Immigrant and Refugee Affairs

Immigrant and refugee affairs

December 18, 2019

Today is International Migrants Day

On December 18, 1990, the United Nations Adopted the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their families. This convention emphasizes and encourages respect for the human rights of migrants and states that every migrant worker and every member of his or her family shall have the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

In recognition of International Migrants Day, the City of Minneapolis will be hosting an art exhibit at City Hall. The installation is entitled “Mirame” which means “Look at Me” in Spanish and provides viewers with an interactive opportunity to learn about residents of the state of Minnesota who have migrated to the US through masks, photographs and written personal accounts. The exhibit will be on display from 10:30-2:30 in the Minneapolis City Hall Rotunda. More information can be found here:

US Congress creates pathway permanent resident status for DED holders from Liberia

On December 17 the US Senate passed the Defense Reauthorization Act, which includes a provision creating a pathway for permanent residence for Liberian nationals residing in the United States with a temporary authorization called Deferred Enforced Departure (DED).  An article on this subject appeared in the Star Tribune today, December 18. More information on this subject will be available on OIRA's website.  

This bipartisan legislative action creates optimism that additional bipartisan measures may have a positive impact for immigrant communities here in Minnesota. One bill to watch is the Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2019 (HR 5038), which, if passed, would enable undocumented farmworkers and their families to obtain legal status and eventually U.S. citizenship, reform the H-2A temporary agricultural workers program, and impose required use of employment verification (E-Verify) in the agriculture industry. The bill has bipartisan support and has passed the US House of Representatives.  Action is anticipated in the Senate before the end of 2019. 

Opportunity to Submit a Public Comment on proposed immigration filing fee increase--deadline for comments is December 30

The Department of Homeland Security has issued a proposed rule to increase filing fees for many applications for immigration status, including DACA, Naturalization (US Citizenship) and Adjustment of Status. The proposed rule would also eliminate the ability to obtain a fee waiver for most application types, and would require asylum applicants to pay a fee to submit their applications. A sample of proposed fee changes is contained below (courtesy of Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota):



Current Fee

Proposed Fee

Net Difference

% Change











Lawful Permanent Residence










These proposed fee increases, in combination with elimination of the ability to submit a fee waiver for most applications for immigration benefits, will likely reduce the number of individuals who are able to successfully apply for immigration status.   There is a 30 day comment period for this proposed rule, and any member of the public can submit a comment as long as it is done no later than December 30, 2019.  City of Minneapolis immigration services contract partner Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota has more information about this rule including a link to the Federal Register notice. Organizations that may be interested in submitting a comment may be interested in this guidance.  


Please contact OIRA Director Michelle Rivero at, 612-673-6103 or 612-357-1875 if you have information you would like to share in this Bulletin or for comments or questions.

For reasonable accommodations or alternative formats please contact (add your information here including: department, contact person, phone and email). 

People who are deaf or hard of hearing can use a relay service to call 311 at 612-673-3000. TTY users can call 612-673-2157 or 612-673-2626.

Para asistencia 612-673-2700, Yog xav tau kev pab, hu 612-673-2800, Hadii aad Caawimaad u baahantahay 612-673-3500.