Minnesota immigrants: A net economic benefit

A new report by University of Minnesota Prof. Katherine Fennelly suggests that, rather than seeing immigrants as little more than a drain on the state’s economy, Minnesota ought to be welcoming them as a key positive economic influence. “School enrollments are declining, but things would be worse without immigrant children,” she says. “Main streets are closing up, but new businesses are being bought and run by immigrants.” Fennelly, who teaches at the university’s Humphrey Institute, is an internationally recognized expert on immigration, and how communities deal demographic changes.  

Going deeper, learning more
Click to download the full text of The Economic Impact of Immigrants in Minnesota
Click to read Fennelly’s selected writings
Based on census data, her report says there were 334,000 foreign-born Minnesotans in 2007, representing about 6.5 percent of the state’s population. Continue Reading

Immigrants’ rights activists vie for attention

Seeking to keep a light burning over the issue of immigrants’ rights as the nation turns its attention to other priorities, a small group of activists from around southern Minnesota a`nd the Twin Cities spent a hot, muggy weekend on what they called a journey of hope in Owatonna, Austin and Albert Lea. Whether they can get federal lawmakers to hear their pleas remains to be seen.  “People need to step forward, and not just say they want immigration reform,” said one of the event’s organizers, Ernesto Velez Bustos, of Centro Campesino in Owatonna. The organization co-ordinated the three days of events and served as the staging area for Friday’s march. “If people work together, they can get something done.” Groups that supported the marches included the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Coalition, the Minnesota Immigrant Freedom Network, the Interfaith Coalition on Immigration and the Service Employees International Union Local 26, among others. Continue Reading