Council Action on Immigration Reform
In addition to this morning's changes to the City's legislative agenda on guns, the Council tackled another incredibly important issue: immigration reform. You can read the action here, see a powerpoint on education policy here, and see the full recommendations of the City's Latino Engagement Task Force here.
The Committee of the Whole unanimously approved two changes to our legislative agenda. The first makes clear that we support allowing all students - regardless of immigration status - who graduate from Minnesota high schools to pay in-state tuition to attend Minnesota public colleges and universities, and to apply for scholarships from the U of M and Minnesota State College and University system. This puts Minnesota kids who happen to be undocumented immigrants in the same position as other students (including kids from Wisconsin) when it comes to paying for college.
The second action makes clear that we support modifying the Minnesota driver's license procedures to allow information regarding the applicant to be gathered from an identification card issued by a government other than the United States.
There are good examples of both of these policies from other states. Many other states (California, Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and Washington) allow students to pay in-state tuition, regardless of status. California, New Mexico, and Texas allow students, regardless of status, to have access to state financial aid. In New Mexico, the percentage of uninsured drivers dropped from 33 percent in 2002, before immigrants could receive driver’s licenses, to 10.6 percent after they could receive licenses. These policies have proven to be successful in other states, and it's time Minnesota joined in this progress.
This action by the Council would not have been possible without a lot of hard work by the Latino Engagement Task Force, and I commend them and the staff with the Neighborhood and Community Relations Department for putting these important recommendations together.