- Associated Press - Sunday, October 23, 2016

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Many of Minnesota’s hundreds of thousands of immigrants are closely watching this year’s presidential election as the two major-party candidates have contrasting stances on immigration.

Republican candidate Donald Trump has called for mass deportations of immigrants living in the U.S. illegally and stricter rules for handling refugees, while Democratic Hillary Clinton wants to overhaul immigration laws to include a path to citizenship.

Latino businessman and Trump supporter Rick Aguilar from St. Paul said he believes Trump initially spoke too harshly and broadly about immigrants, but that he agrees with his border security concern.

“You know people are saying, ‘He’s going to build a wall.’ No, no, no,” Aguilar told MPR News (https://bit.ly/2erMG35 ). “He’s going to extend and make it more effective. Not build a wall. The wall is already there.”

St. Paul resident Jose Gonzalez, who was born in Mexico and became a U.S. citizen 30 years ago, said he agrees with Clinton and believes citizenship must be accessible and affordable.

“If you don’t have a criminal record, you’ve been paying taxes for the past 20 years, you’ve been doing other things in the community, I think you should be able to put in an application for citizenship, even though maybe the way you got here wasn’t following the correct process,” Gonzalez said.

U.S. Census Bureau statistics show that foreign-born residents make up just over 7 percent of Minnesota’s population, and data from the Pew Research Center shows the state has an estimated 95,000 undocumented immigrants.

John Keller, executive director of the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota, said many of the state’s business, labor and faith groups have been working to help the state’s immigrants and to improve federal immigration policy.

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Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, https://www.mprnews.org


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