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Many Minnesota groups making the case for immigration reform

Whatever the subject area, it takes a truly broad coalition to achieve comprehensive change in the law. This is especially true at the national level, where clashing interests and problematic political dynamics often derail reform efforts.

It may well be, however, that the necessary coalition is forming to achieve comprehensive immigration reform. And Minnesota groups are prepared to play their part.

Business, labor, and church groups in Minnesota are showing an unusual degree of commonality in their support for the proposed reform bill that Congress is considering. To be sure, the groups do not agree about everything. But they share many important principles to guide the reform effort.

One of those principles is the creation of a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who are already in the U.S. Also important is the development of better ways to enable employers to easily yet accurately verify the immigration status of their workers.

Of course, achieving reform doesn’t only require agreement on broad principles. It is also crucial for supporters to go out and make the case for it – both with the public at large and with legislators.

Immigrant groups in Minnesota are doing just that. For example, a group called Navigate MN is getting the word out in the Hispanic community about the benefits immigration reform could bring.

Similarly, major Minnesota employers such as Cargill are getting behind the reform effort as well. Last week, Cargill’s CEO participated in a pro-reform event sponsored by the National Association of Manufacturers.

This group contends that hundreds of thousands of industrial jobs go unfilled. Part of the reason for this, Cargill’s CEO believes, is that the federal government’s E-Verify program has made it so difficult to verify workers’ immigration status.

The Minnesota Council of Churches supports immigration reform as well. For many churches, reform is a justice issue, particularly in the need to stop deportations that tear law-abiding families apart.

Source: Star Tribune, “Religious, activist, business groups united in support of immigration reform,” Mark Brunswick, June 21, 2013

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