strategist, ACLU of Massachusetts

Mariana Dutra
Lead Organizer, Massachusetts Immigrant & Refugee Advocacy Coalition, MIRA

Traci Griffith
Director of Racial Justice Program, ACLU of Massachusetts

Amy Grunder
Director of State Policy & Legislative Affairs , Massachusetts Immigrant & Refugee Advocacy Coalition, MIRA

Javier Luengo-Garrido
Organizing Strategist and Community Advocate, ACLU of Massachusetts

Laura Rótolo
Field Director for Public Advocacy, ACLU of Massachusetts

Sarang Sekhavat
Political Director, Massachusetts Immigrant & Refugee Advocacy Coalition, MIRA

Northeastern University Researchers

Mehreen Butt
Managing Director, Center for Health Policy and Law, Northeastern University School of Law

Martha Davis
University Distinguished Professor of Law; Faculty Co-Director, Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy; Faculty Director, NuLawLab

Carlos Cuevas
Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice; Co-Director, Violence and Justice Research Laboratory

Danielle Crookes
Assistant Professor of Sociology and Health Sciences

Elizabeth Ennen
Director, Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy at the Northeastern University School of Law

Amy Farrell
Director and Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice

Hemanth Gundavaram
Clinical Professor and Associate Dean for Experiential Education; Director, Immigrant Justice Clinic; Director, Clinical Programs

Tiffany Joseph
Associate Professor of Sociology and International Affairs; Affiliated Faculty in Africana Studies, Bouvé College of Health Sciences, Institute of Health Equity and Social Justice Research, and School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs

Alisa Lincoln
Associate Dean of Research, College of Social Sciences; Humanities Director, Institute for Health Equity and Social Justice Research; Professor, Sociology and Health Sciences

Isabel Martinez
Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of Latinx, Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Wendy Parmet
Matthews Distinguished University Professor of Law and Director, Center for Health Policy and Law; Professor of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, Northeastern University School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs

Rachel Rosenbloom
Professor of Law; Associate Dean for Experiential Education at the Northeastern University School of Law

Carmel Salhi
Assistant Professor of Health Sciences at the Bouvè College of Health Sciences

Partnership-Affiliated Research

Elizabeth Ennen, Andra Lehotay de León, and Colleen Maney, Safe Communities in Massachusetts: The Response of Massachusetts Municipalities to the Immigration Policies of the Trump Administration (Northeastern University School of Law, Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy, Boston 2023).

Sundos Al-Husayni, Addressing Language Access in the City of Everett: Recommendations for Performing a Language Access Assessment, Final Capstone Project, Bachelor of Science in Health Science, Northeastern University, April 2021

Highlighted Research

Margaret Sullivan, How Accessible is Health Care for Immigrants & Refugees in Greater Boston? A Qualitative Approach to What is Working and Not Working in Healthcare Access for a Marginalized Population, in cooperation with the Massachusetts Immigrant & Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA), FXB Center for Health & Human Rights, and FXB Field Education Internship Program at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, 2017.

  • Highlights

    "Tahoe on Trial: Guatemalan Communities Defend Land and Life"

    On October 26th, Llan Carlos Davila, a community leader from Santa Rosa de Lima in Guatemala spoke about efforts to peacefully halt the development of Tahoe Resources’ Escobal silver mine through popular education, grassroots base building and the organization of six municipal referenda during which more than 50,000 people have voted against mining in their territories. Llan Carlos also detailed the ongoing threats he and other leaders face due to their efforts to defend the results of the referenda and halt Tahoe’s expansion in the region. This event is part of a speaking tour organized by the Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala (NISGUA). For more information, see

    "Tapping into the Right to Water: Accessibility, Affordability, and Quality"

    On November 5-6, 2015, the Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy (PHRGE) hosted its 10th annual Human Rights Institute at Northeastern University School of Law. This year, PHRGE’s Institute convened scholars and advocates to explore how a human rights framework can be applied to water rights advocacy and implementation, with specific attention to accessibility, affordability and quality. The keynote speech, entitled, "Beyond Greens vs. The Poor: A Way Out of the U.S. Water Crisis", was delivered by Patricia Jones, Senior Program Leader on the Human Right to Water at the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC).


    "The Human Right to Water and Sanitation: Malmo's 'Sorgenfri' Roma Settlement and Beyond"

    On December 8, 2015, Faculty Co-Director Martha F. Davis will present a seminar at the Swedish Foundation for Human Rights, entitled "The Human Right to Water and Sanitation: Malmo's 'Sorgenfri' Roma Settlement and Beyond". She will speak about the eviction of a Roma settlement in Malmo on environmental grounds and offer comparisons to the human rights struggles centered around the right to water in the United States.