Many immigrants and refugees in Minnesota face barriers to equal access in employment, education, health care and other basic needs, according to a report released Wednesday.
The report by the Advocates for Human Rights, based in Minneapolis, concludes that many immigrants in Minnesota live in isolation and fear. It is based on more than 200 interviews with immigrants over the last two years.
"We call on policy makers and leaders at the state and local level to use the findings and recommendations in our report to make changes in policies, practices, laws and regulations that are currently not respecting and protecting the rights of immigrants and refugees in our state," said Robin Phillips, the group's executive director.
The Advocates for Human Rights supports legislation that would allow unauthorized immigrants to obtain a legal driver's license. The bill, passed by the Senate last year, is moving through House committees.
Community organizer Jovita Morales said immigrants should have access to many of the same opportunities as other people.
"I live, day to day, the injustices that face immigrants: to not have access to driver's license, access to identification, access to health, access to education, access to a livelihood and a fair wage," Morales said. "If we pay taxes, why are we ignored? Why are we excluded from a Minnesota that says it is equal for all?"