Got Immigration?

December 13th, 2005

Oh, I love it when people are obviously paying attention and holding others accountable for their boneheaded ideas! Yes, BONEHEADED! (after all, this is a family blog…) That’s a kind description of the report, “The Impact of Illegal Immigration on Minnesota,” and whatever agenda is behind it.

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For example, look at Rep. Jim Knobloch’s plan:

Rep. Jim Knoblach, R-St. Cloud, said Tuesday he would introduce legislation next session that would try to prevent cities from enacting ordinances that limit the role of police in enforcing immigration laws.

“Especially in this time of war, we should not be discouraging law enforcement from enforcing the law,” Knoblach said.

Thankfully the Mayors of St. Paul and Minneapoils are united in their opposition, and understand the need for separation of city and federal law enforcement, and they want their city police forces to remain independent, not federal puppets. Here’s the entire story: Plan backs immigration queries

Today’s STrib has a couple of responses to the Gov’s assault on immigrants.

Nick Coleman hones in again with: A second scolding: Governor, do your research, please An excerpt:

But first, let’s talk about a Norwegian sailor named Johannes Larsen, who jumped ship in New York City and became an undocumented American. Larsen was the maternal grandfather of former Attorney General John Ashcroft, author of the Patriot Act, now a professor at Regent University, which calls itself America’s “pre-eminent Christian university.”

That’s right: Ashcroft is a descendant of ship jumpers. How does that eagle soar, pal?

This information is preserved at the West Norwegian Emigration Center on the island of Radoy, near Bergen, Norway, and was brought to my attention by a reader. I called the museum and confirmed it with historian Jahn Sjursen, who prepared a family history for Ashcroft when the attorney general visited Norway in 2003.

“He jumped off ship,” Sjursen said. I gasped: “Was he an illegal immigrant?”I think he did the paperwork and got [to be] American later,” Sjursen said.

Maybe there was an amnesty for illegal Norwegians. Or maybe they were rounded up and sent to North Dakota. (Hey, someone had to live there! But they’ve been sneaking into Minnesota ever since.) At any rate, I was relieved to know that Johannes Larsen finally got his papers. There would be a big stink if a law professor at America’s pre-eminent Christian university (note to Georgetown and Notre Dame: Keep trying!) was sent home to Lutefisk Land.

Mary Turk: A slap at immigrants, and unfair to boot

Pandering to prejudice, the report speaks in alarmed tones about a 32.7 percent increase in the number of noncitizen students from 2001-02 to 2002-03. The small print reveals that the increase totals fewer than 4,000 students, that it is by far the largest increase in any of the four years covered by the report, and that the increase from 2002-03 to 2004-05 was only 5.3 percent. The damnable lie comes in the scare tactic of implying that a flood of immigrant students threatens Minnesota’s schools.

Lies, damn lies and statistics — this report adds up to a distinctly un-Minnesotan call to fear those whom we should be welcoming as valuable contributors to our stable and diverse community.

From the Duluth News Tribune: State clamps down on illegal immigrants

On KSTP: Illegals costing taxpayers

And from the Bradenton Herald, where a high of 74 is expected tomorrow, where many Minnesotan’s emigrate, and where I imagine Minnesota candidates campaigning among the MN refugees is a lucrative activity: Illegal residents cost state $175M

And City Pages: Maybe immigrants aren’t so terrible after all

And Ethnic Trends blog

‘Tis the season… Joy to the World… ahhhhhhhh, makes me proud to me a Minneeee-snowt-an.


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


Is this a conspiracy? Three, no, FOUR letters from Clean Water related people in the STrib all on the same day, two board members, staff member, and a former executive director!

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First, Julie Risser:



The Corrigan era

In her Dec. 5 Opinion Exchange article, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency commissioner failed to provide convincing reasons why citizens should ignore a legislator’s complaints that the MPCA is “dropping the ball.”

While Sheryl Corrigan points to improvements that are the result of long-range planning set up before she became commissioner, she does not address the troubling MPCA actions that have occurred during her watch: MPCA officials meeting behind closed doors with high-polluting utilities to water down effective plans to reduce mercury emissions on a Total Maximum Daily Load basis (TMDL); the MPCA’s reckless proposal to push back environmental review for feedlots — rather than maintaining the status quo and requiring review for feedlots larger than 1,000 animal units, the MPCA wants to require reviews on feedlots that are 2,000 animal units or larger (in terms of waste output, 2,000 animal units equals 18,000 people).

I don’t know what is more disconcerting: the thought that the MPCA commissioner doesn’t understand that environmental policies have implications far into the future, or that she does and simply doesn’t care. But then it will be future commissioners of the MPCA who will bear the burden of explaining the environmental fallout from the Corrigan era.


Then Alyson Aakhus, project or program director at CWAA:

Still too much mercury

At a recent MPCA TMDL (total maximum daily load) hearing, an MPCA representative stated that the fish consumption advisory, in effect on every lake and river in Minnesota, will not be lifted in our lifetime, or the lifetimes of our children and grandchildren. In her Dec. 3 commentary, MPCA Commissioner Sheryl Corrigan said, “Our work with Xcel Energy will result in reduced air emissions from three metro-area coal-burning power plants.” Will result?

We know now (and have known for years) about the adverse public health and environmental effects of coal plant pollution. Why hasn’t the state already taken direct action to reduce mercury emissions from coal plants? And, what about the several other coal plants located throughout greater Minnesota? The state has done good work in reducing mercury from products due to mandates it enforced. But when you leave it up to an industry to voluntarily reduce mercury emissions, as has been the MPCA’s policy, it is not surprising the coal industry does not “volunteer” to spend the money, even though the technology is readily available.

Corrigan wrote, “Maybe we can’t see the difference, but the eagles can.” Unfortunately, eagles cannot follow a fish consumption advisory. Birds and mammals that eat fish are more exposed to methylmercury than any other animals in water ecosystems. Similarly, predators that eat fish-eating animals are at risk. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, effects of methylmercury exposure on wildlife can include death, reduced fertility, slower growth and development and abnormal behavior that affects survival.


Then Rep. Ruth Johnson:



Federal GI benefits

Many soldiers join the National Guard in order to receive help with college tuition, but repeat deployments make it difficult to use these benefits. Of more than 30 bills now in Congress dealing with the federal GI Bill, none appears to extend the time frame for Guard and Reserve soldiers to use their federal education benefits if they have been called to active duty. Minnesota has fixed this problem for state benefits; it’s time to urge Congress to enable our soldiers to use the federal education benefits they have earned and deserve.



And last but not least, Diane Jenson, formerly ED of Clean Water and now Minnesota Project:



No returns necessary

This year I am giving a stocking stuffer that can change the world: light in the form of those odd-shaped, super-efficient lightbulbs.

Available ever cheaper, in more places, these fluorescents last years longer than old-style bulbs and use a fraction of the power. At a time of rising electric prices this is a great gift.

Better yet, reduced power consumption can reduce mercury and global warming emissions significantly. Less power use, less coal burned.


Yup, the Republican masters want to eliminate citizenship for those born here. Great… just great… Let’s manufacture another “us v. them” issue to generate some more hate and discontent. Ain’t this a great country?

The other day, I was wondering what on earth Pawlenty could be getting at looking at “costs of illegal immigration” and those costs focus on education and healthcare…. well, folks, I found an article yesterday in the LA Times that explains the goal, or “a goal” to address the “problems” shown in the study — an obvious connection and I went back and posted it at the end of that blog. So guess what shows up in today’s STrib?

Second thoughts about citizenship as birthright

A push in Congress this week is an effort to keep kids of illegal immigrants from being citizens.

So it’s a safe assumption that this “study” fits with the policy change, will be used to justify it, and this is going to be a big push going forward? But what do you expect from the “protect the rich and punish the poor” “It’s all about meeeeee” mindset…

A proposal like this is a major political liability, not a workable or credible campaign platform plank. Whatever are they thinking? It looks like Republican masters are way out there, in search of a cause. And if we’re lucky, they’ll keep going down this bizarre track and voila, out with the bad, in with the … well, that’s a whole ‘nother post.


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Wednesday!!! It’s that time again — time for the Annual Power Plant Siting Act Hearing! The Power Plant Siting Act is Minn. Stat. 116C.51-69. Here are links to all of Chapter 116C.

This year it’s a little “different,” as Minnesotans say, because the folks working on power plant siting have been through a few “changes” and… well, we’ll just call it “the agency formerly known as the EQB.” One of the changes is that the hearing will be on a weekday and only during the day.

Bring treats to share, that part of the Power Plant Siting Act will NOT be disappeared by the Pawlenty administration! I’ll fire up my big coffee pot.

The Power Plant Siting Act covers all large energy infrastructure, from power plants to nuclear dry cask storage to transmission — all those projects that provide me and countless others with unending entertainment.

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State of Minnesota

Public Utilities Commission

Public Hearing
Annual Review of Energy Facilities Permitting Programs

121 7th Place East
3rd Floor Large Hearing Room
St. Paul, Minnesota

December 14, 2005 2:00 PM


I. Introductions

II. 2005 Legislative Changes
A. Transfer of authorities to the Commission from the EQB
B. Role of the Department of Commerce

III. Projects Review
A. Discussion of projects completed in the past year
B. Identification of pending and anticipated projects
1. Generating Plants
2. Transmission Lines
3. Wind Projects

IV. Public Questions and Comments – Opportunity for the public to submit oral
comments and ask questions of agency staff

V. Adjourn

What’s the point? The primary point of the hearing is to provide an opportunity for the public to be heard. This is our opportunity to tell them what we think about the shift of the Power Plant Siting group to… to wherever they are now… and what we think of the ways the rules work, what we think of the Biennial Transmission Plan, what we think about the minimalized “Buy the Farm” eminent domain provision, and what technical corrections we want and need to make the Power Plant Siting Act work.

116C.58 Annual hearing

The commission shall hold an annual public hearing at a
time and place prescribed by rule in order to afford interested
persons an opportunity to be heard regarding any matters
relating to the siting of large electric generating power plants
and routing of high-voltage transmission lines. At the meeting,
the commission shall advise the public of the permits issued by
the commission in the past year. The commission shall provide
at least ten days but no more than 45 days’ notice of the annual
meeting by mailing notice to those persons who have requested
notice and by publication in the EQB Monitor and the
commission’s weekly calendar.