Welcoming Saint Paul, Immigrant and Refugee Program
While the Saint Paul City Attorney’s Office does not represent individuals or provide legal guidance to residents, the mission of our office is to ensure that Saint Paul continues to be a welcoming place to live for all residents including immigrants and refugees by:
- Facilitating the successful integration of immigrants and refugees into Saint Paul’s civic, economic, and cultural life;
- Advocating on behalf of immigrant and refugee communities in Saint Paul to ensure justice and equity for all City residents; and
- Promoting a City-wide culture that understands and values the benefits, including economic benefits, which all members of our society receive when immigrants and refugee communities are successfully integrated into our civic, economic, and cultural life.
Additionally, our office seeks to help our immigrant and refugee communities by giving them the tools and resources to understand the ever-changing immigration laws and policies that affect their daily lives. Our office develops programing designed to support and empower our immigrant and refugee communities and provides resources on our site intended to inform individuals of their rights so that they can more easily protect and exercise their rights.
The Saint Paul City Attorney’s Office values inclusiveness, honesty, integrity, community, equity, resiliency, and innovation. These are the guiding principles behind our mission and our programs. We believe that promoting such values will have a positive impact on Saint Paul and its residents, strengthening our community as a result.
Updates related to COVID-19 that impact immigrant and refugee communities
Anyone who is sick during the COVID-19 crisis should seek medical care without fear, regardless of immigration status or ability to pay for health services. It is important that everyone in Saint Paul including non-citizen residents regardless of immigration status obtaining medical care should they become ill.
The recent changes to the “public charge rule” which makes it harder for some immigrants to obtain a green card or visa when they have received certain government benefits and ICE’s increased enforcement activities in local communities have worked to discourage immigrants and refugees from going to hospitals and medical care facilities to seek medical treatment.
However, it is important for our immigrant and refugee communities in Saint Paul to know that:
- Public charge The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) will not consider any “testing, treatment, nor preventative care (including vaccines, if a vaccine because available) related to COVID-19 in a public charge determination, even if such treatment is provided or paid for by one or more public benefits.” See: USCIS announced
- ICE Enforcement: On March 18th, ICE announced that it would “temporarily adjust its enforcement posture” and focus enforcement on “public safety risks and individuals subject to mandatory detention based on criminal grounds.” For all others, the agency “will exercise discretion to delay enforcement actions until after the crisis or utilize alternatives to detention, as appropriate.” The ICE also stated that “consistent with its sensitive locations policy, during the COVID-19 crisis, it will not make any arrests near hospitals, doctor’s offices, or health clinics “except in the most extraordinary circumstances.”
Other Immigration/COVID-19 Related Updates
- ICE has suspended all in person check-ins at the Saint Paul Filed Office having people check in telephonically—the only in person action at the Saint Paul ICE Office is for payments of bond. For more information contact the Saint Paul Office at: Phone: (612) 843-8600.
- Immigration Courts: According to the EOIR website, all non-detained immigration hearings will be postponed, resulting in the closure of eleven immigration courts (Seattle, Atlanta [Peachtree], Charlotte, Houston [Gessner], Louisville, Memphis, NYC [Federal Plaza & Broadway], Newark, Sacramento, Los Angeles [Olive]). Other immigration courts including Bloomington, Minnesota remain open for detained cases only.
- USCIS Offices Close: As of March 18, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services temporarily suspended in-person services at its field offices, asylum offices, and Application Support Centers (ASCs) to help slow the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). USCIS offices will reopen on April 7 unless the public closures are extended further. However, USCIS will provide emergency services for limited situations. To schedule an emergency appointment, contact the USCIS Contact Center.
- Immigration Detention: ICE has temporarily suspended non-legal visits at all ICE detention centers. Legal visits are still allowed.
- Temporary Suspension of Refugee Resettlement: A State Department spokesperson recently confirmed that refugee admissions to the United States will be suspending from Thursday, March 19th through Monday, April 6th. Wednesday, March 18th was the last day for refugee arrivals.
- Travel Ban - On March 13, 2020, the President expanded the travel ban which originally included China and Iran to include the 26 countries from the Schengen Area: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, ad Switzerland. The travel ban bars entry to the United States of all travelers with certain exceptions who have been physical present in China, Iran or the Schengen area during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States. See Presidential Proclamation for more details.
These Updates are subject to frequent change. Please revisit this webpage as well as the Federal Government Websites noted above for updated information.
Legal Defense Program
A collaborative of the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota (ILCM), The Advocates for Human Rights (AHR) and Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid (MMLA) has been selected as the service provider for the Ramsey County/City of Saint Paul Immigration Legal Defense Fund.
The collaborative will represent clients who live in Ramsey County or Saint Paul, who do not have legal representation, who are detained and face removal, and who earn less than 200% of the poverty guidelines. Potential clients may contact any of the following phone numbers below to have their case evaluated:
- ILCM intake/detention line: 651-641-1011
- AHR intake line: 612-341-9845
- MMLA intake line: 612-334-5970
Recent reports by national media outlets on the federal immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) division’s potential enforcement actions in U.S. cities has caused concern for many. At the local level, we are committed to ensuring Saint Paul is a safe, welcoming and inclusive city for all of us. While we are not aware of any planned ICE enforcement actions in our city, the City of Saint Paul, and our Saint Paul Police Department will not cooperate, facilitate enforcement actions, or ask for immigration documentation or status.
Immigration Resources & Assistance
Here are some community partners who offer services or resources related to community, advocacy, policy and accurate information surrounding immigration issues.
The Advocates for Human Rights
The organization is dedicated to the promotion and protection of internationally recognized human rights. The Advocates documents human rights abuses, advocates on behalf of individual victims, educates on human rights issues, and provides training and technical assistance to address and prevent human rights violations. Client intake number: 612-341-9845.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota continues to protect the civil liberties of all Minnesotans through litigation, public education, and lobbying.
A linguistically and culturally relevant resource and service nonprofit organization by Latinos for Latinos.
Casa de Esperanza
Casa De Esperanza works to eliminate violence against women and children in the Latino community and the community at large. Offers family and court advocacy, bilingual 24-hour crisis response and shelter.
Coalitional of Asian American Leaders
A nonprofit organization focused on harnessing the collective power of Asian Minnesotan leaders to improve the lives of community. CAAL works to uplift and support leaders, advance the shared priority issues of education and economics, weave relationships, and build solidarity across IPOC communities.
Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota
A non-profit providing immigration legal assistance and policy advocacy for low-income immigrants and refugees in Minnesota. For assistance with questions and concerns regarding immigration rights, and to receive accurate information and competent legal advice, community members may call this hotline: 651-287-3715.
International Institute of Minnesota
The Institute delivers services and resources to assist New Americans in the transition to a new life leading to economic self-sufficiency. From language learning and job training to citizenship classes and the celebration of cultural traditions, the Institute offers New Americans a pathway for a strong start to a new life in our community – something we all benefit from.
Minnesota Council of Churches - Refugee Services
An ecumenical ministry welcoming persecuted people from around the world. Provide specialized services for refugees and asylees to assist them on the path to self-sufficiency and support them as they work towards achieving their dreams.
Release MN 8
In August 2016, eight Cambodian Americans from Minnesota were detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The families of these individuals are demanding the immediate release of their loved ones in detention, as well as the right to return for those who have been deported. Access the Southeast Asian American Solidarity toolkit online by clicking here.
Additional online tool from the American Immigration Lawyers Association.
AILA is a professional legal association of private lawyers. AILA and ailalawyer.com offer no legal advice, recommendations, mediation or counseling under any circumstance. This online tool may assist with identifying a private immigration attorney near you.