Immigration 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.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Welcome to the City of Minneapolis Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs (OIRA) Bulletin.  In this bulletin you will find information regarding immigration developments and news on issues that impact immigrant and refugee communities in the City of Minneapolis.

Sign up for the OIRA Bulletin here.

May is Asian and Pacific American Heritage Month 

The month of May is Asian and Pacific American Heritage Month. Although in person events are not possible, there are many opportunities to celebrate and learn more about the Asian and Pacific American community in Minnesota, including some here below:

While we celebrate this month, we also recognize that the Asian and Pacific American community is facing unacceptable acts of discrimination and violence. 

The State of Minnesota operates a discrimination hotline to report acts of bias and discrimination to the Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR). The number to call to report an incident is 1-833-454-0148. To learn more about the helpline visit:

Residents of the City of Minneapolis can learn more about filing a discrimination complaint through the City of Minneapolis Civil Rights Department

Acts of violence should be reported to law enforcement by dialing 911. 

If you are a member of or working with the Asian and Pacific American community and have information to share, a question to ask, or concern to raise, please consider the Minneapolis Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs (OIRA) as a resource. Contact information for OIRA is: or 612-394-6018.

Mayor Jacob Frey delivers State of the City Address

Mayor Jacob Frey taped and released his third State of the City address April 29. 

In his remarks, Frey highlighted the City’s response to COVID-19, Minneapolis’ role – as the largest and densest city in the state – in protecting public health, and emphasized the City’s commitment to continue delivering core services.  Read more...

Webinars and Community Information Sessions

Minnesota Department of Labor

  • The State of Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry hosts a weekly webinar to discuss worker rights and responsibilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Registration information is located here

Minnesota Department of Human Services, Resettlement Programs Office

  • The Resettlement Programs Office at Department of Human Services is cohosting a refugee and immigrant briefing with the Oromo community this Thursday, May 7 at 4:30 pm.  State leaders from Minnesota Department of Health, Department of Education and Department of Employment and Economic Development will be sharing information regarding COVID 19 health, education and employment concerns and answering questions on the call. The call will be in Oromo with questions and answers in English and Oromo.    Join by phone (Phone number to call: 415-655-0003
    Meeting access code: 964 045 081)
  • To learn more about calls in additional languages, contact

Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development--Community Calls

  • The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) hosts a weekly calls with updates on DEED's response to the COVID-19 global pandemic.  
  • Calls are on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 4:00pm. Questions may be submitted ahead of time using this form.   
  • The call-in number and PIN is the same every day.  Call-in number: 415-655-0003                   PIN: 969-724-973 
  • To be added to the invitation list for these calls, contact Maureen Ramirez, Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity, at  

CENSUS and Communities of Color/Children

  • Facebook Live event hosted by Fartun Weli of Isuroon and including Minneapolis Census Protect Coordinator Alberder Gillespie and State of Minnesota Director of Census Operations and Engagement Andrew Virden. Upcoming event focusing on Census entitled "Count our Children!" will take place on Friday May 8 at 4PM. 

Grants and Requests for Proposals

One Minneapolis Fund Application Period Opens

To ensure that under-engaged communities in Minneapolis are meaningfully informed and engaged during the COVID-19 pandemic, the One Minneapolis Fund. has undergone some tweaking. The two funding categories are:

COVID-19 Engagement: Up to $25,000 for projects that provide critical support to city residents that are the most vulnerable and disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

One Minneapolis Engagement: Up to $25,000 for projects that connect historically under-engaged residents to the City and engage communities, beyond neighborhood borders, in targeted audiences.

Applications must be submitted in the City’s online eSupplier system by Friday, May 25 at 4 p.m.  Questions can be directed to Aryca Myers at

Womens Foundation COVID-19 RFP (Closes Friday May 8)

The Womens Foundation has a COVID-19 grant focusing on organizations serving women and girls from communities of color who are experiencing gender based violence. Organizations can apply for up to $10,000. More information about the grant and application process can be found here

Otto Bremer Foundation

The Otto Bremer Emergency Fund is continuing to take applications for COVID-19 response work in community. More information about the application process can be found here.

City of Minneapolis Grants/RFPs

Visit the City of Minneapolis Grants/RFP page frequently for up to date information on grants and Requests for Proposals offered through the City of Minneapolis. 

Community Assistance Funds

Hennepin County Rental Assistance Program Opens

Residents of suburban Hennepin County who have been financially impacted by COVID-19 may be eligible for rental assistance.   More information on how to apply, in multiple languages, is on their website

Unite Here

The Labor Organization Unite Here has created a fund to support hospitality workers impacted by COVID-19. More information on how to donate here. To learn more about receiving a donation, contact your local office


Please contact Michelle Rivero at the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs at to share information about local community assistance funds to share in this bulletin.

Mental health support and resources

City of Minneapolis COVID-19 Emergency Mental Health awards

The City of Minneapolis has awarded $200,000 from the COVID-19 Emergency Mental Health Fund to 29 community organizations providing mental health care to the community.

The City’s Division of Race & Equity established the fund to strengthen the capacity of mental and behavioral health providers and community cultural healers to provide services to community residents who may be experiencing increased stress and trauma related to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

Find a list of providers taking new patients here, and learn more about the City’s COVID-19 Emergency Mental Health Fund here.

State of Minnesota Mental Health Resources

The State of Minnesota has established a list of Mental health care providers and additional mental health resource information. Visit their website for comprehensive information including hotline numbers. 

Report on DACA and Mental Health

A decision is anticipated by the Supreme Court which will determine whether Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) beneficiaries may continue to maintain this classification. A group of health professionals prepared this Report specifically focusing on mental health issues within this population. 


COVID-19 Testing

See these resources for more information on COVID-19 testing in Minnesota. Please review instructions specific to each site before going:

Bills to watch at the State and Federal Legislature

State legislative measure would give financial support to individuals who do not qualify for federal stimulus

A recently introduced COVID-19 Response Fund bill in the state legislature (Gomez) HF 4611, (Franzen) SF 4540 would provide for emergency community relief grants to benefit Minnesotans who are suffering financial hardship because of COVID-19 and are unable to access other assistance. The grants would be specifically targeted to pay for food, emergency household items, rent support, utility bills, and other similar expenses, and would be administered through local organizations, associations, foundations, and financial institutions, keeping decision-making local throughout the state, with oversight from the Minnesota Disaster Recovery Fund. Individuals and groups interested in advocating in support of this bill are encouraged to reach out to the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota for more information, as ILCM is identifying entities interested in supporting this measure.

Immigration News and Resources

Immigration Court non detained cases postponed up to and including May 29, 2020

Up to date inforrmation regarding operational status of the nation's immigration courts can be found at the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) website here.  Make sure to check EOIIR tweets for latest updates.

USCIS addresses excusing filing delays for applications impacted by COVID-19

USCIS has issued the following updated guidance regarding delays in filing documents attributable to COVID-19:

In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is extending the flexibilities it announced on March 30 to assist applicants and petitioners who are responding to certain:

  • Requests for Evidence;
  • Continuations to Request Evidence (N-14);
  • Notices of Intent to Deny;
  • Notices of Intent to Revoke;
  • Notices of Intent to Rescind and Notices of Intent to Terminate regional investment centers; and
  • filing date requirements for Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion.

Notice/Request/Decision Issuance Date

This flexibility applies to the documents listed above if the issuance date listed on the request, notice, or decision is between March 1 and July 1, 2020, inclusive. 

Response Due Date

USCIS will consider a response to a request or notice listed above received within 60 calendar days after the response due date set in the request or notice before taking action. USCIS will consider a Form I-290B received up to 60 calendar days from the date of the decision before it takes any action.

For More Information

USCIS will provide further updates as the situation develops and will continue to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance. Please visit for the latest facts and other USCIS updates.

Public Charge Information

"Public charge" is a test for immigrants coming to the U.S. and for some immigrants in the U.S. who are applying for a green card for the first time. USCIS has clearly stated that accessing health care support relating to COVID-19 will not have public charge consequences. Minneapolis residents with questions about "public charge" should consult with a free, safe immigration legal services provider. Call 1-800-292-4150 M-F 9AM-4PM and say "public charge."

Informative brochures on Public Charge from the Minnesota Department of Human Services are available in English, Hmong, Karen, Somali and SpanishVisit for additional information on COVID-19 Care and Public Charge. 

Immigrants in Detention--FALM and Legal Service Organizations

Immigration and Customs Enforcement reports that there have been 674 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in immigration detention. A local organization composed of medical and legal professionals and community advocates,  Frente Accion Latino Minnesota (FALM), is advocating for the release of immigration detainees to prevent transmission of COVID-19 to immigrant detainees and is especially focused on the most vulnerable population of individuals who are elderly, sick, pregnant, and/or otherwise immunocompromised.

To be involved in these efforts and learn more about this work contact Dr. Miguel Fiol ( or University of Minnesota Law School immigration attorney Kathy Moccio ( 

If you know someone in immigration custody needing assistance in seeking release from custody, the following organizations can provide legal assistance:

Mid Minnesota Legal Aid: Intake number is 612-334-5970. Immigration intake is on Mondays and Thursdays.

Advocates for Human Rights: Call client client at 612-341-9845 for an intake. This is a free call from immigration detention.    

About the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs

The Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs (OIRA) is housed within the Neighborhood and Community Relations Department. For more information about the work of this office, please visit us at, contact us directly at or schedule time during virtual office hours (see below).

Virtual Office Hours

The Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs will be holding virtual community hours on Fridays from 3-4:30PM.  To schedule an appointment please contact Michelle by Wednesday of the week you would like to "meet" at or 612-394-6018.

For reasonable accommodations or alternative formats please contact:

 Michelle Rivero, OIRA Director

Department of Neighborhood and Community Relations or 612-394-6018

Visit our webpage at:

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.