Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


Campaign websites: Minnesota’s U.S. representatives mostly silent on illegal immigration

With Arizona’s new immigration law SB 1070 set to go into effect later this week, politicians and activists from around the country — on both sides- – have mobilized around the hot-button issue.

But 1,000 miles northeast of the Grand Canyon State, Minnesota’s U.S. representatives are largely steering clear of illegal immigration, at least on their campaign websites, despite strong support for the Arizona law in the Gopher State.

A Smart Politics analysis finds that no one from the state’s eight-member U.S. House delegation addresses the Arizona law on their campaign websites, and just one representative, DFLer Keith Ellison, even mentions immigration as one of his campaign issues


Smart Politics recently profiled Minnesota’s support for Arizona’s immigration law and the general principles behind it — support which has now increased over the past two months.

In late May, Rasmussen found 53 percent of Minnesotans favored passage of Arizona’s law here in the Gopher State, with 34 percent opposed.

In a new Rasmussen poll conducted a week ago of 500 likely voters in Minnesota, 62 percent are now in support of such a measure, with just 27 percent opposed.

But while several of Minnesota’s U.S. Representatives have taken strong public stands on the Arizona issue, they are not doing so on their campaign websites.

For example, both Republicans Michele Bachmann and John Kline recently signed an amicus brief — along with more than six dozen other members of the House — in support of the State of Arizona in the lawsuit it faces from the Obama administration.

But neither Bachmann, Kline or fellow GOPer Erik Paulsen even mention immigration, let alone the Arizona law, on their campaign sites.

The only representative who addresses immigration is two-term DFLer Keith Ellison, who lists immigration reform as one of 11 topics under “Civil and Human Rights” on his site. Ellison lays out his views thusly:

“Keith supports comprehensive immigration reform such as the STRIVE Act that includes four components: a clear path to citizenship to those who are already in the U.S. working and paying taxes; expedited process for family reunification; workable employment verification system with strict penalties for employers who knowingly hire undocumented immigrants. Keith also supports the Dream Act, which would increase access to higher education for the children of foreign-born workers.”

Curiously, despite only one of Minnesota’s U.S. House members focusing on immigration on his or her campaign website, four Representatives hit on the issue — to varying degrees — on their official Congressional sites.

For example, under “Defending Our Homeland” (one of eight main issues on his U.S. House site), Congressman Paulsen hints at the immigration issue in the context of his support for a strong national defense:

“A strong defense includes strong law enforcement, secure borders, a strong military and vigorous intelligence services.” (emphasis added)

Michele Bachmann, meanwhile, highlights immigration as one of 10 issues on her official U.S. House site, and carves out her clear opposition to amnesty, her desire to secure America’s borders, and her view that the federal government should enforce the laws already on the books.

This placement suggests Congresswoman Bachmann, one of the most prominent Republican figures in Congress, believes it is important for her to emphasize her opposition to illegal immigration on the national stage through her U.S. House site, but not in her 6th CD reelection campaign per se (perhaps given her district’s 1,000+ mile distance from the Mexican border).

On the DFL side, Ellison reiterates on his official U.S. House website the same views delineated on his campaign site, while senior delegation member Jim Oberstar highlights immigration as one of nine general issue categories on his House site under “Homeland Security, Immigration & Defense”.

The 18-term Congressman takes the following position:

“The current immigration system needs reform. There are an estimated 12 million undocumented, illegal aliens inside the United States. These include people who overstay their visas, sneak across the border, and enter the U.S. based on fraudulent documents. I believe it is possible to create much-needed meaningful reform of our nation’s immigration policies that would enhance of domestic security, meet the demonstrated needs of industries and agriculture that depend upon immigrant labor, and not punish those immigrants who have followed existing immigration rules and laws.”

Representatives Tim Walz, Betty McCollum, Collin Peterson and John Kline do not highlight the issue of illegal immigration on their official U.S. House sites.

While the economy is still of paramount concern to most Minnesotans, it will be interesting to see if the attention paid to immigration on the campaign trail by the state’s U.S. representatives eventually begins to rise, as support for the Arizona law mounts across the Gopher State.

This article appeared on Smart Politics, the blog of the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. Smart Politics provides non-partisan analysis of public policy and statewide and district elections for Upper Midwestern and national politics.

Comments (15)

  1. Submitted by DeeAnn Christensen on 07/27/2010 - 12:16 pm.

    I had heard that the Rasmussen polls call only landline users and therefore; their results are skewed to the older and more conservative respondents.

    I did some internet research and found that according to the Pew Research Center, “…
    only about 10% of respondents in landline samples are under age 30….” and “cell-only respondents are significantly more likely than either the landline respondents or the cell-mostly respondents to support …Democratic candidates….” Finally Pew found that “Compared with all respondents reached on a landline, both groups are significantly younger, more likely to be male, and less likely to be white.”

    Now I know the internet is notorious for bad information, but the Pew Research Center does seem to be a universally accepted, credible source.

  2. Submitted by Mohammed Ali Bin Shah on 07/27/2010 - 01:18 pm.

    I heard that the moon in made of cheese. And not that funny brie or goat cheese favored by the young and trendy, but good old American cheese, which is favored by older, conservative Americans.

  3. Submitted by Mohammed Ali Bin Shah on 07/27/2010 - 01:31 pm.

    The issue of illegal aliens in the country is not addressed because of two simple facts. If you are for enforcing the federal and state laws that we have, you are vilified as a RACIST!!!! If you support a “path to citizenship”, you only have the support of the far left and are vilified as supporting CRIMINALITY and HIGHER SPENDING to support the aliens.

  4. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 07/27/2010 - 01:47 pm.

    Let me get this straight. The issue is now that Michele Bachmann isn’t speaking out *enough* on hot-button topics?

  5. Submitted by Ed Stych on 07/27/2010 - 03:08 pm.

    I don’t know if everything DeeAnn wrote is true, but what I DO know is true is that Rasmussen had the most accurate polling for the 2008 presidential election. So maybe Rasmussen is even more credible than Pew, which finished second? Maybe you should pay more attention to Rasmussen polling?

  6. Submitted by Dave Francis on 07/27/2010 - 04:22 pm.

    Here are some excerpts from eyewitness accounts and summaries of foreign nationals voting in federal elections

    In California, as an example former Republican Rep. Robert K. Dornan was defeated by Democrat Loretta Sanchez by 984 votes in the 1996 election. State officials found that at least 300 votes were cast illegally by non-citizens. Honolulu Advertiser, September 9, 2000. Election officials found 543 Oahu residents who were not U.S. citizens had registered to vote.

    In 1996, Congress sanctioned the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, creating it as a federal crime for non-citizens who vote in any federal election (or state election, unless authorized by state law). As a penalty, ineligible non-citizens who knowingly vote may be deported. In addition, a non-citizen who falsely claims to be a United States citizen is in violation of this law. In 1997, the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office in Dallas were investigating voting by illegal nationals. They forwarded a computerized tape of the names of individuals who had voted to the INS (Immigration & Naturalization Service became ICE) requesting a check against INS records, but the INS refused to cooperate with the criminal investigation. An INS official was quoted as saying that the INS agency did not “want to open a Pandora’s Box…. If word got out that this is an extensive problem, it could tie up all sorts of manpower. There might be a few thousand [illegal voters] in Dallas, for example, but there could be tens of thousands in places like New York, Chicago or Miami.”

    Eight of the World trade Center 11 murderers were registered to vote in either Virginia or Florida—registrations that were probably attained when they applied for driver’s licenses.

    We cannot afford to let our guard down and those who are doubtful of these statistic as a fallacy, should type into Goggle, Yahoo “Voter Fraud?” We have already heard of intimidation by the Black Panthers, should be aware that in most states the so called “HONOR SYSTEM” prevails. We must eye incumbent elections, that a few hundred votes could put a bad politician back in office, such as Sen. Harry Reid. A few hundred illegal votes could make a world of difference in a close race. Your vote is important to Washington’s Senate and Congressman, so bombard them that you are adamantly against any type of Amnesty. You want them to secure the border and do it now, because Mexico’s carnage could easily erupt here. The DOJ with its Arizona immigration court battle over SB1070, is arguing we have already have damaged this country’s relationship with Mexico. Strange that the DOJ never thought of the damage done to America, by the Mexican government giving road maps to slip past the US Border Patrol and how to get welfare benefits in our country? Even Sanctuary Cities are being ignored by ICE, instead of arresting the Governors, Mayors, Judges and city managers who support this draining of taxpayers money, in there time of urgent need.

    Call the Washington switchboard at 202-224-3121.

    Learn more at NumbersUSA No copyright, Copy, paste and distribute freely.

  7. Submitted by Dave Francis on 07/27/2010 - 04:22 pm.

    Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader in the close knit pack of Democrats, considers he is getting bad polling numbers, owing to the ingress of new residents that don’t know him or his reputation? Fortunately he’s right, but there is more to it? A great bulk of the new arrivals over the last five years are illegal aliens, taking construction jobs in the once thriving building boom. Now with the economic downturn, the building industry has faded out, after the greedy grasping of cheap labor by construction owners. Now out of a job illegal immigrants unable to find work, are stifling the welfare offices and that is one of the causes the state of Nevada is hurting economically. The illegal alien invasion has not gone away and now has infiltrated more than ever, in the casinos and entertainment-service industry as a whole. While Americans and legal residents remain jobless, illegal immigrants have transferred to those positions at lower wages.

    In any midterm elections or November, we must be careful to watch for abnormalities in Nevada, but across the wide spectrum of polling places in this country. Only a few states have strict regulations on federal voting rules and absentee ballots little or none. Absentee voting is especially opened to fraud, and incumbent politicians with their careers on the line have much to lose. If a person (s) has criminally penetrated America, without being processed, it is my belief that many illegal entrants will break the law further by voting for pro-amnesty spearhead like Sen. Reid? Citizenship is and should be a basic constraint for voting. Citizenship is a legal requirement to vote in federal and state elections, except for a small number of local elections in a few jurisdictions. Non-citizen voting is likely growing at the same rate as our illegal alien population in this nation; but as for the deficiencies in state law and the miscarriage of federal agencies to obey with federal law, there are almost no measures in place that allow election officials to detect, dissuade, and avert non-citizens from registering and voting.

    Instead, polling officials are chiefly dependent on an “honor system” that presumes aliens to follow the law. There are plentiful cases showing the failure of this honor system.

  8. Submitted by Robert Langford on 07/27/2010 - 06:04 pm.

    Is MnPost commentary page becoming a site for the radical right? I thought you folks were enforcing a policy, and obviously, Francis has found your key. I will stop reading.

  9. Submitted by Eric Paul Jacobsen on 07/27/2010 - 10:13 pm.

    “Here are some excerpts from eyewitness accounts and summaries of foreign nationals voting in federal elections.”

    I personally do not assume that every comment posted in this thread is true. Some commenters lie outright, and others unknowingly pass along false rumors. I respect the right of Dave Francis to write what he believes, and I respect the right of “MinnPost” to publish his writings here. However, I will not take Mr. Francis’s claims seriously unless he reveals his sources and these turn out to have solid evidence behind them.

    The reason why draconian measures are so widely popular with easily frightened elements of the US-American electorate is because there are a lot of scary rumors being spread about undocumented immigrants. Many of these rumors are completely untrue, and many others are distortions.

    For example, the mystery of the high birth rate among immigrants instantly clears up when you consider that most immigrants are of child-bearing age, whereas many native-born citizens are too young to have children, and a great many others are too old.

    Fraudulent voting, such as Mr. Francis alleges, is a felony. Anyone who commits this felony risks serving serious jail time. I find it hard to believe that hundreds or even thousands of people risk jail time in order to cast votes that are individually highly unlikely to change the outcome of an election. I note with satisfaction that even if Dave Francis’s allegations are all true, they still do not demonstrate that improperly cast votes have changed the outcome of a single election – though they do INSINUATE this claim and may fool uncritical readers. We should remind ourselves that in any case, we have no idea who these illegal voters voted FOR. It is unlikely that they all agreed to choose the same candidate.

    Considering all this, the potential risk that fraudulent voting entails for the perpetrator so obviously outweighs the potential payoff that I believe no sane person would even attempt it. As for undocumented immigrants, I believe they are generally prudent enough not to add the risk of fraudulent voting to the risks they have already taken merely in order to find and keep their jobs.

    If you know somebody who is scared of undocumented immigrants, please refer him or her to the website of “America’s Voice,” which debunks many myths about immigration, such as the completely false claims that immigrants hurt the economy or that they increase crime. Xenophobia does not become right merely because it is popular.

  10. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 07/27/2010 - 10:49 pm.

    Migrants are here to work, period.

    If employers were penalized and held accountable to the point that it would be too prohibitive (fines and asset seizures) to hire illegals. Would there be a problem?

    The whole problem is that someone is hiring these folks. Oh I get it, the business community are constituents too.. What was I thinking?

  11. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 07/27/2010 - 10:56 pm.

    Seems like an infinitely more efficient system would be to police the employers, requiring them to prove their employees immigrant status. Of course now that corporations have civil rights, maybe it will be unfair to profile construction and landscaping companies.

  12. Submitted by Mohammed Ali Bin Shah on 07/27/2010 - 11:23 pm.

    Wow, such open mindedness. And here I thought that the left wanted all opinions to be heard…. HAHAHAHAHAHA I crack myself up sometimes.

  13. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 07/28/2010 - 06:34 am.

    Good one David…

  14. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 07/28/2010 - 07:20 am.

    Mr Granneman, The conservative side of me tells me that the irony of this overexcited debate, the net effect of immigration is minimal (about a one tenth of 1 percent gain in GDP). Even for those most acutely affected—say, low-skilled workers, or California residents—the impact isn’t all that dramatic. The shrill voices have tended to dominate our perceptions. But when all those factors are put together and the economists crunch the numbers, it ends up being a net positive, but a small one. Too bad most people don’t realize it.

    As national security issue. I would like to have a secure border to keep the Islamic terrorists from being able to cross our southern border. Now there, doesn’t that sound conservative?

  15. Submitted by Todd Hintz on 10/01/2010 - 05:07 pm.

    A border fence is too easy to get over, under or through…or around. It’s simply not cost effective.

    Richard hit the nail on the head with the employment issue. Why do people come here? For jobs. Take the jobs away and they’ll go home. And the jobs can be taken up by Americans, thereby solving our unemployment issue too.

    The down side to this is goods and services would cost more in the U.S. because employers would have to pay a living wage. On that same coin though, employees would have enough to live on and buy the goods and services they’re providing.

    Oh, and there wouldn’t be the need for the expense of the fence and border patrols.

Leave a Reply