From Veena Iyer <[email protected]>
Subject April News from the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota
Date April 14, 2023 2:45 PM
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Dear Friends and Allies,

In March, we celebrated one of the biggest legislative wins for immigrants in Minnesota in decades: the final passage and signing of Driver's License for All! This is not just a win for 2023, but a win for 20 years of hard work, organizing, and persistence by a broad coalition of immigrants and allies. ILCM has been part of that work from the beginning, as part of our continuing mission of public policy advocacy.

Advocacy begins with tracking state, local, and federal legislation and regulations affecting immigrants and identifying priorities. Our advocacy committee, which includes community, board, and staff members, is crucial in setting priorities each year. All of our advocacy work includes working with partners to support fair and humane policies affecting immigrants.

At the state level this year, we are focusing on four initiatives:

- Driver's License for All --now signed into law!

- One Day Matters for Gross Misdemeanor Convictions (HF43/SF816): This bill would reduce the maximum sentence for a gross misdemeanor from 365 days to 364 days to ensure that a Minnesota gross misdemeanor conviction cannot be treated as an aggravated felony by the federal government. Status: It passed the House by a unanimous 125-0 vote, awaiting Senate action. (LINKS: HF43 - [link removed] ; SF816 - [link removed])

- Office of New Americans (Standalone: HF330/SF360; Omnibus: HF2233/SF3035): The standalone bill would permanently establish the Office of New Americans to ensure economic growth for the state and economic prosperity for all Minnesotans. Status: It is included in both chambers' Workforce Omnibus bills, at a funding level of $1.5M in the House and $750,000 in the Senate. (LINKS: HF330 - [link removed] ; SF360 - [link removed] ; HF2233 - [link removed] ; SF 3035 - [link removed] )

- MinnesotaCare Coverage for All Minnesotans (Standalone: HF96/SF49; Omnibus: HF2930/SF2995): The standalone bill would extend MinnesotaCare coverage to all Minnesotans, regardless of immigration status. Status: The House Health Finance Omnibus includes this provision. The Senate Health Finance Omnibus includes coverage for undocumented children under age 19 only. (LINK: HF96 - [link removed] ; SF49 - [link removed] ; HF2930 - [link removed] ; SF2995 - [link removed] )

Our advocacy includes providing technical assistance to immigrant-led advocacy organizations, providing input on the language of bills, and having direct conversations with legislators as well as offering written and in-person testimony in committee hearings. One very important part of advocacy is keeping our community informed and enlisting your support in contacting legislators.

At the federal level, our advocacy includes communication with elected representatives. We also file public comments on proposed regulatory changes, join in amicus briefs and legal actions in federal courts, and join in coalition letters to public officials on policy issues. In March, for example, we filed a comment opposing the anti-asylum regulation that was proposed by the Biden administration. At the federal level, as at state and local levels, your voices, emails, and telephone calls to elected representatives are hugely important in this process of advocacy for just immigration policies.

Thank you for supporting ILCM's advocacy work and for making your voices heard on the important immigration policy issues that affect all of us, in Minnesota and in the entire country.

In solidarity,

Veena Iyer
ILCM Executive Director

Our Austin, Our America

This collaborative community project began with a variety of portrait exhibits and evolved into a companion book with the stories of the people featured. Visitors to this exhibit can look forward to an experience that celebrates the positive impact of embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion in Austin.

Admission to the Minnesota State Capitol, including the 3rd Floor Exhibit Gallery, is free and open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

LINK: [link removed]

Immigrants Pay Taxes: Expand tax credits for Minnesotans with ITINs

Individual Tax Identification Numbers (ITIN) allow undocumented Minnesotans to pay federal and state taxes. Unfortunately, ITIN holders do not have access to a number of tax exemptions and credits, despite their contributions to our economy. SF174 would allow ITIN holders to access the homestead exemption, and HF721 would expand the working family credit to ITIN holders. Both bills would support working undocumented and mixed status families.

Undocumented workers pay billions in taxes, but don't receive social security, unemployment compensation, Medicaid, Medicare, or a host of other benefits that their taxes pay for.

Expanding MinnesotaCare coverage would allow undocumented immigrants, including tens of thousands of frontline workers, to get health insurance.

LINKS: [link removed] ; [link removed]

We did it! Driver's Licenses for All

Thank you to our amazing community! You did it. We did it. Driver's Licenses for All is finally the law again in Minnesota!

Check out ILCM's FAQ on the new law! (Translations coming soon) LINK: [link removed]

We also have a fact sheet in English, Somali, and Spanish. The Somali and Spanish fact sheets also have audio recordings.

ENGLISH FACT SHEET: [link removed] ; SOMALI FACT SHEET: [link removed] ; SPANISH FACT SHEET: [link removed]

ILCM Welcomes New Board Members

ILCM welcomes Greg Langer and Fafa Yakor (as Treasurer) to our Board of Directors. We're also excited to announce Sarah Radosevich as our new Board President and Marielos Cabrera as our Board Vice President. We also thank Katheryn Wasylik for her continued work as our Board Secretary.

GREG - [link removed] ; FAFA - [link removed] ; SARAH - [link removed] ; MMARIELOS - [link removed] ; KATHERYN - [link removed]

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