City receives award for advocacy on the Minnesota Dream Act

The Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota recently awarded the City of Minneapolis with a legislative advocacy award for its efforts in getting the Minnesota Dream Act passed last year. The Minnesota Dream Act guarantees in-state tuition rates to undocumented students who for at least three years attended and graduated from a Minnesota high school. It also commits financial aid to qualified, aspiring undocumented college students in the state.

A collation including government, higher education, business, nonprofits, students and labor banded together to work on passage of the law. The Intergovernmental Relations and Neighborhood and Community Relations departments played a key role on behalf of the City of Minneapolis, with Intergovernmental Relations working at the Capitol and Neighborhood and Community Relations joining together in a historic collaboration with the local Latino community.

The City of Minneapolis and the Latino community joined together to find ways to address several major equity issues. Mariano Espinoza, the Spanish Access and Outreach Specialist for the Neighborhood and Community Relations Department, worked with the community to shape how they wanted to engage with the City, and the community created the Latino Engagement Task Force, an informal group comprised of community leaders. 

The Minnesota Dream Act was part of the legislative agenda supported by the City. It will benefit hundreds of residents and their families in Minneapolis. According to the Office of Higher Education, in Minnesota 160 students applied for the Minnesota Dream Act this school year.

“What the city was able to do and accomplish with this partnership and coalition is to make dreams come true for young people — residents of Minneapolis and all over state,” said Immigrant Law Center Executive Director Jim Keller.

For more information about the law, see the Minnesota Dream Act.

A major focus for the Latino Engagement Task Force in 2014 will be to continue work at the State level to expand driver's license eligibility to undocumented residents.

Published Jun 10, 2014