Moving from Exclusion to Belonging: Immigrant Rights in Minnesota Today

Moving from Exclusion to Belonging: Immigrant Rights in Minnesota Today, The Advocates for Human Rights’ groundbreaking report centers on the human rights of refugees and immigrants in Minnesota. The report places its findings and recommendations within the context of state, federal, and international human rights law to identify what is working to promote integration and success, what is failing, and what gaps exist in public policy.

Released April 2, 2014, the report draws on nearly 200 individual interviews and more than 25 community conversations involving hundreds of people throughout the state.

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Executive Summary
One-page Summary

Discrimination and Distance
Regardless of immigration status, immigrants and refugees face barriers to belonging in the Minnesota community because of discrimination and distance. Immigrants and refugees face the challenge of living in a state plagued by some of the nation’s worst racial disparities in the areas of employment, health, civic engagement, and educational outcomes. Discrimination against Muslim immigrant communities continues in employment, immigration, and religious expression. Immigrants and refugees with legal status often remain ineligible for public safety net programs and face difficulty establishing new lives in Minnesota due to lack of credit history, recognized credentials, or social and professional networks. Parents and teachers struggle to communicate while schools tackle the challenge of educating a student population that speaks approximately 230 languages at home.

Exclusion and Fear

Thousands of undocumented Minnesotans and their families live excluded from the community and in constant fear of deportation, leaving them vulnerable to human rights violations and abuses in Minnesota. For Minnesotans who lack legal immigration status, and their families, fear of detention and deportation defines how they interact with all facets of the system. Undocumented immigrants often avoid calling the police, complaining about dangerous or exploitative working conditions or unsafe housing, seeking medical care, or engaging in their children’s schools in an attempt to stay “under the radar.” Undocumented immigrants in Minnesota face human rights violations by the government, including serious due process violations and exclusion from access to safety net programs essential to their rights to safety and security of the person, housing, food, and health. Excluded from access to an effective remedy, undocumented immigrants often fall victim to human rights abuses by private actors including discrimination and exploitation.

Questions?
Contact Madeline Lohman at mlohman@advrights.org or 612-746-4696