The Effects of Trump’s Immigration Policies in Minnesota

During his first week as President of the United States, Donald Trump announced that he will continue with his plan to build a wall on the Mexican border.

President Trump’s rhetoric on immigration was one of the main reasons he sparked such controversy throughout the election season. It all began when Trump announced his presidential bid in Trump Tower in New York City, stating that Mexicans were bringing drugs and crime into the country. This sentence would be one of many resulting in a national outrage that sparked a heavily tense environment among Americans.

In a country where about 11 million undocumented immigrants reside, the uncertainty for these families was evident. However, undocumented immigrants are not the only group to claim feeling threatened under President Trump; Muslim immigrants express similar sentiments of fear.  Trump has outspokenly critiqued Muslims since embarking on his presidential bid, calling for Mosques to be “under surveillance” and recently placing a temporary ban on refugee immigrants from seven Muslim-dominated countries.

Approximately 12 million Mexicans reside in the United States, accounting for 28 percent of the nation’s foreign-born population. The Mexican population was the first group of people to be directly targeted by Trump’s rhetoric, after being stereotyped as “criminals, rapists, and drug dealers.” Mr. Trump blamed Mexicans for the rise in crime, the increase in unemployment, and other problems. Additionally, he declared that illegal immigrants were coming to the United States and taking the jobs of natives.

In 2010 about 180,000 Mexicans lived in the state of Minnesota, making them one of the largest minority groups in the state. They therefore play a pivotal role in not only the state’s economy as employees, but also as consumers and sources of revenue. This large portion of Mexicans in Minnesota contributes to the job market, as they stimulate businesses and add value to the housing communities, while also increasing the state’s population and diversity statistics.

According to the American Immigration Council, “More than 1,000 Mexican-American businesses operated in Minnesota [in 2004], generating an estimated $200 million in sales.”

Mexican immigrants bring diversity to Minnesota in addition to revenue and economic growth. Minnesota offers a lot of diversity, which attracts many of its potential inhabitants.

When Trump began promoting his wall, many Mexicans felt insulted; to them, it symbolized a division that felt antagonizing. Trump immediately rallied the support of numerous Americans, who saw the wall as a solution to our domestic issues. This week, it was declared that the 15-billion dollar wall would be initiated: To pay for its high expense, Trump has proposed a 20 percent tax on Mexican imports. The notion of constructing the wall and imposing a tax on imports could end up sparking a trade war between the United States and Mexico, thereby causing severe economic harm. History itself tells us the consequences that result when nations impose economic sanctions on one another, rather than engaging in a diplomatic, free-trade relationship.

Minnesota’s agricultural sector could be severely impacted by these potential economic barriers, since Mexico buys more corn and soybeans from Minnesota than any other country.

According to the Austin Daily Herald, “A trade war with Mexico could slow the flow of goods from Minnesota south of the border, a revenue stream that brought $2.4 billion to the state in 2015.”

Following Trump’s remarks, Mexico could either reduce its consumer purchase of American products or start taxing imports, which would both harm the nation’s prosperity. As the state of Minnesota continues to grow and expand its population size, economic sanctions such as this one can hurt local businesses and producers and impede the state from improving.

Minnesota, home to the largest Somali community in the country, will be one of the states most affected by Trump’s ban on immigrants from seven predominately Muslim nations, including Somalia. Somalis started arriving in Minnesota around 1980, when a civil war broke out in Somalia. Throughout time, more Somalis started to arrive in the Twin Cities and establish Somali cultural businesses, such as grocery stores and shopping centers. There are about 25,000 Somalian people in Minnesota, making them one of the largest minority groups in the state.

Prominent politicians have already begun to gather in the Twin Cities area to stand up to Trump’s federal immigration policies. Betsy Hodges, Mayor of Minneapolis, released a statement this week expressing her intent to keep Minneapolis a sanctuary city, despite the threat of losing federal funding.  Minneapolis and St. Paul have both been deemed as sanctuary cities that avoid prosecuting individuals based on their legal status.  Hodges stated that not pursuing individuals based on their legal status can reduce crime, because these individuals would report a crime and not be afraid of being persecuted for being undocumented.

Rep. Ilhan Omar, the nation’s first Somali-American lawmaker, has also been very outspoken in defending these immigrants. Omar and Hodges, alongside other state and city leaders, gathered at the state’s Capitol to publicly denounce Trump’s executive order on federal immigration.

Throughout the nation, Trump’s executive action on federal immigration shows an impact, even now. We already hear stories of refugees aboard flights heading to the United Sates when the order was signed, and were thus detained upon their airport arrival.

As stated in the New York Times, “Mr. Trump’s order, enacted with the stroke of a pen on Friday afternoon, suspended entry of all refugees to the United States for 120 days, barred Syrian refugees indefinitely, and blocked entry into the United States for 90 days for citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries.”

Human rights groups have immediately responded to the actions taken by the president. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), sued the president over his immigration ban.



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