Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Minnesota Governor Wants Stricter Immigration Laws

A federal grand jury indicted 20 people arrested last week in an immigration raid at a Worthington meat packing plant. The grand jury also charged 19 people with knowingly using fake I.D. documents. That news came as immigration advocates protested the raid in St. Paul at Sen. Norm Coleman's office. Governor Tim Pawlenty said he wants tougher immigration laws against undocumented workers in Minnesota, an example of the political reverberations being felt hundreds of miles away from Worthington, Minn.
Governor Tim Pawlenty
"It's a joke," said Pawlenty of the current laws. "I mean, it's a joke." The governor says he'll re-submit a bill requiring immigrants to carry fraud-proof identity documents and allowing local police to ask for proof of citizenship. "We need to know without question, beyond fraud, who is here, who they are, why they are here, how long they are staying and when they are supposed to go," said Pawlenty. But advocates for undocumented immigrants say the Swift Plant raid showed the need for a guest worker program for jobs Minnesotans won't do, calling the governor's get-tough approach "anti-immigrant." "The immigration system right now does not allow people to come in and work with permission," said David Skovholt of the Minnesota Immigrant Freedom Network. "It encourages people to come in and work in situation like what happened at swift."