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Local groups upset over MN immigration bill

Michelle Lore//May 7, 2010//

Local groups upset over MN immigration bill

Michelle Lore//May 7, 2010//

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I’ve received a couple of press releases over the last 24 hours from organizations concerned over the bill introduced in the Minnesota House of Representatives yesterday mimicking the Arizona immigration law that went into effect late last month.

The aim of the Arizona law is to identify, prosecute and deport illegal immigrants. It immediately let to protests and reignited the divisive battle over immigration reform. (The law makes the failure to carry immigration documents a crime and gives police broad power to detain those suspected of being in the country illegally.) The bill introduced in Minnesota, HF 3830, by Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Wabasha, copies Arizona’s law.

The Advocates for Human Rights warns that these efforts “threaten human rights principles, opening wide the door to racial profiling and discrimination.” The organization believes the proposed legislation also undermines the public safety of our communities by creating a chilling effect on the ability of crime victims from Minnesota’s refugee and immigrant communities to seek the protection of the police. The Advocates say that this kind of legislation highlights the need for congressional action to reform federal immigration laws.

The Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota echoes the Advocates’ sentiments, and in a press release calls on federal leaders to take up a comprehensive reform of U.S. immigration laws. “Minnesotans, Arizonans and the U.S. need sensible federal reform of our immigration system, not piecemeal, suspect, enforcement-only measures like SB1070 or HF3830,” the ILC contends.

 The ILC also argues that the bill introduced yesterday “ignores both the serious constitutional challenges Arizona’s legislation faces and the net positive impact immigrant communities bring to Minnesota.” It also points out that with only days left in the session, there appears to be no real intention of passing the bill.

I agree. Introducing this bill so late in the session — and amid the massive fiscal challenges the legislators are working on — is likely nothing more than an attention-getting effort. If so, then I hope it works. I don’t like the Arizona law or Minnesota’s copycat legislation, but I do think it’s time for Congress to finally take up immigration reform and make some meaningful strides in that area. If nothing else, perhaps all the attention surrounding Arizona’s law will get the ball rolling.

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