Frey and Carter Celebrate Citizenship Day, Release New Research to Inform Immigrant-inclusive COVID-19 Relief Measures

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 17, 2020

MEDIA CONTACTS

City of Minneapolis
Darwin Forsyth
612-346-0875

City of Saint Paul
Peter Leggett
651-307-8603
peter.leggett@ci.stpaul.mn.us

New American Economy
Mo Kantner
858-401-0298 

New research from New American Economy shows that immigrants in the Twin Cities; Both cities are among this year’s most improved cities nationally

In Minneapolis, immigrants play an outsize role in critical industries, making up 20.2 percent of all food sector workers and 16.5 percent of all healthcare workers; and in St. Paul making up over 32 percent of all food sector workers and 28.7 percent of all transportation and warehousing workers.

MINNEAPOLIS – Today, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter highlighted new research for Minneapolis and Saint Paul from New American Economy (NAE). The results underscore how immigrants are both essential to the Twin Cities’ COVID rapid response efforts and have been made especially vulnerable due to gaps in federal relief packages, language access barriers, and increased risks of infection associated with frontline and essential work. 

Minneapolis and St. Paul are among just twelve communities that received NAE research to inform culturally sensitive emergency response measures that ensure all residents are included, regardless of immigration status. Both cities’ customized research report highlights the demographic nuances of the region’s immigrant population and will inform the advocacy, development, and implementation of inclusive local emergency responses.

“From our gap funds for housing to our Know-Your-Rights placards, we’ve worked to ensure our conviction to welcome and support our immigrant community in our policymaking,” said Frey. “On this Citizenship Day, we all resolve to continue the hard work ahead and make citizenship more accessible. But the findings from the NAE make clear that the Twin Cities is making important progress and that both economically and in our public health industries, immigrants and New Americans are making our cities better city.”

“Amid this enduring public health and economic crisis, sustaining an inclusive community where no one is left behind is more critical than ever,” said Saint Paul Mayor Melvin Carter.  “This research from the New American Economy further demonstrates how vital our ongoing work to support our immigrant and refugee community is during these challenging times.” 

“The immigrant population is essential to keeping Minneapolis and Saint Paul running, yet especially vulnerable to gaps in our social safety nets,” said Mo Kantner, Director of State and Local Initiatives at New American Economy. “This new NAE research will support efforts by the city to work quickly and innovatively to fill critical gaps in federal programs and ensure that response and recovery efforts reach all of Minneapolis and Saint Paul residents.”

Both Minneapolis and St. Paul are among this year’s most improved cities nationally, ranking 55 out of 100 and 48 out of 100, respectively.  

Key findings from the Minneapolis report:

  • Immigrants serve in essential industries and carry out vital roles that keep Minneapolis functioning but put them at higher risk of infection. Despite making up just 15.4 percent of the city’s residents in 2018, immigrants comprised more than 20.2 percent of all food sector workers and 16.5 percent of all healthcare workers in Minneapolis.
  • The COVID-19 economic upheaval has highlighted the need for stable housing in Minneapolis for all residents regardless of immigration status. Among the city’s immigrant households in 2018, just 25 percent, or 7,332, owned their own homes and 75 percent, or 21,980, were renters.
  • Culturally sensitive and language accessible emergency materials are in demand. In 2018, over 29 percent of immigrants, or 19,053, living in Minneapolis had limited English language proficiency. Among them, the top three languages spoken at home other than English were: Spanish (44.2 percent) Somali and Related (34.3 percent) and Mian, Hmong (10.1 percent).
  • Access to healthcare and medical services remains critical for all Minneapolis residents during this pandemic. In 2018, 28,144 Minneapolis residents were without insurance, over 42 percent of which were immigrants.

Key findings from the St. Paul report:

  • Immigrants serve in essential industries and carry out vital roles that keep Saint Paul functioning but put them at higher risk of infection. Despite making up 19.4 percent of city’s residents in 2018, immigrants comprise more than 32.5 percent of all food sector workers and 28.7 percent of all transportation and warehousing workers in Saint Paul.
  • The COVID-19 economic upheaval has highlighted the need for stable housing in Saint Paul for all residents regardless of immigration status. Among the city’s immigrant households in 2018, just 31.5 percent, or 6,800, owned their own homes and 68.5 percent, or 14,757, were renters.
  • Culturally sensitive and language accessible emergency materials are in demand. In 2018, 33 percent of immigrants, or 19,386 residents living in Saint Paul, had limited English language proficiency. Among them, the top five languages spoken at home other than English were: Miao, Hmong (26.1 percent), Spanish (22.7 percent), Karen (20.1 percent), Somali and Related (8.0 percent) and Vietnamese (3.8 percent).
  • Access to healthcare and medical services remains critical for all Saint Paul residents during this pandemic. In 2018, 20,902 Saint Paul residents were without insurance, 42 percent of which were immigrants.

The full report is being released today, as the Twin Cities celebrate Citizenship Day and announce the findings of the third annual NAE Cities Index, a national assessment of local integration policies and socioeconomic outcomes in the largest 100 cities.  

The NAE Cities Index examines 31 different policies and practices, as well as 20 different socioeconomic outcomes, to assess cities on their work to integrate newcomers. Assessment categories include Government Leadership, Economic Empowerment, Inclusivity, Community, and Legal Support, as well as Job Opportunities, Economic Prosperity, Livability and Civic Participation.

Staff from both cities will also host a citizenship information session on Thursday at 10:00AM.  The public can participate and follow along here on the City of St. Paul’s Facebook page. 

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About New American Economy

New American Economy (NAE) is a bipartisan research and advocacy organization founded to educate, empower and support policymakers, influencers, and citizens across the country that see the economic and social benefits of a smart approach to immigration reform. NAE has created a coalition of civic, business, and cultural leaders who span the political spectrum and represent all 50 states. NAE makes the case for smart immigration reform in four ways: 1) we use powerful research to demonstrate how immigration impacts our economy, 2) we organize champions at the grassroots and influencer levels to build support for immigration, 3) we partner with state and local leaders to advocate for policies that recognize the value immigrants add locally, and 4) we show immigrant contributions to American culture through film, food, art, sports, comedy, and more.

Visit www.newamericaneconomy.org to learn more.