Editorial: Care should be used on immigration
Minnesota is facing its largest influx of immigrants in nearly a quarter of a century at the same time immigration is becoming a political issue. More than 11,700 people immigrated to Minnesota in 2004, according to Homeland Security Data release...
Minnesota is facing its largest influx of immigrants in nearly a quarter of a century at the same time immigration is becoming a political issue.
More than 11,700 people immigrated to Minnesota in 2004, according to Homeland Security Data released this week. The leading group -- totaling 1,445 -- of new wave immigrants was from Somalia, according to The Associated Press.
There are many reasons why immigrants come to Minnesota. Some are the same reasons as in the past when many Norwegians, Swedes, Irish, Germans and others immigrated to the state. The state economy drew new immigrants. Many came and come because other family members have already located here in the state.
And there are new reasons for immigration. Minnesota has become a favored destination because of the assistance provided by groups, such as Lutheran Social Services and Catholic Charities.
Immigrants -- new and old -- have and will continue to play a growing role in our community and Minnesota.
As citizens and politicians address issues of immigration -- both legal and illegal -- care must be taken to find positive, proactive ways to deal with our challenges.
Political discourse should be civil and careful. An inflammatory or careless discussion can easily create backlash for immigrant communities -- whether they are Somalian, Hmong or Latino.
We must consider the needs of Minnesota's employers. There are needs at the state's technology and medical companies for science and technology workers. And there are needs in the food processing and agricultural industry for production workers.
Playing politics with immigration for political purposes is not good policy for Minnesota. In fact, it will only exacerbate the situation.
We encourage Gov. Pawlenty and the Legislature to develop proactive, constructive methods of discussion when dealing with legal and illegal immigration issues.