The immigration issue returns

Gov. Pawlenty is back with a series of legislative proposals to crack down on illegal immigration in Minnesota.

Several of them died in the legislative session of 2006, but not because they didn’t enjoy broad support among the DFL legislators.

Dismissing the governor’s suggestions, Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller said…


“These are warmed-over proposals that couldn’t pass the House of Representatives when it was controlled by the Republicans.”

Pogemiller is wrong about that.

The most controversial one at the time, which is also included in the measures announced on Monday, would do away with local ordinances — primarily in Minneapolis and St. Paul — restricting police officers from asking immigrants about their legal status.

That measure passed the then Republican-controlled House 94-37 in 2006, before it was sent to a committee in the Senate, where it died a quiet death without a hearing. But DFL support for the measure made it one of the most bipartisan bills at the height of partisanship in Minnesota. Thirty-one of the 65 DFLers in the House at the time voted for the measure.

Pawlenty’s proposals also introduce a potential wedge issue in Minnesota’s 2008 campaigns. The immigration issue is among the most important for Republican voters and candidates, as Pawlenty’s choice for president, John McCain, found out. McCain has spent much of the last year trying to repair the damage to his campaign after sponsoring immigration reform legislation in the Senate with Sen. Ted Kennedy.

The immigration issue here, however, is most real in the western part of the state. In Worthington, 200 illegal immigrants were nabbed in a raid on a meatpacking plant. Last month, MPR’s Mark Steil reported the town is still trying to recover.

“Right now we’re still living in the past,” says Pedro Lira, a union official at the Swift plant. “We just try to rebuild this community because (there’s) still no trust at all.”

The issue sparks emotional debate based on often unverifiable claims.

A 2005 report to Gov. Pawlenty from his Department of Administration (See pdf) claimed an illegal immigrant population of between 80,000 and 85,000, and attributed rising costs in many state programs to them. In a 2006 report to the Legislature, however, the legislative auditor questioned the accuracy of the population estimates (See pdf).

Nonetheless, a 2004 MPR poll showed those surveyed think immigrants cost more than they contribute to the state.

  • howard

    States are going to have to solve illegal immigration. Our government in Washington can not deal with it the way it needs to be dealt with. States will have to enforce employers laws and that will stop illegal immigration. That is the only way or illegal immigration will continue. Washington isn’t going to enforce the border, they have already canceled half of the fence they promised to build in 2006. The only way Washington wants to deal with illegal immigration is amnesty, if not for immigrants, then for businesses that employ them.

  • Dr Coles
  • American Citizen

    The Federal government has an obligation to protect the states against invasion that is explicitly stated in the Constitution. I believe every American citizen who has suffered damages from this Mexican invasion in the form of stolen jobs, reduced wages from competition, crime, stolen services, and so many other damages has a legal cause of action against the Federal government for failing to take effective action to stop this invasion.

    I’m not sure what unconstitutional laws this crooked legislature and executive office have snuck into the U.S. Code to prevent such a legal action but if I was a lawyer I would definitely check it out. The potential is phenomenal if you could keep the lawsuit alive.

    I think that Bush, unwittingly defined this as an invasion when he used his executive powers to mobilize the National Guard to the border. Not sure, but don’t think he had the authority to do that unless it is an invasion and thus, by doing so, he de facto declared it as such. Not sure on this, still researching. You should too. It’s going to take all of us working hard to defend our homes. The crooked Federal government certainly doesn’t want to do so.

  • Brittanicus

    Last March Sen.McCain, Obama, Clinton, Richardson and friends agreed with ultra liberal Ted Kennedy a path to citizenship for illegal aliens. But something even worse is coming to your community, as your state and county treasury is bled dry by free-loaders who broke our immigration laws. Take a look at Los Angeles? New statistics from the Department of Public Social Services reveal that illegal immigrants (that means illegal not legal) and their families in Los Angeles County collected over $37 million in welfare and food stamp allocations in November 2007 – up $3 million dollars from September, announced Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich.

    Twenty five percent of the all welfare and food stamps benefits is going directly to the children of illegal aliens. Illegals collected over $20 million in welfare assistance for November 2007 and over $16 million in monthly food stamp allocations for a projected annual cost of $444 million.

    “This new data shows an alarming increase in the devastating impact Illegal immigration continues to have on Los Angeles County taxpayers,” said Antonovich. “With $220 million for public safety, $400 million for healthcare, and $444 million in welfare appropriations, the total cost for illegal immigrants to County taxpayers far exceeds $1 billion a year , which does not include millions of dollars in education.

  • Brittanicus

    It has been reported that Democratic voters have not been asked their standing on the front burning issue of illegal immigration, by the media. Yet, each day the Republicans are bombarded continously with this economic question–and it is economic as well as everything to do with national security? Democratic voters, just like Republicans and Independants, want to know where their tax dollars are going? Even in the debates the questions of Democratic presidential nominees have been engineered, and have not been asked any questions about the illegal immigrant occupation of our nation!

    Last March Sen.McCain, Obama, Clinton, Richardson and friends agreed with ultra liberal Ted Kennedy a path to citizenship for illegal aliens. But something even worse is coming to your community, as your state and county treasury is bled dry by free-loaders who broke our immigration laws. Take a look at Los Angeles? New statistics from the Department of Public Social Services reveal that illegal immigrants (that means illegal not legal) and their families in Los Angeles County collected over $37 million in welfare and food stamp allocations in November 2007 – up $3 million dollars from September, announced Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich.

    Twenty five percent of the all welfare and food stamps benefits is going directly to the children of illegal aliens. Illegals collected over $20 million in welfare assistance for November 2007 and over $16 million in monthly food stamp allocations for a projected annual cost of $444 million.

    “This new data shows an alarming increase in the devastating impact Illegal immigration continues to have on Los Angeles County taxpayers,” said Antonovich. “With $220 million for public safety, $400 million for healthcare, and $444 million in welfare appropriations, the total cost for illegal immigrants to County taxpayers far exceeds $1 billion a year , which does not include millions of dollars in education. The federal government takes your taxes to educate millions of illegal alien children, to the tune of 11 billion dollars!

  • Stacie

    We don’t have a significant amount of undocumented immigrants in Minnesota. The vast majority of our immigrants are legal. Why is he wasting this time when we have so many other problems? Pawlenty always brings this issue up when he’s about to pull one over the estate. Pawlenty isn’t a real republican. He wants to raise taxes by simply calling it a fee. A fee is a tax you fraud. I smell a fee hike coming and Pawlenty using this to hide behind it.

  • c

    Huh-I find it amazing that “illegal immigrants” who sometimes speak little English can bamboozle the California State Office into living assistance and such. Don’t they need a social security card, a zillion forms to fill out and I know that in Minnesota people get interviewed, several times-including their ears checked.

    What I have OBSERVED is that these ILLEGAL OFFENDERS work twice as hard as the average AMERICAN are willing to take jobs such as working in stockyards, warehouses and nightshifts to support their family.

    Who is a freeloader? If you think that you are working harder than anyone else…..perhaps you need to slow down, take a break, do something you enjoy-A PASSION!!!!!-then perhaps you’ll be to busy to watch what everyone else isn’t doing.

  • Dennis Beach

    Study after study shows that undocumented immigrants contribute far more to the economy than they take from public assistance. The politicians and public officials cited above who assert the opposite are merely posturing–either because they are pandering to fears and xenophobia to attract voters who don’t know any better, or because they are lobbying for more money from state and local governmental budgets that cut taxes for the wealthy and then find themselves short of funds. For one example of a study by a knowledgeable economist who looks at the whole picture rather than someone exploiting public paranoia with a sound-byte of supposed “data,” see this downloadable essay by Francine J. Lipman at Chapman University.

    One of the main reasons that undocumented immigration is rampant is that legal immigration is almost non-existent. Business leaders across the spectrum acknowledge that immigration limits are years behind need, even for technical positions, let alone unskilled labor. Those who make self-righteous claims that their ancestors immigrated legally are not considering that their ancestors would have been arrested and deported if current US policy had been in effect in the 19th century. Then poor people simply came to the border, and a less paranoid country gave them visas and even residency permits at Ellis Island and elsewhere. The vast majority of undocumented immigrants would apply for work permission or residency if such programs existed today. That’s the point; they don’t.

  • American Citizen II

    Blame it all on Bush…everyone has an opinion but no one has a solution. This stuff started LONG before George Bush was in office…get real people, it’s NOT up to the government to SAVE you…it’s up to every individual in this country but too many people are hiring ILLEGALS illegally – not only the big greedy corporations but plenty of individuals too……greed will never end and people trying to get cheap labor will never and end neither will immigration. America as you know it is over in 20 years. That’s George’s fault too! Big dummy.

  • http://immagrents sue

    why do we let all these forien people to our state and give them everything for free, and then dont help the poeple that where born here and have paid taxes all there life and they need help but cant get it because there skin is the wrong color. and dont tell me this is not so because it is, we have alady from sommolia that stated that she was going to have six babies because they where free, she went to school for free also. and did not tell the county that she was working and making money so she would get less money if she did. so you tell me why we should let all these people come here and take everything away from the floks that lived here. tell me why I dont think so we should close our borders and take care of our own before giving everything away to these people.