Lourey Unveils Immigration Plan at Forum

A Plan with Vision and Hope vs. the Politics of Fear and Division

Senator Becky Lourey, DFL candidate for Governor, announced today (Feb. 15) a comprehensive immigration plan addressing public safety, economic development and education. Titled the “New Minnesotans Security and Growth Plan,” the plan creates opportunities for success as well as promotes economic growth in Minnesota.

“With this package we offer a vision and hope for the future for our growing immigrant communities and state in sharp contrast to the policies of fear and division offered by Governor Pawlenty. This comprehensive, positive immigration plan will not only help to bring all communities together and enrich our state culturally, but can infuse millions of dollars into the Minnesota economy,” Lourey said.

“We are a state of immigrants. Many of our parents and grandparents came to this country and to Minnesota specifically to achieve the American dream,” Lourey continued. “Our new immigrant families want to do the same. We need to eliminate the barriers for achieving success, not promote policies that divide us and make us less safe.”

The 10-point policy was unveiled at the Lourey Immigration Open Forum Wednesday at the Paul and Sheila Wellstone Center on the West Side of St. Paul. The forum was moderated by Jorge Saavedra F., attorney and policy consultant. An audience question and answer period followed the Lourey interview.

Features of the policy include:

  • Supporting and upholding all current and future Police/Immigration separation agreements.
  • Establishing a Minnesota Office of Immigrant Affairs and a Joint Legislative Immigrant Refugee Policy Task Force.
  • Establishing a Minnesota Trade Office in Mexico to foster greater trade opportunities between Minnesota and Mexico.
  • State recognition of the Matricula Consular for procuring driver’s licenses, library cards and other documents.
  • Signing the Dream Act into law providing in-state higher education tuition rates to all immigrants who attended public schools in Minnesota; and
  • Removing the five-year cap on teaching of English as a Second Language in Minnesota public schools.

Noting the importance of establishing a trade office in Mexico, Lourey said, “Wisconsin has operated a trade office in Mexico for several years, fostering $946 million in state exports. That’s nearly double the Minnesota to Mexico exports in 2004.

“Just think of the jobs we could bring to Minnesota if we added $450 million in trade with our neighbors in Mexico,” Lourey said. “Stronger economic ties and a better cultural understanding can move Minnesota forward rather than hold us back. Generations of immigration have always strengthened Minnesota in the past, and I see no rational purpose to leave that tradition behind.”