As Governor, Becky Lourey will implement the following New Minnesotans Security and Growth Plan in order to provide a secure environment for healthy growth within Minnesota’s immigrant and refugee communities:
1. Support Local Law Enforcement
Senator Lourey will honor, support and uphold all current and future Police/Immigration Service separation ordinances. These critical ordinances ensure that our local police are not hampered in their current tasks by assuming the immense responsibilities of immigration officials. Eroding the distinction between local police and the Immigration Service will make it more difficult for local law enforcement to keep our communities safe.
2. Recognize the Matricula Consular
As Governor, Becky Lourey will officially recognize the matricula consular at the state level and allow it to serve as an official form of identification. This document will provide increased reliability and security for law enforcement personnel as well as Mexican immigrants. Minnesota will join 11 other states in allowing the matricula consular to be used to procure driver’s licenses, library cards, and so forth.
The Mexican Government performs extensive background checks on applicants for the matricular consular. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety will work closely with the Mexican Consulate to ensure that no one who poses a criminal risk to Minnesota receives authorization for a matricular consular.
3. Establish a Minnesota Trade Office in Mexico
A Minnesota Trade Office in Mexico will promote commerce between Minnesotan and Mexican businesses. In addition, it will encourage cultural and educational exchange between our communities. The success of this office will help to strengthen the social and cultural ties between Minnesota and Mexico as trading partners.
The State of Wisconsin has developed such a trade office, and Mexico has become Wisconsin’s second most significant export destination, accounting for $946 million dollars in sales within a single yearnearly twice as much as Minnesota.
In addition to working with Mexico, Becky Lourey will be a governor who maximizes trading opportunities in other countries with whom Minnesota has strong ties. While trade offices are not feasible in all countries, focusing on expanding trade in the areas where Minnesotan immigrants have expertise and relationships will strengthen our economy and further support successful integration of immigrant populations into the community.
4. Joint Legislative Immigrant and Refugee Policy Task Force
Senator Lourey will establish a Joint Legislative Task Force to focus on the policy issues affecting immigrants and refugees in Minnesota. This task force will develop true cost accounting for both the liabilities and benefits Minnesota experiences as a result of our immigrant and refugee communities. The Task Force will identify and make recommendations for addressing critical issues, disproportionate costs, and emerging opportunities.
5. Minnesota New Americans Policy Council
As Governor, Becky Lourey will generate an executive order to create a New Americans Policy Council comprised of legislative, community, and business leaders. The Council will: consult broadly with immigrant leaders and host communities to identify “best practices”; make recommendations to the Governor regarding policies and state programs that equip immigrants with the tools they need to become productive contributors to society; support state agencies in developing plans to assist immigrants and their host communities.
6. Remove the five year cap on the teaching of English as a Second Language in Minnesota public schools
Studies show it takes 7-10 years for non-native speakers to become proficient enough in English to be college-ready. Our goal must be to ensure that no one is denied access to education. Since their inception, Minnesota’s public schools have been the place to which people come to learn the language and culture of Minnesota. There must not be an expiration notice on this opportunity.
7. Sign the Dream Act into law
The Dream Act will allow all children who have attended public school in Minnesota to attend our state universities at in-state tuition rates. Education is the primary determinant of future success for all children regardless of where they were born. Access to higher education ensures that families will continue to bring prosperity to the State of Minnesota for many generations.
8. Reform Health Care
The largest costs associated with immigrants in the State of Minnesota are those related to health care. Ironically, the escalating costs of health care have nothing to do with resident or immigrant status. Every group of uninsured and underinsured residents is extremely costly for employers, the State, and individual taxpayers. With her quarter century of visionary leadership in health care issues, Senator Lourey will craft comprehensive universal health care reform to ensure every person living in Minnesota—regardless of age or nation of origin—has access to affordable quality health care.
9. Secure Employer and Employee Rights
Senator Lourey will work with employers, union officials, and employee advocates to clarify the rules governing employer and employees rights and responsibilities with regard to hiring immigrants. It is crucial that efforts to support national immigration policies are not allowed to conflict with our shared interests in safe, productive work environments. Unnecessary increases in the fines associated with the unintentional hiring of immigrants add business expenses and liabilities; these increased costs then become barriers to employment for legal immigrants in that they encourage racial profiling during the hiring process. Immigration sweeps by Immigration Service officials masquerading as safety inspectors put all employees at risk by undermining the trust and authority of the real inspectors. As Governor, Becky Lourey will make sure that both employers and employee advocates participate in the development of working solutions.
10. Expand Support for Capital Access
Immigrants must be provided avenues to success that allow them to move from low-wage service jobs to highly productive careers. It is in our state’s best interest to ensure that start-up and expanding businesses have access to the capital necessary to grow and add living-wage jobs to the economy. Historically, this work has been done best in partnership with community-based lenders and economic development companies. This type of economic partnership is particularly crucial within our immigrant communities in that without such initiatives few avenues to economic promotion are opened to these populations. As Governor, Becky Lourey will expand support for capital access by supporting partnerships between micro-lending programs, capital investment initiatives, community development corporations, civic funds, community banks and credit unions.