Standing Up, Speaking Out,
Showing the way: Advocating for
immigrant students and families
Presented By: Ann Theisen at Minnetesol Conference 2007
Nov 2nd, 2007
© Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights 2007
Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights works to
implement international human rights standards
to promote civil society and reinforce the rule of
law by involving volunteers in research,
education, and advocacy, we build broad
constituencies in the United States and
selected global communities.
For More Information go to
www.energyofanation.org
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Obtain accurate and up-todate INFORMATION.
Access immigration CURRICULUM
Learn about current LEGISLATION.
TAKE ACTION by contacting leaders
and lawmakers.
Participate in COMMUNITY
EVENTS.
LEARN about the issues.
Access REPORTS and RESOURCES
on state and national immigration.
www.energyofanation.org
Minnetesol Conference 2007
Minnesota’s
Immigrant
Students
• In 2000 in PK-5 10% of
students were children of
immigrants, a 78% change
since 1990. (11th)
• In 2000 in 6-12th, 9% of
students were children of
immigrants, a 136% change
since 1990. (4th)
• Minneapolis Public Schools
has more than 10,000 students
who speak another language
at home
• There are over 80 home
languages in MPS and 103 in
St. Paul Public Schools
Which Immigrant Groups are Represented in Minnesota’s Schools?
Immigrant Group
School Enrollment
Latino
Hmong
Somali
Vietnamese
Russian
Laotian
Cambodian
Ethiopian
38,643
21,613
5,734
2,910
2,346
2,258
1,718
1,329
Source: Population Notes Report by Barbara Ronningen June 04
Minnesota is
unique in refugee
resettlement
 Minnesota is 2nd only to
California in resettlement.
 Minnesota only takes family
reunification cases where the
refugee has an anchor relative
here.
 VOLAGs include International
Institute, Lutheran Social Service,
Catholic Charities, MN Council of
Churches, and World Relief.
Primary Refugee Arrivals, Minnesota
1/1/2007 - 8/31/2007
Liberia
13%
FSU
6%
Other
Somalia
Burma
Ethiopia
Liberia
FSU
Other
6%
Ethiopia
14%
Somalia
42%
Burma
19%
N=1,896
“Other” includes Cameroon, China (also Tibet), DR Congo, Cuba, Eritrea, Indonesia, Kenya, Laos (Hmong),
Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Togo, Uganda and Vietnam
Refugee Health Program, Minnesota Department of Health
Who
controls
the
debate?
2007 poll results
indicate that the
majority of Americans
believe that:
 Immigrants contribute
to this country.
 Immigrants work as
hard or harder than
people born here
 People now in the
country illegally should
be given a chance at
citizenship (78%)
How are labels like
“illegal” and “terrorist”
affecting immigrant
students and children of
immigrants?
Elementary Facts
to consider
Immigrant children make
up 5.7% of high school
students and 3.5% of
elementary students.
4/5 of all children of
immigrants are nativeborn
2/3 of the 5 million
children living in
undocumented families
are US citizens, mostly
the younger children.
ICE Raids
• The first workplace raid to
gain national attention
happened December 12,
2006, at six Swift &
Company meatpacking
plants in Colorado, Texas,
Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota
and Utah. More than 1,200
workers were arrested and
many parents were forced to
abandon their children.
• Since December, workplace
raids have occurred with an
increasing frequency, and
immigrant rights advocates
have continued to see
problems with family
separation.
Social Security No Match Letters
Recognizing that the social security
no-match letters would affect more
than 8 million workers, and “result in
the termination of employment to
lawfully employed workers,” A
federal judge issued a preliminary
injunction stopping the government
from implementing and enforcing a
new Department of Homeland
Security rule punishing employers if
they do not take action after
receiving Social Security “no match”
letters until the court makes a final
ruling.
Local
Legislation
• During the first half of 2007,
1,404 immigration related
laws were introduced in
states
• 182 bills became law in 43
states (double all of 06)
• Landlords
• Driver’s licenses
• Employers
• Identification
• Separation ordinances
Refugee Family Reunification
 50% of refugees applying for a family
member will be successfully reunited.
 Separations lasting 5-10 years are
typical.
Proof of family relationship can be
complicated.
Source: John Borden International Institute of MN
Fear
Confusion
Anger
Doubt
Retreat
Stress
Exploitation
Standing
Up
Speaking
Out
Showing
the Way
Standing Up!
Pew Hispanic Center reports that 54% of Latinos have experienced
increased discrimination as a result of the policy debate.
Speaking Out!
Call Representatives
Letters to the Editor
Humanize the issue
Challenge comments
Showing the Way!
ADVOCATE
“It is not
safe for us
to speak
out. You
must
speak out
for us
now.”
A Muslim
naturalized U.S.
citizen
English Language
Learners rely on
advocates for their
questions.
Can I marry a
citizen and
get a green
card?
clipartreview.com
Why don’t Americans like
immigrants?
Can I get a
driver’s
license?
Do I need a social security
number to get a job?
Can I go to college if I don’t
have papers?
Can my family bring my
brother here?
Can you help me fill out these
papers for immigration?
What should I do if “la
migra” comes to my house?
Students, Faculty and the General
Public also have many questions
about new immigrants.
Why aren’t they
learning English?
Why don’t they care
about education?
Do they have papers?
Do they pay taxes?
How will we involve their
parents?
How did so many Hmong /
Somalis / Liberians end up in
Minnesota?
How can I teach them
science if they can’t
understand English?
You can put a human face on the debate!
The ELL Educator’s
Role as an Advocate
 As an advocate, dispel myths about
immigrants
 Answer general questions for students
using and guide them to trustworthy
resources
Refer students and families for
professional help.
 Stay informed about immigration at the
state and national level
 Influence policies affecting immigrants.
Immigration Fuels Our Nation
Take Home a
Button.
Wear it
proudly!
Dispelling Myths and Tackling Tough
Questions About Immigrants
Through fact sheets, PowerPoints, and
students activities on the Energy of a Nation
website.
www.energyofanation.org
Burst Some Myths!
Why don’t they come legally like
my ancestors did?
Immigration Historically
 15% of population foreign born between 1870-1920
and 12% today. Minnesota 29% in 1900 and 6.9%
today.
 Except for Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 few
restrictions to immigation.
 Government excluded only 1% of the 25 million
immigrants at Ellis Island before WWI
 Legalizing avenues included short statutes of
limitation, fees, re-entry programs and proof of
hardship to US citizen family members
Many of our immigrant ancestors would not have
qualified to immigrate legally today.
Family
Sponsorship
Employer
Sponsorship
Escaping
Persecution
67-70% of legal
immigrants are
sponsored by close
family members.
12-15% are invited
by U.S. employers to
fill jobs for which
there is a shortage
of U.S. workers.
12-15% of immigrants
come to the U.S. as
refugees escaping
persecution.
Family
• 67-70% of immigrants
come to be reunited
with family.
• U.S. citizen adults can
sponsor a family member
(spouse, parent, child or
sibling).
• Legal Permanent
Residents can sponsor
their spouse and
unmarried children.
Family Reunification – The WAIT
Wait length depends on:
whether the sponsor is a citizen or
LPR
what country the relative is from
how close the relationship
(ex: spouse comes sooner than a
brother)
More Examples:
• A legal permanent resident who wants
to bring her husband and 2-year-old
daughter from Mexico will have to wait
approximately 5-9 years.
• For a citizen to sponsor his brother
from the Philippines it will take 26
years.
Employment
• 12-15% come to fill positions
where there is a shortage of US
workers (ex: nurses, computer
engineers).
• Each year some visas are given for
priority workers (extraordinary
abilities), professionals with
advanced degrees, and skilled
workers. The employer must
prove that they cannot find a
worker domestically.
• Very few visas are offered to
unskilled workers, although many
businesses have a shortage of these
workers. Available jobs without
available visas causes a rise in
undocumented immigration.
There are only 5,000 visas
available per year for “lowwage” work but an estimated
500,000 vacancies in that sector
Fleeing Persecution
• 12-15% of immigrants are
refugees fleeing persecution.
• The U.S. accepts refugees
and asylees who are fleeing
persecution based on race,
ethnicity, nationality,
religion, gender, political
opinion or membership in
a group.
Diversity Visa Lottery
• An annual green card lottery
welcomes immigrants from countries
that the U.S. does NOT receive
immigrants.
• The applicant must have a high
school diploma or a skill. Their
immediate family can come also.
•
50,000 green cards distributed
in the lottery.
• Countries that have sent more than
50,000 people in the last 5
years are NOT eligible. This includes
Mexico, El Salvador, China, the
Philippines, England, India and other
nations.
Why don’t the 11-12 million
undocumented immigrants just
legalize?
They broke a law
“Since the word (illegal)
modifies not the crime but the
whole person, it goes too far.
It spreads, like a stain that
can’t wash out. It leaves its
target diminished as a human,
a lifetime member of a
presumptive criminal class.”
Lawrence Downes
 45% of the undocumented
overstayed a visa
 Unlawful presence is a
civil not criminal offense
 Few avenues exist to “get
right with the law.”
 Leads to further unlawful
activities
 Attached to the person
not the action
 System is complicit –
immigrant should not bear
sole responsibility
 We the people make and
can fix laws
They don’t speak English
• Economic and social value
motivate English learning
• Within 3 generations English is
the dominant language
• Multilingualism is not new
• 97% long-term immigrants
speak Eng. well/very well
• 16% of LEP working-age
adults enrolled in ESL
• Only 2.5% of residents speak
Spanish but not English
• 96% of Latinos think English
instruction important for
children.
Myth-busting Now it’s YOUR
turn!
More
people come
to the U.S.
illegally than
legally?
Actually, about 970,000 people legally
immigrated each year to the US from
2000-2005 obtained legal permanent
resident status each year. The
estimated annual net growth of the
unauthorized population is estimated to
be 500,000.
The U.S. is
taking on all
the world’s
migrants.
Other
countries
should do
their part.
You may be surprised to learn that The U.S. has
the eighth largest percentage of foreignborn. For hosting refugees, the U.S. ranks 21st
the ratio of refugees per capita, behind Syria,
Chad, Iran, Canada and Germany.
Immigrants
are
responsible
for the rise
in crime.
Not so fast, the incarceration
rate of those born in the U.S. is
four times higher than that of the
foreign born.
Immigrants
don’t pay
taxes.
Hold on, a study in 2005
found that undocumented
immigrants pay $6-7 billion
in Social Security taxes
that they will never be able
to claim.
Immigrants
take jobs
from U.S.
citizens.
Actually, immigrants make
unique contributions to the U.S.
economy by creating new jobs
through entrepreneurship, filling
jobs for which there are no
qualified U.S. workers, and
taking positions that would
otherwise be shipped overseas
or replaced with computers.
Immigrants
take
advantage
of our
generous
welfare
and
assistance
programs.
Contrary to popular belief,
immigrants are largely excluded
from receiving public assistance.
One exception, however, is
refugees and asylees because
the U.S. is committed to
providing public benefits to this
vulnerable group for a 7-year
period.
Today’s
immigrants
are totally
different
from my
immigrant
ancestors.
Interestingly, in the 1880’s,
9% of the total population of
Norway emigrated to America
because there was a critical
shortage of job opportunities
in Norway, while America was
seeking laborers.
Assisting with Immigration ?’s
Use caution
Refer for professional
help
Park Methodist Legal
Clinic on Thurs 3-5
Community
Resource Referrals
www.uscis.gov
• Consult an attorney before going
to ICE headquarters
• Forms and frequently asked
questions are on the website
Educating
Oneself and the
Community
about
Immigration
Accurate information is
essential and too often
absent from the debate.
 Fact Sheets
 Daily articles about
immigration
 Links to resources on
current immigration issues
like ICE Raids
Community Resources for ELL
• No Second Chance Presentations and
Immigration 101 in MPS and SPPS by
Immigrant Law Center of MN. 651-341-1011
• DREAM Act advocacy trainings and Raids
Response information from Minnesota
Immigrant Freedom Network. 651-287-0550
• Immigration Presentations and Staff
Development by Minnesota Advocates for
Human Rights. 612-341-3302 ext 112
More Community Resources
The Islamic Resource Group offers free interactive presentations
that are specially designed to enhance understanding of Islam &
Muslim culture. http://www.islamicresourceonline.org
 The Center for Victims of Torture offers counseling, referrals, and
educational resources to families who have experienced torture and
war trauma. www.cvt.org
 Moving Lives Speakers
Bureau from MN
Advocates and
Intermedia Arts. 612874-2809
Adding
Advocacy?
Advocacy in
School
• Lobbying administration
• Assisting mainstream
teachers in
modifications
• Liaison to parents
• Intercession for
disciplinary issues
• Staff Development
PowerPoint to download
from Energy of a Nation
The educator
may be the
access point
to assistance
VAWA – Violence
Against Women Act
enables a victim of domestic
violence to petition for his/her
own legalization or citizenship
independent of the citizen or
LPR abusive spouse.
T-Visas
The T visa will allow
victims of severe forms of
trafficking in persons to
remain in the United States
and assist in the
investigation and
prosecution of human
trafficking cases.
Asylum
 Fear of persecution in the country
of origin based on nationality, race,
religion, political opinion or
membership in a social group
 File within a year of arrival
 Free legal assistance for lowincome asylum seekers from
Minnesota Advocates
 Counseling services for victims of
trauma and torture through the
Center for Victims of Torture
 50-60% of Somali and Ethiopian
immigrants in our community have
suffered war trauma or torture.
Norm, Amy …
About that bill...
Stand by the
immigrants.
Yeah, You Betcha.
Monitor
Legislation and
Receive Updates
and Alerts
Separation Ordinances
According to former
Minneapolis Police Chief
Bill McManus, the
difficulty in getting
immigrants to report crime
and to work with the
police would be
“magnified exponentially
if local police were given
the authority of INS
officers.”
Liberian TPS: a Deferment for 18 months
 Approximately 1,000 Liberians in Minnesota on TPS
 TPS for 15 years – established ties to the community
 80% unemployment in Liberia and devastated infrastructure
Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, President of Liberia sent a letter to President Bush
explaining that Liberia is not Ready for the end of TPS.
Immigration in the Campaign
Reform Left Until 2009
Stand Up!
Speak Out!
Show the Way!
© Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights 2007
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