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Immigrants Outreach




  • Learning Unlimited forums delve into immigration Morris Sun Tribune Published Saturday, November 25, 2006 By Phyllis Gausman

  • "National and local immigration issues were discussed in two Learning Unlimited forums in Morris.
    Immigration discussed
    At the Nov. 8 National Issues Forum, University of Minnesota, Morris historian Stephen Gross and UMM economist Solomon Gashaw dealt with the historical and economic aspects of immigration, including Gashaw’s personal story of immigration from Ethiopia.
    On Nov. 15, Tami Plank of the Stevens County Historical Society and Museum, and local attorney and lecturer Deb Economou focused on local immigration trends and legal issues affecting the influx.
    At the first forum, Gross explained the background of immigration in the United States. He stated that the greater number of people came looking for a new economic life or for more religious freedom than could be found in pre-1860’s Europe. They arrived with a hunger for land and a less regimented job market.
    The fact that immigration from the 1860’s on was a family affair encouraged the clustering of ethnic groups. This led eventually to tensions because of the homogeneity of language, customs, and traditions.
    Since government is decentralized, the burdens of paying for services to the immigrants fell to cities and states, causing confrontation and isolation of the various groups. Gross said that not all immigrants wish to become Americanized. Although the U.S. is more globalized than ever before, many groups do not desire assimilation, even though they accept economic change more quickly.
    Like those who came before them, they do hold to their core values tightly, he said.
    All immigrants do not do well for reasons related to the context of their departure from their native country and the context of their often unwelcomed arrival.
    Gashaw shared his personal history of immigration. A native of Ethiopia, he was forced by political factors to leave his country. He spoke of the financial and emotional difficulties facing immigrants, many of whom come with the hope that someday they can return to their country of origin.
    Government restrictions on visas in some cases occur because of a lottery and quotas. Gashaw said that many Africans are highly educated and qualified, hoping that coming to America will offer greater opportunities for their children.
    The discussion by audience participants left many questions about immigration unanswered: Why are federal policies still so restrictive? Should we worry about the brain drain from abroad? Will the effect of immigration be to make rich nations richer and poor nations poorer? Can we help other nations become better?
    The second phase of the Learning Unlimited immigration forum dealt with local circumstances.
    Is Stevens County an example of a “melting pot” of immigrants? Plank, historian and researcher at the Stevens County Historical Society and Museum, posed that question to the audience during the forum’s second phase, “The New Challenges of American Immigration.”
    The forum was Nov. 15 at the Morris Senior Center.
    Plank’s PowerPoint presentation suggested two aspects of the term “melting pot.” It can be viewed either as an example of acculturation in which differing elements of several cultures are borrowed and melded to create a new culture, as may seem to have happened with our Minnesota Norwegians and Swedes. Or it may be seen as assimilation, where one group becomes so absorbed by another that it disappears, exemplified by what happened to Germans because of World War I and World War II.
    Immigration history in Stevens County begins about 1866, Plank said. Before that time the area was inhabited by Dakota Indians.
    Plank outlined the growth of six predominant groups of settlers, showing how the population of each grew or declined through the years to 1910. Although people from eastern states were not the largest group, their influence on Americanizing other immigrant groups was exceptional. Of particular interest was the St. Lawrence Colony, members of which split from the original group in 1871 and came to the area still known as Yankee Ridge north of Morris, Plank said.
    Her presentation included many pictures of the Norwegians, Swedes, Germans, Irish, and Canadians, who, together with the “States” or Yankees and the Apostolics, comprised the major groups of immigrants in the county. Later, groups of Vietnamese and Hmong moved on to other cities and states, with little evidence left of their sojourn here. Hispanics are now the area’s most significant immigrant group, along with the diversity in the UMM student body and faculty.
    Plank concluded with the question: Is Stevens County a melting pot or a salad bowl?
    “Perhaps a better question would be,” Plank said, “have our various ethnic groups of all sizes been so assimilated that no uniqueness of any one culture remains, or have our ethnic groups been so acculturated that elements from the various cultures have come together to form a new blended culture.”
    Economou, lecturer in management at UMM and attorney in the offices of Martin, Nelson, Glasrud and Klopfleisch in Morris, spoke about the legal and economic aspects of immigration.
    She cited statistics from various sources indicating that immigration into the U.S. is near historic heights, with the greatest influx from Mexico and Central America, making it the current hot topic politically, economically, and socially.
    Various laws over the years have changed the eligibility of foreigners to emigrate, the latest being the 1996 legislation which forged more penalties and re-defined the term “status” applied to those who seek entrance. The law is very complex and creates many problems in deciding who belongs in which classification, Economou said. Stricter enforcement of current laws is needed, even though many of the provisions are unrealistic and subject to several interpretations.
    Audience discussion groups felt that immigration is not a big problem in Morris or Stevens County. Income sent by both legal and illegal immigrants to their relatives in their native countries helps keep those countries more stable. The English language should be learned and used particularly to help children adjust educationally.
    It was pointed out that early immigrants came from agrarian settlements to an agrarian United States; now our immigrants come from agrarian backgrounds into a highly industrialized setting. If they come from a no-job situation in their own countries, they have little or no structure in their lives, posing further problems.
    The National Issues Forums are presented by Learning Unlimited to provide opportunities for civil and rational discourse dealing with local and national issues.
    For more information on these and other Learning Unlimited programs, call Phyllis Gausman at (320) 589-2299 or Elaine Simonds-Jaradat at (320) 589-4394, extension 7.



  • Immigration agents arrest 230 in Worthington raid By Brady Averill, Star Tribune Last update: December 13, 2006 – 1:32 PM

  • " WASHINGTON -- Federal agents arrested 230 people Tuesday in their raid of the Swift & Co. meat-packing plant in Worthington, and another 1,052 at five other Swift plants in different states, officials of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said today in Washington.>

    By Brady Averill, Star Tribune Ex-Enron CEO Skilling enters Minnesota prison

    Ballet school not for the faint of heart WASHINGTON -- Federal agents arrested 230 people Tuesday in their raid of the Swift & Co. meat-packing plant in Worthington, and another 1,052 at five other Swift plants in different states, officials of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said today in Washington.

    Of those, 65 people were charged with identity theft crimes, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said.

    "These were not victimless crimes," Chertoff said.

    None of the people charged with identity theft was in Worthington. The rest of the detainees were held on suspected violations of immigration laws.

    The arrested workers were from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Peru, Laos, Sudan, Ethiopia and other countries.

    The raid was the result of an ICE investigation that began in February, when agents learned that large numbers of illegal workers may have used Social Security numbers belonging to U.S. citizens and using them to work at Swift.

    Julie Myers, assistant secretary of homeland security for ICE, said that people in the Criminal Alien Program (CAP) who were interviewed last winter admitted that they had assumed other identities to work at Swift.

    ICE also got referrals from police and received tips from a hotline.

    "These factors led us to open an investigation," she said.

    The Federal Trade Commission is currently notifying victims.

    No criminal or civil action is being taken against Swift at this time, because it participated in the program in good faith, Chertoff said.

    Swift is part of a government Basic Pilot program that helps detect fake Social Security numbers, but it doesn't catch people who are using authentic documents belonging to other people. It isn't a "magic bullet" for every single problem, Chertoff said.

    The company tried to prevent the one-day raid and filed an injunction in a U.S. District Court, proposing phased workplace enforcement over several weeks or months instead. ICE rejected the proposal.

    U.S. District Judge Mary Lou Robinson wrote in her denial of the injunction that Swift interviewed 450 suspect employees at several plants between October and November and found around 90 percent of the suspect employees were using fake documents or were not legally eligible to work in the United States. Over 400 workers were terminated or quit.

    Neither the plant nor ICE knows the whereabouts of those 400 workers.

    Tuesday's arrests were part of stronger workplace enforcement, ICE officials said. In April, ICE agents arrested 1,187 illegal workers at more than 40 IFCO Systems North America Inc. locations. They also arrested seven current and former IFCO managers, charging them with harboring illegal workers for financial gain.

    Advocates of stricter immigration control praised the raids and pointed out that they targeted people suspected of committing other crimes in addition to being in the U.S. illegally.

    "I'm glad that ICE is enforcing our immigration laws in light of the illegal immigration crisis we face across the country," Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo., said in a statement.

    The raids were denounced by Swift and by worker and immigrant advocacy groups as an attack on civil liberties.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report. Brady Averill •

    FYI -----Original Message----- From: Trang Nguyen [] Sent: Thursday, December 21, 2006 10:16 AM To:
    Subject: Worthington Raids

    " Hello Everyone!
    I just wanted update everyone on the Worthington Raid last week. Here are some events that have been observed by some of our attorneys and an article. Please spread the information because mainstream media misses these aspects.
    I am coordinating an effort to write letters to our politicians to show our communities stand on this raid. Basic civil rights were taken away. If you, your students, or staff would like to be involved in this please e-mail me back and I will keep you updated on the project. Worthington also needs many supplies like food, money for child care, gas money because families are detained in other states like Iowa, etc. Many families have no income for the next months for fear of deportation and/or the "breadwinner" has been detained and possible deported. If you would like coordinate a food drive in your school or office or send donations etc. Here are the contacts to send donations and food.
    Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce
    Darlene Maklin
    1121 3rd Avenue Worthington, MN 56187
    Community Connectors 507-372-4664
    Official Article from Newspaper:
    ICE Press releases claim this was a targeted enforcement operation with spokesman Tim Counts claiming it was not a "raid." This is not what we saw yesterday. The raid started about 8:30 with ICE and state troopers limiting access and exit from the plant. ICE met with senior management of Swift who then started to pull people off the kill floor. They were directed to the cafeteria where 50-70 ICE agents were at. People were immediately asked if they were citizens, if they had papers. Some people were handcuffed immediately. Witnesses state that white workers were allowed to claim USC status and directed away immediately. People of color who claimed to be USC had to prove it. We spoke to one USC who was detained in plastic handcuffs for several hours; witnesses have identified two other naturalized citizens who had the same happen. We were told that one USC remains in custody. Numerous LPRs, TPS, etc..., were detained for at least hours in plastic cuffs. Some had their LPR card in their locker, others left it at home. One woman said her purse had been stolen at work before, so she left her card at home because it was difficult and expensive to replace. This operation did not target individuals suspected of "identity theft" or involvement in false document rings. It swept up every non-white worker at Swift.
    We spoke to one family where both parents of a 2,3, and 12 year old were detained. Other primary caregivers were detained when children had health issues. ICE denied entrance to the plant to one person with Honduran TPS, whose EAD was expired, but whose automatic extension made her EAD good until Jan. 2007. The show of force was overwhelming. After initial interview in the cafeteria, people were interviewed in room and processed. The room had 15-20 ICE agents in it, 5 more flanking the exit door, and 50 more in line in the hallway right outside the door. John Connelly, of Washington DC ICE, told us that everyone was "free to go"if they requested --- didn't appear that way to us. It was a very coercive environment. Once cuffed, people were yelled at to sit down. If they complained about the ties hurting, they were told to sit comfortably. We saw numerous people, including LPRs, with red marks and contusions on their wrists hours after they were released.
    Later, when lawyers attempted to enter Camp Dodge (in Iowa) where detainees where held. They were denied access because this is military base and only military personnel may enter. After pressure from state governement (senators and the govenor) the camp was open to Attorneys. Locally, in worthington, there are still approximately 60-70 detainees in Nobles County Jail in Worthington. Most of who will be/are represented by ILCM and volunteer attoneys.

    Trang Nguyen
    Education Coordinator
    Immigrant Law Center of MN
    450 N Syndicate St. Suite 175 St. Paul, MN 55104


  • Population Notes: Minnesota State Demographic Center

  • " Population Notes contains a brief overview of immigration in Minnesota since the 1970s and outlines how the demographic center obtains data about immigrant groups and calculates its estimates. Estimates for 2004 are calculated for Latinos, Hmong, Somalis, Vietnamese, Russians, Laotians, Cambodians and Ethiopians."
  • Hennepin County Libraries Worldlinks

  • "This local site is a good source of information on some of the major cultural groups represented in Minnesota, such as Hmong, Somali, Russian, Lao, Vietnamese and Hispanic."
  • Immigration in Minnesota-Finding Common Ground, pdf format from Minnesota Foundation
  • more info...
    "The foundation published an informational booklet called “Immigration in Minnesota: Discovering Common Ground” in 2004. You can download or order this publication from the website. There is also a menu at the top of the page that provides a quick overview about some of the different groups of immigrants. There is information about population, demographics, economics and an interesting section called “Life in Minnesota: Challenges and Considerations.”"

    Social Justice

  • Energy of a Nation

  • "... is the immigration resource center for The Advocates for Human Rights. The Advocates has received international recognition for a broad range of innovative programs to promote human rights and prevent the violation of those rights. It provides investigative fact finding, direct legal representation, collaboration for education and training, and a broad distribution of publications. The Advocates has produced more than 50 reports documenting human rights practices in more than 20 countries; educated over 10,000 students and community members on human rights issues; and provided legal representation and assistance to over 3,000 disadvantaged individuals and families."


  • Journeys 2008, an annual book project (online format in the link) by the Minnesota Literacy Council


    Arrival Of Immigrants - Ellis Island 1906

    "Depicts scenes at the Immigration Depot and a nearby dock on Ellis Island. Appears to show, first, a group of immigrants lined up to board a vessel leaving the island, then another group arriving at the island and being directed off of the dock and into the Depot by a uniformed official."



  • INS Citizenship Test Questions, from

  • " The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) administers a test to all immigrants applying for citizenship. For years, these questions have been selected from among the following list of 100. How would you do? Many, you will find simple. Others are not so easy. In all cases, the answer USCIS wants to hear is given. (Study Materials and Guides)
  • Redesigned Naturalization Test, from

  • "In the interest of creating a more standardized, fair, and meaningful naturalization process, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently completed a multi-year redesign of the naturalization test. The revised test, with an emphasis on the fundamental concepts of American democracy and the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, will help encourage citizenship applicants to learn and identify with the basic values we all share as Americans."
  • Study for the U.S. Citizenship Test
  • US Citizenship Test-Naturalization Exam, from usimmigrationsupport
  • Government

  • U.S. Citizenship Forms, free from

  • *referred by Steve Sterud


    The Face of God in Hollywood

    "DOOR, a ministry of Mennonite Mission Network, in collaboration with the Young Adult Volunteer program of the Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) offers young adult volunteers the opportunity to "dwell" one year in urban communities like Gregory Avenue in Hollywood, CA and explore vocation and what lifelong missional Christianity looks like in the 21st century.
    In 2008, members of Alterna (LaGrange, GA) spent the entire summer living at DOOR's Community House (a partnership with First Presbyterian of Hollywood) in this predominantly working class Latino immigrant neighborhood.
    This video is Alterna's attempts at providing you, the viewer, with snapshots of what incarnational ministry can look like and how fearless love truly does overcome a loveless fear that is paralyzing far too many of us.
    For more information on the Dwell program go to
    For information on the missional community, Alterna, go to
    For more information on loving immigrants like Christ does, befriend an immigrant near you. "


    Coming To America trailer

    "Trailer for the 1988 film "Coming To America" "


  • The Real Illegal Immigrants, from

  • " A video to counteract all the negative aimed at latin and african people who wish to come to this land(Solen Land) to live."


  • Immigrant and Refugee Services of America

  • " This is a good site if you want to better inform yourself about the lives of refugees. There are facts and statistics about specific refugee groups and suggested reading about the refugee experience. If you have a student who is a refugee, and who is willing to talk about that experience, this site can be very thought provoking reading material for both you and the student."


    Immigrants changing Iowa's cities 03-1-2007

    "In Iowa immigration is a big issue. According to the US government, the number of Hispanics there has increased by 150 per cent since 1990. Mike Kirsch takes a look at the changing face of one Iowa town, as the candidates make a final appeal to voters before the all important Iowa caucus."



    Biblical View of Illegal Immigrants and Immigration

    "Another video of the work we've done with the immigrant families with text from the Bible, stating God's views on immigrants and how citizens should treat them. It's not the most comfortable viewpoint to take, but it's the view God takes so it's worth considering. For a higher quality verison:"



  • Turkish immigrants face difficult road in Germany * Print View * Mobile Version Posted: 21 February, 2008 * Topics in this story: * german * , immigrants * , jobs * , language * , turkish (Mission Network News)

  • Germany (MNN) ― Turkish immigrants to Germany often face a difficult transition. They look forward to a new life but meet a limited job market and housing options that are less than enticing.
    Salma was one such immigrant. She anticipated the reunion with her family in Germany and freedom for her and her son. Stepping off the train was the beginning of the transition-- made more difficult by her Turkish last name.
    One Greater Europe Mission missionary, who will be called "Beth," is helping Turkish immigrants like Salma. The German government requires that immigrants take 600 hours of German language classes to encourage integration. It can be easy for Turkish immigrants to be isolated from and rarely interact with Germans since Turkish communities are so abundant.
    Beth, who was taking classes at a community center, helps immigrants learn German. In return, her Turkish language skills improve, and she is able to share the Bible with the students. Her goals are to build relationships with the immigrants and to increase interaction between Germans and Turkish immigrants.
    Beth was able to share the Bible with a new immigrant friend this past Christmas. The woman asked Beth if she could borrow the Bible after she read a passage about Christ's birth.
    Almost four percent of the German population is Muslim, and most of that is accounted for in Turkish immigrants. There are opportunities to be the hands and feet of Christ to these people even if you can't move to Europe. GEM asks that you pray.


  • FRANCE24-EN-Report-Illegal immigrants in Gaza,

  • " Illegal immigrants in Gaza They are physicians, engineers and executives...and all are illegal immigrants in their own country. After the 1993 Olso Accords, Israel gave them a temporary visas to work in Gaza, but has refused to renew the visas."
    -Hong Kong

  • Immigrants and discrimination in Hong Kong - PART 2, you Non-Chinese, immigrants and discrimination in Hong Kong - PART 2
  • Terminology

  • What is the Difference between an Immigrant and an Emigrant?, from

  • "The terms emigrant and immigrant are often incorrectly used, creating confusion at best, and annoyance of English teachers at worst. In general understanding the proper usage can help dispel confusion or quell the rage of would be wordsmiths.
    An emigrant leaves their land to live in another country. The person is emigrating to another country. An immigrant is a person who once resided somewhere else and now lives in your country.
    For example, a Swedish woman decides to emigrate to America. To herself, and to the country of Sweden, the woman is an emigrant to America. To her new American neighbors, the woman is an immigrant from Sweden, implying she has been somewhere else, and now is here, wherever here happens to be. So she has been an emigrant, in coming to America, and now she is a Swedish immigrant.
    The term emigrant implies the process of travel. And emigration is the actual act of relocation from country. The person going from one place to another is in the process of emigrating. Our Swedish woman remains an emigrant to people of her country. To other Americans, she is an immigrant, because she has traveled from somewhere else.
    During the French Revolution, people who had left France because of the escalating tension and violence in France were treated disparagingly if they returned to France. A person might be labeled an Emigrant, if he or she returned to France during the Reign of Terror or shortly thereafter. The term was meant to signify perhaps criminal behavior in fleeing France, as well as the fact that such people emigrated from France.
    Thus when we discuss our forbears who immigrated to the United States, we are in error. Our forbears were emigrants to the United States. To their country of origin, these people were emigrants. However, since we are US citizens, at least in this example, our forbears were immigrants, implying they had come from somewhere not here.
    In general, the distinction can be reduced to the prepositions “to” and “from.” When you are an emigrant, you emigrate to a place. When you are an immigrant, you have immigrated from some place. Since technically you can be both, it makes matters quite confusing.
    If one can remember “emigrate to” and “immigrate from” this helps to separate the emigrant from the immigrant. As well it may be helpful to realize that an immigrant is a new member of one’s society. An emigrant, on the other hand, is leaving one’s society in search of greener pastures. "

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