Enclosed is a translation of an editorial that was published in 
Gentedeminnesota.com today. It will be published in Spanish the next edition of 
Gente de Minnesota that comes out this coming Thursday. This is in response to 
what we believe is an agressive campaign planned by the governor and the 
republican party to pass federal, state and local anti-immigrant legislation in 
the coming weeks. We are currently also working on an article that will deal 
with these issues in more detail. 

Although this borders on a state issue I've sent it to this list, because I 
believe that these atacks by the governor will have local policy consequences, 
specially as the governor, and federal members of congress attempt to deputize 
local police officers as immigration officials as has been done in several 
border cities. Republicans seem to have declared war on immigrants, and we're 
not going to sit back and take it this time. 

On a personal I don't always agree with the editorials in Gente de Minnesota 
and  I don't write them. I am President and part owner of the company that owns 
the paper along with two other publications, an events division, a marketing 
division and we operate Spanish radio station AM 1400. I don't interfere with 
editorial decisions. Most times I write in this list as an individual, and my 
role in the paper is mainly a business one. 

I do have to say though that I agree with most of this editorial, and I'm in a 
not very confortable situation of attacking the Republican party, specially 
since I was a State delegate to the 1998 state Republican convention for Norm 
Coleman, and have voted mostly republican since 1996, including believe it or 
not in 2004. I have sat on a number of education policy committeess that I was 
asked to serve on by the current and previous education commissioners. Does 
this mean I've become a Democrat? Not quite yet. Independent for now, and 
definetly mostly right of center.

I believe though that now that Bush has very low poll numbers, that bashing 
immigrants has become a strategy in the republican party to increase the 
presidents numbers. Very sad since Bush was one of the Republicans I considered 
good on immigration. This change in Bush strategy seems to have been in the 
works for a while, but his very anti immigrant speeches he gave last week, seem 
to be an implementation of this strategy. Ironically the strategy seems to be 
coming from Carl Rove the very strategist who developed the succesfull 2004 
strategy of geeting out the vote of Latino evengelical christians, and who 
wrote a memo several years ago saying that if Bush didn't get at least 40% of 
the latino vote in 2004 he would loose the election (Bush got somewhere between 
40-44% of the Latino vote in 2004). I do feel like the President has betrayed 
the very people, Latinos, who elected him in 2004. 

Republicans can kiss the next presidential election goodby, Specially if Bill 
Richardson is the Democratic nominee, as Latinos, who helped elect Bush in the 
last election, realize Republican members of congress are trying to take 
citizenship away from US born children of undocumented people. 

Since Pawlenty has declared war on the brave immigrants of Minnesota, we are 
going to fight back, like he has never seen before. Gente de Minnesota 
editorials have supported Pawlenty before on his success in keeping taxes low, 
and on education reform.  Local Latino media, which traditionally has been very 
competitive is getting ready for a joint effort against the governor. I've 
considered promoting a work stopage in Spanish newspapers and radio, to 
demonstrate our impact on the state economy. Imagine a day without cooks in 
restaurants, without workers for factories, withour nannies, without roofers...

Enclosed is the editorial. you can also access is at: 

The Impact of Illegal Immigration on Minnesota: a shortsighted report by the 
Last Thursday, we had the opportunity to witness a press conference in which 
governor Pawlenty made public the findings of a new report called ?The Impact 
of Illegal Immigration on Minnesota?. The report, produced by the Office of 
Strategic Planning & Results Management of the Minnesota Department of 
Administration, was produced at the governor?s request and presented by 
Commissioner Dana Badgerow. Governor Pawlenty began his speech stating, ?Many 
communities across Minnesota and the country have raised concerns regarding 
illegal immigration. We need to remember that we are a nation of immigrants and 
we should support immigration that is legal and orderly. Unfortunately the 
current system is neither and needs to be reformed?.

After that, the results of the report were presented and according to those 
results, ?illegal immigrants? (which we prefer to call ?undocumented 
immigrants?), cost the state an amount somewhere in between $175 and $188 
millions a year. That was only the beginning and the report was already flawed. 
After a brief series of statements, most of them without factual support, the 
report states that the Office of Strategic Planning was able to identify three 
areas where ?undocumented immigrants? are draining resources from the state. 
First, the report states as a fact that the children of those ?undocumented 
immigrants? that are in the Public Schools System are costing the State from 
$146 to $158 millions each year (according to the 2003-2004 ADM, the cost per 
child was stated at $8,379). Secondly, the numbers on the report continue to 
add and state a figure of $17 million a year paid by the state during 2004 to 
cover some of the expenses created by ?undocumented immigrants? in the 
 Health System. Lastly, the report takes a brief jump and moves from Health 
Care expenses to Legal expenses and presents a figure of $13 million as the 
estimated cost of incarcerating, processing and deporting ?Criminal 
Undocumented Immigrants?. Adding to these numbers, the report clearly states 
?illegal immigrants arguably displace American workers, which contributes to 
lost jobs and wages? citing as the source of this statement a report published 
by El Paso Times on June 16, 2005, under the title ?Migrant Work force; Demand 
for undocumented high?. 

The figures are ?alarming? as Commissioner Badgerow stated (Star Tribune, Dec. 
9th, 2005). Yes, indeed, the figures are ?alarming? and they lead us to a lot 
of thinking on ?undocumented immigration? especially when we realize that the 
report doesn?t even mention the other side of the story, the benefits 
?undocumented workers? bring to the state?s economy. No ?Economic Impact? 
research is complete when the figures represent only one side of the story. 
Governor Pawlenty and Commissioner Badgerow are well aware of this fact. 
Pretending that such a report is a complete picture of the ?Impact? of 
?undocumented workers? in Minnesota is presenting a biased report to the 
public. It?s showing biased and incomplete information that only shows one side 
of the story and that is unacceptable, especially when such a report could be 
used as a source for making decisions and policy making. 

The ?impact? on ?Illegal Immigration on Minnesota? can only be measured if we 
have figures from both sides and when asked about the reason why this report 
didn?t include such figures, Commissioner Badgerow candidly answered that 
Governor Pawlenty didn?t ask for it (Pioneer Pres, Dec. 9th, 2005). The 
innocence behind Commissioner Badgerow?s answer could bring a smile to our 
face, but the same article on the Pioneer Press (Dec. 9th, 2005), cites her 
statements about the issue as ?Obviously, there is a school of thought that 
there is an economic advantage to having these folks in our workforce. We 
didn?t look at that side of it.? 

We are very tempted to call this as ?shortsighted?, coming from the State, but 
the words of Brian McClung, spokesman for the governor, tell us a different 
picture. McClung suggested that governor Pawlenty may be planning to introduce 
some legislation on this topic in the next legislative session. Knowing 
Governor Pawlenty?s record with immigrant communities makes us wonder if his 
office may be working on new anti-immigrant legislation. He was the one who 
based his gubernatorial campaign on the ?Status Check? of Driver?s Licenses of 
foreign nationals who legally reside in the country (and won the election over 
the ?National Security? issue). He was the one who sent a letter to both City 
Councils of Minneapolis and St. Paul, urging them to override their ordinances 
prohibiting Police Departments in both cities, to act as immigration officers. 
He threatened to veto a legislative piece called ?Dream Act Minnesota? 
introduced in favor of outstanding ?undocumented students? and now
 , after reading the report, we are very concerned about the misuse of such a 
biased report. 

Timing was perfect, as usual. The report was made public one day before 
president Bush arrived to Minneapolis for a fundraiser in favor of Mark Kennedy 
(Kennedy is looking to obtain the seat Mark Dayton is leaving in the US Senate 
next year) and we know, according to sources who were present at the 
fundraiser, that the report was received with the greatest satisfaction of the 
Republican Party in the State and widely discussed during the reception. 

As we said, no research on such ?impact? could be complete unless we have the 
whole picture in front of us and the State implies that this research is not 
necessary by ignoring it. The Summary reads ?The illegal immigration challenge 
includes: (1) a financial strain on state resources, and (2) societal impacts, 
such as crime and economic loss?? and provides no proof to support such 
statements. The report continues reading ?there are approximately 8,000 illegal 
immigrants who file state income taxes ?using an ITIN number- to replenish 
state resources. Illegal immigrants also pay taxes by employer withholdings. 
Because they do not file tax returns, these funds are kept by the state and 
federal government resulting in ?stranded withholdings.? 

Although some argue that the value of these withholdings is significant, the 
exact dollar amount attributable to illegal immigrants is unknown? and makes 
such a statement when there is a widely known research about the benefits of 
?Undocumented workers? to Minnesota, perfectly documented and sustained by the 
work of James J. Kielkopf, who developed a methodology to measure such ?impact? 
back in September 2000 (a copy of Kielkopf?s report can be downloaded at this 
link http://www.hacer-mn.org/PDFs/Undocumented.pdf ). Kielkopf?s report 
presents us with a different reality. His report dares to estimate, to create a 
methodology to sustain his research and to interview both workers and 
employees. He defined 6 economy areas where the ?impact? could be measured and 
calculated some 48,000 ?undocumented workers? work actively on those areas. He 
stated clearly that his figures are the result of the research on those 6 areas 
and are based on the interviews done with both workers and emp
 loyers, defining a lower limit and a higher limit for his figures to obtain 
measurable numbers. 

According to Kielkopf, those 48,000 ?undocumented workers? paid $311 million 
into Social Security and $345 million in State Taxes and Fees during 2000, a 
total estimate of $646 million for that year. The math behind the equation 
should tell us then that $646 is way more than $176 or $188 (and that is 
considering those $646 million in terms of 2000 dollars). According to the 
State?s figures, the estimated ?undocumented workers? in Minnesota in 2004 was 
80,000. So, a simple calculation will tell us that 80,000 ?undocumented 
workers? should have paid $518 million to the Social Security, and $575 million 
to State Taxes and Fees. Adding those number we obtain $1,077 million for 2004 
but in terms of 2000 money. If we consider a conservative 7% total inflation 
rate since 2000(not considering other factors), we obtain a final figure of 
$1,152 million for 2004. Doing the math, $1,152-$188 = $964 million in favor of 
state and national government.

Kielkopf went beyond those simple figures and he estimated that the amount of 
business generated by those 48,000 workers reached, at his most conservative 
level, $1.02 billion in taxes and revenues. His conclusion was simple. 
According to his findings, losing the business activity generated by 
?undocumented workers? could easily become a 40% loss in economic growth on the 
State. His findings showed that the business generated by ?undocumented 
workers? was 2.4% of the State?s GDP and that 50,000 Minnesotan workers owe 
their job to the economic activity generated by those 48,000 ?undocumented 

The State failed to tell us the whole truth. The report presented by 
Commissioner Dana Badgerow is largely incomplete. On one hand, we find a biased 
report by the State and on the other hand we find a very complete report that 
portrays a different picture. The use of the State?s report as a reference to 
generate legislature is wrong, because it fails to show us the whole picture 
and that?s unacceptable. Unacceptable for an Office of Strategic Planning, 
which is supposed to give the governor?s office accurate information for 
decision and policies making and unacceptable for a governor?s office, which is 
supposed to generate policies after analyzing the whole picture. 

We need a full report. A report that depicts both sides of the story. A report 
that can tell us the benefits of having ?undocumented workers? in our workforce 
and the burden to the State of those same workers. That?s what we, as citizens, 
expect from our leaders. That?s what we, as citizens, expect from our governor 
and that?s exactly what we didn?t see last Thursday. The report presented by 
the State could have set the wheels in motion for a xenophobic movement, 
rapidly growing in Minnesota, a movement of anti-immigrants that could leads us 
to go back in time to the darkest ages of our history, to a sharp state and 
national economic slowdown and to scary unknown waters. 

Alberto Monserrate
Gente de Minnesota

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