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LETTER: Native-born Minnesotans use more Medicaid than immigrants

Sometimes a letter shows up that is so egregious you wonder if it’s worth a response. Mr. Scherbel (“Other states’ climates would be better for immigrants,” April 22) has concern for Minnesota’s immigrant population, and thinks they should go to states with a more “temperate climate,” similar to where they came from. That eliminates those from countries with cold/snow, so I guess we know which ones he’d like to deport. Granted, there are days when we all feel like heading to a more temperate climate. But we live here for the same reasons that immigrants come and stay, including availability of jobs, closeness to family, quality of life.

Some facts: Several other states provide more generous benefits to immigrants than Minnesota - but they don’t all have a large immigrant population. Low-income immigrants use public benefits like Medicaid or SNAP at a lower rate than low-income native-born citizens. Since 2008, Minnesota has not been among the top 10 states accepting new immigrants.

In 2013, Minnesota’s immigrants were more likely to hold a graduate or professional degree than the native-born population. According to the latest census, 48 percent of Twin Cities’ immigrant workers hold white-collar jobs. Immigrants are almost twice as likely as native-born Americans to start a business. In the Twin Cities, immigrant-owned businesses have been revitalizing declining neighborhoods. Foreign-born doctors and nurses are filling critical shortages among our state’s health-care workers. Immigrants paid more than $1 billion in state and local taxes in 2013. Without immigrants, Minnesota’s labor force will fall short of the workers it needs as baby boomers retire. In 2011, 45.9 percent of Minnesota’s immigrants had become citizens.

And the peak year for immigration to our state was 1910.

Carol Turnbull

Woodbury

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