Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs Bulletin

Immigrant and refugee affairs


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

January 21, 2020

National Day of Racial Healing: Tuesday January 21

The National Day of Racial Healing is an opportunity for people, organizations and communities across the United States to call for racial healing, bring people together in their shared humanity and take collective action to create a more just and equitable world. A daytime program took place at noon in the City Hall Rotunda and included a City resolution read by City Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins. An afternoon program will take place at 4PM at Judson Church. More information can be found on this flyer

Comments on proposed rule change impacting asylum applicants due by midnight tonight

The federal government recently proposed a rule which would prevent people from obtaining asylum based upon certain criminal history. Any member of the public can submit a comment indicating their opinion about this proposed rule, which if passed, would prevent individuals with the following history from qualifying for asylum:

  1. any conviction of a felony offense,
  2. any conviction for smuggling or harboring, even if the applicant committed that offense to bring their own immediate family member to safety,
  3. any conviction for illegal reentry,
  4. a conviction for an offense "involving criminal street gangs",
  5. any second conviction for an offense involving driving while intoxicated or impaired,
  6. any conviction or accusation of conduct for acts of battery involving a domestic relationship, and
  7. any conviction for newly defined categories of misdemeanor offenses, including minor drug related offenses.

The comment period for this proposed rule will end at midnight on Tuesday, January 21.  More information about the rule and how to submit a comment is at the federal register webpage.

Temporary Protected Status extended for Citizens of Somalia and Yemen

Temporary Protected Status for citizens of Somalia and Yemen who are currently residing in the United States has been extended to September 2020.  More information about these extensions can be found here.  General information about the Temporary Protected Status, through which the US government grants the temporary right of individuals from countries experiencing natural or man made disaster or war to stay and work in the United States, is contained at the US Citizenship and Immigration Services website. For additional details please contact the City of Minneapolis Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs

Naturalization Workshops in January and February

Learn how to become a US citizen! Local immigration legal service providers in conjunction with the Minnesota Dakotas Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association will be hosting free naturalization workshops in January and February in Minneapolis and St. Paul. A list of upcoming workshops, beginning January 31, is here.  Attend one of the sessions to learn how to transition from US permanent residence to US citizenship. 

Immigration forums at the 2020 We Count Community Connections Conference on February 1

The 2020 Community Connections Conference, a free all day event on Saturday, Feb. 1 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Minneapolis Convention Center (1301 2nd Ave S), will include morning and afternoon session on immigration topics, as well as sessions devoted to issues impacting the East African community and a Community Dialogue en español. Immigration legal service providers will also be exhibiting at the conference and interpreters in multiple languages will be available. Learn more about breakout sessions, exhibitors, and how to register for the conference here.

Report: Immigration Detention in the United States

The American Immigration Council has recently issued a report on immigration detention in the United States.  This report describes the populations, duration, and conditions for noncitizens detained in the United States by the following departments: Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and Department of Justice (DOJ). Each of these departments govern agencies that detain noncitizens. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are within DHS, Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) is within HHS, and U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) is within DOJ.

Report: Public Charge Outreach in community

In a report issued January 2020 entitled, "Navigating Public Charge: Best Practices in community based organizations to mitigate the harm for the Immigrant Community," the organization Protecting Immigrant Families has collected and documented best practices in sharing information with community members about this subject. 

The subject of public charge is one that has created concern and confusion within immigrant and refugee communities.The Trump administration’s public charge rule which was initially set to take effect on October 15, 2019 but was halted by federal court injunction, would allow federal officials to reject immigrants applying for a green card, an immigrant visa, or a temporary visa if they have previously accessed or are deemed likely to rely on certain forms of public assistance.

Federal Judge Blocks Executive Order on Refugees

A federal judge in Maryland has issued a nationwide injunction blocking the Trump administration from implementing Executive Order 13888 inviting state and local officials nationwide to agree to accept refugees before the federal government would resettle refugees into those jurisdictions.  The state of Minnesota as well as Hennepin County and the City of Minneapolis had indicated support of refugees and willingness to accept refugees.

Literature and Performance Art

Detention of Migrant Children in the US: An immigration attorney who served as a volunteer at an immigration detention facility in Dilley, Texas has recently written a book about the 35-year fight to end the detention of migrant children, both unaccompanied minors and family members.  The book is entitled Baby Jails: The Fight to End the Incarceration of Refugee Children in America

Noura: A new play at the Guthrie Theatre, Noura, explores the story of an Iraqi immigrant in the United States.

Xenophobia in the United States: University of Minnesota Professor Erika Lee recently published a history of xenophobia in the United States entitled American for Americans.

For reasonable accommodations or alternative formats please contact OIRA Director Michelle Rivero at 612-357-1875 or

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.