The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits (MCN) believes a whole systems approach, one that centers civic participation and racial equity, is needed to keep our communities safe and strong during the current global pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus. Last week, President Donald Trump’s administration announced it would halt immigration to the United States and has signed an executive order to temporarily suspend the approval of some green cards for two months in response to COVID-19. It is a move that is unsupported by public health evidence and goes against our country’s basic values and MCN’s goal of fostering inclusive policies that allow immigrants and refugees to thrive, and address barriers that keep them from fully contributing to our communities and economy. Importantly, this decision doesn’t keep our communities safe, but it would strike a blow to the stability and vibrancy of our local economies in Minnesota and across the United States.
Immigrants are important contributors to our strong, thriving communities for many reasons, including bringing greater cultural diversity and revitalizing struggling cities and towns. Immigrants are essential workers and contributors to fighting the public health and economic crises caused by COVID-19, working in essential industries like food production, retail, transportation, and health care, that we all rely on in our daily lives and have become evidently crucial during the current global pandemic.
MCN stands with our immigrant community members, and encourages our members and nonprofit community to pay close attention to this issue. A great way to stay informed is to sign up for updates or follow the social media from the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota and The Advocates for Human Rights. MCN knows immigrants are important leaders, workers, and contributors in our nonprofit community; which makes up 13 percent of Minnesota’s economy. Instead of announcing divisive policies, like immigration bans, or leaving “Dreamers” out of coronavirus college relief bills, MCN believes the administration and policymakers at all levels should take action to support the health of our community members and the economy. In a recent article, the Minnesota Budget Project lays out why Coronavirus responses should include all our neighbors, including immigrants: “Ensuring all Minnesotans, regardless of immigration status, have access to health and economic supports is essential to building up healthy communities and easing the worst impacts of the unfolding recession.”