President Barack Obama’s inauguration promises great hope and change to our government, and we should use this transitional period to its greatest potential. There are myriad issues being placed before the new administration, and not the least of them is immigration.
Of the total immigration to the United States between 2000 and 2005, 58 percent of immigrants came from Latin America. Around Northfield, Hispanics/Latinos were 5.73 percent of the population in 2000. These are our neighbors, fellow community members, peers, and friends. We live in a community with a vibrant, sizable Latino community, but the reality is that the Latino community suffers more at the hand of government injustice and is more impoverished than the average Northfield resident or Carleton student. The reality is that we do not interact much with our Latino neighbors even though they account for nearly half of the population growth in the United States.
The facts are humbling. Hispanic immigrants across the U.S. are being hit hard by the subprime mortgage crisis. There is a disproportionate level of foreclosures in immigrant neighborhoods. Furthermore, the typical immigrant and his/her children will pay a net $80,000 more in their lifetimes than they collect in government services.
But there are many great strides being taken to combat injustice specifically in Northfield, and on a larger scale throughout Minnesota. Research shows that the more contact a native-born American has with immigrants, typically the more positive view of immigrants one has. The time is right to get involved, make our voices heard, and let the Obama administration know what we care about. The Northfield Immigrant-Student Alliance (NISA) invites you to learn more about immigration in Minnesota and how you can be involved at Carleton and in the Northfield community.
Please come to our Northfield Immigrant-Student Alliance Forum, Wednesday, February 25, at 7:00p.m. in Leighton 305 to learn from these great resources:
Michele Garnett McKenzie, Advocacy Director with the Advocates for Human Rights, will speak specifically on the changes that can be expected with respect to immigrant rights under the Obama administration.
Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin will speak about agricultural entrepreneurship and other economic stimulus programs for the Latino community in Northfield.
Interfaith Social Action (IFSA) and the Latin American Student Organization (LASO) will present about their work, programs, and opportunities for students.
-Katie Blanchard, Meagan Pick, and David Zumba are members of the Northfield Immigrant-Student Alliance.