For more information contact: Erik Anderson 651-296-5318
Saint Paul, MINN. – Following the 2016 election Rep. Carlos Mariani (DFL – St. Paul) is preparing to reintroduce legislation to advance the economic and education outcomes of new immigrant communities, while eliminating the unique challenges they face as newcomers trying to integrate into and strengthen Minnesota.
“Almost everyone can look back into their history and find a time when they or their ancestors were first starting their story in America,’ said Rep Mariani. “After a divisive and hurtful election many new Americans are scared. New Americans in Minnesota are not alone in their journey for a better life. We can create opportunities tailored to the unique challenges immigrants face to strengthen Minnesota.”
Over the summer, the Center for American Progress released a study showing refugees are not only moving quickly into the American workforce, they are advancing in their careers, starting businesses and boosting local economic growth. The report specifically highlighted Minneapolis and St. Paul as places that have experienced economic revitalizations as refugees enter the workforce.
Foreign-born residents of Minnesota contributed $1.2 billion in state and local tax contributions in 2013, and $22.4 billion to the state’s gross domestic product in 2012, but many of these new Minnesotans face significant challenges starting businesses, applying to higher education institutions, and navigating the criminal justice system.
To reduce economic and racial disparities within immigrant communities and ensure their children are fully equipped to be full participants in the future workforce, Rep. Mariani will reintroduce seven bills for the 2017 legislative session:
? Immigrant Integration - Creates a task force to look into how state law negatively affects immigrants.
? Naturalization Tax Credit - Reimburses citizenship applications for applicants who are below 200% of the poverty line.
? Access to Higher Education - Allows the State Grant to fill in for unawarded Pell Grants within the Minnesota State Grant program, helping critically underserved students receive assistance in paying for education.
? Homeowner Tax Credit Equity - Allows for homeowners without documentation to file for a homestead tax credit with their Tax Identification Number instead of their Social Security Number.
? Domestic Abuse Protections - Statewide Adoption of the Federal U-Visa Program, protecting undocumented victims of crimes and building trust so that vulnerable and victimized members of the community can come forward without fear of police/deportation.
? New American Business Technical Assistance - Provides technical assistance for economically disadvantaged immigrant entrepreneurs.
? Refugee Education Opportunities - Creates a grant for “SLIFE” students (Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education) to be allocated on a per pupil basis to school districts for the 6,000-7,000 “SLIFE” students in Minnesota schools.
Rep. Mariani can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 651-296-9714.