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Illegal Immigration Issue Hits Minnesota While Bill Moves Through Congress

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As Congress attempts to push a controversial immigration bill through Capitol Hill, the issue of illegal immigration came to the forefront in Minnesota this week. More than two-dozen individuals in a prostitution ring were indicted on Monday by federal authorities after arrests made over the weekend. The indictment claims females were brought to Minnesota from Central America—many of whom were illegal immigrants. The defendants were charged with several counts, including conspiracy and various federal criminal statutes originating under the Commerce Clause.

The arrests were made in primarily Hispanic neighborhoods in the Twin Cities by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) wing of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security—arrests that later engendered protests against ICE by some members of the Hispanic community.

Minnesotans en masse, however, have largely been supportive of law and order measures in dealing with the nation's illegal immigration problem. In a survey taken a year ago, when the talk of amnesty came to Capitol Hill, nearly three times as many Minnesotans believed it was more important to control the border first (65 percent) rather than debate new rules for immigration (23 percent) (Rasmussen, April 2006).

In fact, even though any child born in the United States is eligible to become a U.S. citizen—regardless of the citizenship status of his parents—nearly twice as many Minnesotans believe a child borne of a women who enters the United States as an illegal alien should not be given automatic citizenship (56 to 29 percent) (Rasmussen, April 2006).

In the meantime, the state and the country waits to see whether or not new legislation in Congress that establishes a 'pathway to citizenship' for illegal immigrants becomes law in the coming months.

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