I hope you all have had time to review the Governor’s report released last week. here’s the full text of “The Impact of Illegal Immigration on Minnesota.”

Border Patrol & Shep

Nick Coleman’s column today exposes this “Illegal Immigration” Report for what it is:


Pawlenty only has pandered to the xenophobic instinct that always rears its ugly head in America in times of war and fear-mongering. Very sad.

Here’s the full column:

Immigrant report fails to document accurate picture

Gov. Tim Pawlenty has issued an inflammatory report on “illegal immigrants” in Minnesota just as we are in the midst of Advent, the joyous season of anticipation. Nice timing: When better to give some “foreigners” a kick in the teeth in the hope of political gain?

This report seems to have been cooked up not for Christmas, but for Congress: The U.S. House votes on a punitive bill this week that would crack down on undocumented aliens, change their status from a civil violation to a federal crime and criminalize 11 million people.

Minnesota has fewer than half the average state’s number of “illegals,” but Pawlenty’s report seems calculated to whip up anti-immigration sentiment and to provide cover for more anti-immigrant efforts ahead.

For starters: “Illegal immigrants” is a term no conscientious official should throw around. The official term is “undocumented alien.” Pawlenty knows that, but “illegal immigrants” is politically loaded and whips up more resentment.

The governor, by the way, is of Polish descent, and his people rank 10th among “illegal” immigrants. I’m sure his papers are in order. But his “report” is not. Here are some glaring errors and omissions:

â?¢ The report says there are 80,000 “illegals” in Minnesota, more than in 20 other states. But Minnesota ranks 21st in population, so if we had our “fair share,” we would have more than 29 other states. How, exactly, is there a crisis here?

â?¢ The report claimed “illegals” cost Minnesota $180 million a year, a tad more than the state might shell out to put a nifty roof on a new Vikings stadium! But the report neglected to mention that “illegals” contribute an estimated $300 million or more in taxes to the state economy, enough even to impress a Zygi Wilf!

â?¢ The report attributes 85 percent of the cost of “illegal immigrants” to educating their children. Irresponsibly, however, it lumps 11,000 children born on U.S. soil — who thus are American citizens — with 7,000 children who are undocumented aliens. So most of the education cost (60 percent) is spent on U.S. citizens! As for the rest, the Supreme Court ruled in 1982 that all children are entitled to a public education, regardless of their immigration status.

â?¢ Immigration is driven — or pulled — by economic conditions that lure workers to jobs citizens no longer want. Fun fact: A number of Minnesota’s “illegal immigrants” are escapees from Canada. Do we look at Canadians the way we look at Mexicans or Somalis? Does racism explain some of the anger over “illegals?”

“Illegal” immigration is an inevitable product of a growing economy and tightening immigration laws, says Donna R. Gabaccia, director of the Immigration History Research Center at the University of Minnesota. “When there’s a prosperous local economy,” she says, “it attracts immigrants.”

It was a simple formula until the “illegal” label was slapped on immigrants in the 1950s (another period of high anxiety) and barriers to immigration started getting higher. Result: More “illegals,” more race-baiting pols and, now, an effort to criminalize folks whose “crime” is they want to be Americans.

Minnesota has a humanitarian tradition of helping refugees and asylum-seekers, who make up half of the foreign-born residents of this state, a higher percentage than in any other state. Despite the good efforts of our churches, government and institutions to help the people who come here to escape war, torture and famine, they now can look forward to being treated with suspicion or hostility by Minnesotans who believe Tim Pawlenty has uncovered a huge outrage to taxpayers.


Pawlenty only has pandered to the xenophobic instinct that always rears its ugly head in America in times of war and fear-mongering. Very sad.

My Christmas hope is that he underestimated Minnesota. I believe we are better than this.

Nick Coleman ncoleman@startribune.com.

From mylifeisbeer.com

Leave a Reply