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Thursday, January 12, 2006

Pawlenty's other immigration proposals

Today, Governor Pawlenty came out with some positive immigration proposals, the supposed "carrot" to his "stick" of last week. What are they?

• Tax credits for immigrants who become citizens

• Education for immigrants on such important topics as tax info, home ownership, and business

• More visas for students and workers with tech skills (the H1B visas, I'm assuming)

• Immigrant investor visas

• A grant program to fund English language classes

• Get more foreign physicians to rural areas

• Increase immunizations for immigrants

For the most part, this list is okay, but two things jump out at me. First, tax credits? I don't like targeted tax credits for the most part, and this is definitely one of them. Also, I see no reason to encourage immigrants to become citizens; if they are a resident alien (i.e. if they have a green card), they are here legally and whether they become a citizen or not really doesn't matter to me, nor do I see how it matters to the state.

Asking for more H1B visas is another one I don't really care for. As I understand it, this is pretty much a guest-worker program for high tech workers, which means that the immigrant is tied to a job. This leaves him or her in a rather weak position, and the employer in a rather strong one. Just plain immigrant visas that don't tie people to a specific job or industry, please.

Otherwise, these aren't bad ideas. I can see some people trying to demagogue the proposal to give investors visas, saying that we are selling Minnesota to foreigners. That is what opponents have argued when attempts have been made to allow immigrants to own farmland. Ridiculous. Again, as long as they pay their taxes and obey the laws, whether a business owner is a citizen or not doesn't concern me.

2 Comments:

At 9:00 PM, January 12, 2006, Anonymous chris said...

"I see no reason to encourage immigrants to become citizens; if they are a resident alien (i.e. if they have a green card), they are here legally and whether they become a citizen or not really doesn't matter to me, nor do I see how it matters to the state."

Well, as citizens, they could vote in federal and state elections. I think that's kind of important. That would make it somewhat harder for politicians to openly scapegoat them.

 
At 9:07 PM, January 12, 2006, Blogger MN Politics Guru said...

Well, as citizens, they could vote in federal and state elections. I think that's kind of important. That would make it somewhat harder for politicians to openly scapegoat them.

That is very true, and honestly, I personally would like to see more immigrants become citizens so that they can get involved in the political process. My point is that I don't see why the state government should encourage it as policy; I can think of reasons why the state wouldn't want them to become citizens.

 

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