Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Pawlenty on Immigration Reform

At a closed town hall meeting in Worthington yesterday, Gov. Pawlenty called for immigration reform.

If it's broke, fix it.

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WORTHINGTON, Minn. (AP) - Gov. Tim Pawlenty called for reforms in immigration law and criticized the federal government for its failure to keep illegal immigration in check.
Pawlenty made his comments Tuesday in Worthington, after participating in a 90 minute closed-door meeting with local leaders that focused on the effects illegal immigration has on the community.


"It's not just a Worthington concern or Worthington problem," Pawlenty told reporters after the meeting. "These concerns confront many communities across Minnesota and across the country. We need to move toward a more legal, more orderly system."

Pawlenty was invited to Worthington by Mayor Alan Oberloh, who said the meeting was closed due to ongoing law enforcement investigations.

Pawlenty called the current immigration system "chaotic," and he criticized the federal government for failing to curb illegal immigration.

"Up until recently, at the federal level, these issues have been allowed to get out of hand," the governor said. "As a nation in general, we've been looking the other way when it comes to illegal immigration. I feel our federal policy-makers have been lax."

He welcomed President Bush's recent proposal to grant three-year work visas to undocumented immigrants, but he said the initiative was "overdue."

Pawlenty said his administration plans to offer immigration-related proposals in the 2006 state legislative session.

Oberloh added he wants to encourage illegal residents to make positive impacts in the city - something he said is difficult under the current climate.

"We'd like to have our immigrant population become part of the community and be here to the point where they don't have to be underground," he said. (Source: AP, Nov. 30, 2005)
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