A package of bills have been proposed by DFL Representative Carlos Mariani (Minneapolis) and DFL Senator Patricia Torres Ray (Minneapolis), aimed at easing integration of new immigrants into the Minnesota community. The package titled, “Minnesota New American Integration Act” creates a task force, reimburses citizenship application costs for those 200% below the poverty line, eases access for immigrants to higher education, and enables immigrants to apply for the homestead tax credit with their tax identification number, in lieu of using a social security number.
A press release put out by Mariani provides the outline for the package of bills and why he and Torres Ray think the package is necessary. The package includes 11 bills, 7 in the house of representatives, and four corresponding in the senate.
Mariani and Torres generated these bills adhering to the notion that immigrants face unique challenges in the state of Minnesota, yet if those challenges are lifted, the state could benefit. “These bills are focused on opening up opportunities tailored to the unique challenges immigrants face,” said Mariani.
According to the press release, both legislators are concerned that 2016 presidential campaign rhetoric misrepresents how valuable immigration is. Mariani expanded on this idea, asserting: “We want to assert a different vision for Minnesota, one that doesn’t turn the presence of new Americans as something to fear, but that welcomes them by doing everything possible to eliminate barriers for them to build strong lives while contributing to the prosperity of our state.”
Torres Ray argues in the press release that often politicians occasionally practice political opportunism by drafting policy proposals focused on immigrants and communities of color when elections are not far off, but believes this package represents a long-term, comprehensive agenda that improves the lives of immigrants and benefits the state of Minnesota. Both Mariani and Torres Ray are up for election in November, as well as all of their colleagues in both the senate and house of representatives.
Each of the proposed bills has received its initial reading, and have been referred to their corresponding committees for further consideration. Make sure to subscribe to Alpha News to stay updated on Minnesota politics.