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.

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October 1, 2020

Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs (OIRA) Bulletin

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.

Special Update: USCIS filing fee increase set to begin on October 2 halted by federal injunction

A federal court injunction issued this week has stopped US Citizenship and Immigration Services from increasing filing fees and eliminating most fee waivers for immigration petitions filed with the agency.  The planned start date for fee changes was October 2. While this injunction is not a permanent halt, it does mean that fee changes will not begin on October 2.

The fee rule had included a hike in the application fee for US citizenship from $640 to $1170 (an 83% increase) and a first time ever imposition of a filing fee to apply for asylum. The City of Minneapolis took actions to oppose these fee changes, including joining federal lawsuits opposing implementation and submitting a public comment to the relevant agency opposing the rule when it was first proposed in December 2019. 

The fact that these fee changes have been halted is an important development for our immigrant and refugee communities.  For more information, nonprofit immigration legal service providers can be found on the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs webpage under the tab Immigration Legal Help.


Special Update: FY 2021 Refugee Ceiling set at new all time low of 15,000 people

On Thursday, October 1, 2020, the US State Department announced a refugee ceiling of 15,000 people for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021. This represents the maximum number of refugees who can be resettled to the United States from October 1, 2020 to September 30, 2021 and is a new all time low for refugee resettlement to the United States since the Refugee Act was passed in 1980. FY 2020's ceiling was 18,000 people, which at the time was also the lowest number of refugees resettled to the US since passage of the Refugee Act.

A refugee is a person who has experienced persecution or who has a well-founded fear of persecution on account of their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. Latest estimates by the United Nations  indicate that the worldwide refugee population is 26 million people. 

In FY 2020 which just ended on September 30, 2020, 356 refugees were resettled in Minnesota, down from FY 2019's total of 727 refugees. By way of comparison, in FY 2017 Minnesota's total was 1,299 and in FY 2016, 2,207 refugees were resettled here. 

Refugees make up an important segment of the population of the City of Minneapolis, over 21,000 people, according to a report recently issued by the organization New American Economy. Visit the Minnesota Historical Society's MNopedia on Immigrants and Refugees in Minnesota to learn more about Minnesota's refugee resettlement history. 

To learn more about the refugee resettlement process in Minnesota and how you can help welcome refugees resettled to this state, contact the following Refugee Resettlement Agencies: Lutheran Social Services and the International Institute of Minnesota.


Multilingual Resources 

City of Minneapolis Coronavirus webpages:

Minnesota-specific Absentee Ballot Instructions Video:

Multilingual COVID-19 awareness videos:

Getting Tested

Spanish, Maria Isa, CEO/Artist, SotaRico

Somali, Hibat Sharif, President Somali North American Business & Professionals, Inc.

Hmong, Vang Lo, Board Member, Nres Xeem Lauj Hmong 18 Council, Inc.

English,  Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan, State of Minnesota


Following Guidelines

Spanish, Irma Márquez Trapero, Executive Director, LatinoLEAD

Somali, Abdullahi Farah, Lead Organizer Muslim Coalition of ISAIAH

Hmong, Vang Lo, Board Member, Nres Xeem Lauj Hmong 18 Council, Inc.

English, Imam Asad Zaman, Muslim American Society of MN

Where to get immigration assistance

If you or someone you know needs immigration help, please contact the City of Minneapolis Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, or see this list of trusted nonprofit legal service providers.  Through relationships with immigration legal service partners, the City of Minneapolis demonstrates its commitment to residents, by making sure that residents with immigration questions are connected to safe and trusted providers. 

About the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs

The Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs (OIRA) is an office in the Neighborhood and Community Relations Department. For more information, please visit, email, or call 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 612-263-6850.

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