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Sen. Gimse and Ingebrigstsen discuss illegal immigration

WILLMAR - Sens. Joe Gimse (R-Willmar) and Bill Ingebrigtsen (R-Alexandria) said Thursday in Willmar they want to bring the issue of illegal immigration into an "open forum" to discuss and resolve problems like identify theft and fraud.

WILLMAR - Sens. Joe Gimse (R-Willmar) and Bill Ingebrigtsen (R-Alexandria) said Thursday in Willmar they want to bring the issue of illegal immigration into an "open forum" to discuss and resolve problems like identify theft and fraud.

The two senators are spending the day touring the state to discuss illegal immigration. Besides Willmar they were scheduled to hold press conferences in Morris, Alexandria, Long Prairie and Sauk Centre.

Gimse said Minnesotans welcome immigrants who are here legally but are frustrated with "lawlessness" that is associated with illegal immigration. Those who are involved with crime put a "cloud of doubt" over all immigrants, he said.

Gimse said by using technology that would record a person's fingerprint or retina onto a driver's license, there would be one name associated with one person and crimes involving identity theft and fraud would decrease. He said the technology is currently available to implement that option in Minnesota.

Ingebrigtsen said more stringent measures to address illegal immigration would also address the possibility of terrorists coming into the state from the northern border.

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One woman in the audience said Ingebrigtsen was using "fear-mongering" by associating immigration with terrorism.

Another woman said the problems of fraud and identity theft should be dealt with without being directly tied to immigration because those crimes are also committed by individuals who have not immigrated to Minnesota.

Carolyn Lange is a features writer at the West Central Tribune. She can be reached at clange@wctrib.com or 320-894-9750
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