Posts Tagged ‘Immigration’



September 9, 2013


SYRIA Becomes Excuse….


Who ARE these people we vote into office?  Looking for an excuse, the US Congress is finding one.  SYRIA trumps Immigration….it’s now unlikely immigration will be addressed for “months” if at all this year. 


Again, this is one more reason for change big time in the 2014 election.  Two years of DO-NOTHING should signal VOTE NO from constituents!




One almost has to feel sorry for those Minnesota Republicans trying to move forward after the damage done by their one-time leader Tony Sutton.   Hard to stomach his picture on the STRIB front page this morning…it took me back to 2008 and the slimiest person I have ever encountered in my professional career.  Unfortunately, it is not surprising today’s news reports he has personally filed bankruptcy – why not, I guess – he had already bankrupted his party!




The tentative facelift to Nicollet Mall would be SO welcomed!  Finally, we could have a chance to fix the half-done design from the 1960s.  The magic worlds are more green connections – perhaps we could include a vertical farm and market along the way.  Can’t wait to see the three finalist designer plans revealed on September 17th!




Allina is experimenting with different ways to diagnose high blood pressure….with preliminary findings that indicate 30% of those on meds do not really need them!  Good for them…and good for me.  I have long held the opinion that many docs over-medicate. 




The Syrian War has now impacted Maa loula – the oldest Christian community in the world – so ancient they still speak the language of Jesus – Aramaic.


For the second time in four days, rebels swept through the town which had been abandoned a few days earlier by citizens and priests who oversaw the Mar Takla Nunnery.  The 27 nuns had remained to care for the dozen orphans housed at the nunnery.


Apparently no one was hurt, but this certainly shows the complexity of issues attached to this trouble from yet one more perspective.








More fallout from Snowden re the NSA….this time Germans protesting both NSA/GCHQ (British) eavesdropping on specific individuals.


I am still isolated out here in the world saying we’re approaching this all wrong,   Again, one more time…start familiarizing yourself with input like that discussed in “the New Digital World”….then rather than taking a path of 20th century knee-jerk reactions, let’s have a conversation based on the REALITIES of today’s world – what we gain and what we lose AND THEN debate what citizens of the world want going forward and how to accomplish that.











August 16, 2012

Yesterday, I attended a program entitled “Native American Settlements in the Minneapolis Area” at Mill City Museum.

As we gathered before the session, I chatted with the facilitator of our “Telling Native River Stories” group and was glad to hear that he, too, felt our efforts beginning in 2008 planted a seed that helped move us all to this wonderful week of coming together and re-telling of the US-Dakota Conflict of 1862.   

As we took our seats, the photos and sites included were familiar ones…St. Anthony Falls, Cold Spring, Pilot Knob, the strawberry fields and burial grounds of Lake Calhoun, Nicollet Island, Spirit Island, Loring Park and the gathering spot of the gods on the river bluff-today known as Fort Snelling. 

But two concepts introduced by the speaker, Richard La Fortune, definitely gave me food for thought.

His over-arching theme of the Crossroads of the Continent expanded my viewpoint significantly.  Of course, I know the role of the river for both native peoples and white immigrants, but La Fortune compared the north-south and east-west routes traveled for thousands of years by native peoples to today’s I-35 and I-94 intersecting right here in the city, and it all clicked together in my brain. 

I certainly know that the very first bridge ever built across the Mississippi River was “First Bridge” the original precursor to our Hennepin Avenue Bridge; but that was built here has always been marvel to me.  Yesterday, as I heard Lake Street described as a street built over part of the trail from the Mississippi River to the Tetons combined with legends of the falls known to native peoples from the headwaters to the Gulf of Mexico, it brought it all into perspective.   Major North American migration routes have criss-crossed our state and city for thousands of years; and indeed, looking at North America in its totality from northern Canada to southern Mexico/Atlantic Ocean to Pacific Ocean, we are located right there in the middle!

But more intriguing than that, was the current activity and findings reported at the archeological site currently under study at Prairie Island near Red Wing.  This large village, existing in 900-1250 AD, consists of square “apartments” positioned around a central plaza.  Each corner of the plaza- aligned north, east, south, and west- contains cultural artifacts from each corner of North America – dating back 10,000 years!  It was interesting to hear that the presumption is that apartments near each corner of the plaza were inhabited by immigrants from that same area of North America-each clustered around artifacts of their past.  

Rather than an outpost of Cahokia as once thought, La Fortune speculated that the Red Wing site was an outgrowth of sites here in Minneapolis, with 10,000 year old artifacts supporting the theory that indeed, this was the gathering place for all native nations on the continent to come together to trade and to forge peace agreements among the nations of the native world we know so little about.

Think about it.  A 10,000 year history of native “United Nations of America”; a 400 year history of immigrant whites that formed the 200+ year-old “United States of America”…it’s hard to understand the  justification of cries to “build a wall and shoot” in reference to keeping out the Mexican immigrants, isn’t it?  Many of them may likely have ancient ties to this land stronger than ours.  More food for thought!

I walked back from the museum thinking that the nickname “North Star State” does us a disservice in today’s world.  Becoming once again the “Crossroads of North America” has more world-class appeal!



June 20, 2012

It always amazes me that once one becomes interested in a topic- for whatever reason-every place you look or go, you see evidence of it.  It’s been there all along, but to quote a friend in her book about Marcy Holmes neighborhood, – it’s been “Hiding in Plain Sight”.  That certainly is what is happening to me!

Over the last four months, my thinking transformed from multiculturalism to interculturalism – thanks mostly to the week- long residency of Charles Landry and my involvement of that through Plan-It Hennepin. Intermittently, there have been headlines that drew attention to 2011 as the first year in which more minority babies were born than white babies.  In the past week, Obama offered the first “make sense” step to address children of immigrants in the United States.   And yesterday, although I had no intention of talking about it, I was having lunch with a friend and something sparked my thought-process and I was off on Minneapolis as a world-class city and the role of interculturalism in that dream.

Today, the front page of the STRIB again brings our attention to immigration with its headline “State immigration shift mirrors national trend”.  For the first time, both US and MN new immigrants are coming from Asian countries than anywhere else in the world.   Yes, I know, most think “bad border control” with Mexico has led to an influx of illegal Hispanics and that is the biggest immigration situation we have.  Nope, six months after I first mentioned this phenomenon, PEW Research Center has confirmed that the net immigration from Mexico is ZERO. (See January Blog).  It seems confirmed that a declining birthrate creating a smaller labor pool, combined with an improved economy in Mexico and better immigration efforts at the border since 2009 have indeed moved this issue well down the list of priorities.  One would think that the facts would change the political dialog, but I am learning that hard lesson one more time- facts don’t matter in politics. I am hopeful, however, this means we can begin to take an honest look at the changes before us and how to positively respond and integrate them into our existing world.

Statistics in the STRIB for Minnesota show that 44% of our foreign-born population in Minnesota arrived since 2000.  Only 11% of those were white.  That means over 88% were Asian, Hispanic/Latino and Black or African/American.  36% of all immigrants in US were Asian; 30% of MN immigrants were likewise from Asian countries.   Two trends are seen in both statistics:  the slowdown of Mexican immigration combined with the US DEMAND for high-skilled workers in specialized fields.  [And yes, I think it is fair to read that as businesses cannot get high-skilled workers in specialized fields from the existing white population available to them – but that is another topic of discussion!]

And then, the editorial reflecting on St. Anthony and the two religious groups that have been denied access also chimed in this morning.  We already have a minority population of 30% in children under five years old in this state.  It closed the editorial with a thought-provoking statement:

The United States was founded by people who wanted the freedom to practice their faith.  That is the dream of diverse communities seeking to establish local houses of worship.  We should embrace them, not fear them.

All this, and we have not even gotten to the list of things we need to address to accommodate the broader shift to INTERCULTURALISM needed for us to emerge as a world class city.




January 22, 2012

This past week the immigration “issue” resurfaced in the Republican Presidential Candidate debates and I was reminded of an article written originally for the New York Times and reprinted recently in the Strib.

Its title, Illegal Immigration is an Outdated Issue, caught my eye and as I read it, I took note of the premise that the immigration crises PEAKED in 2000 and a remarkable story has emerged of how immigrants of the 1990s have been assimilated into our culture. The article cited some incredible facts I had not heard before that supported the author’s suggestion that we need a shift in policy from keeping newcomers out to encouraging migrants and children to integrate into our society.

These were facts I had not heard before and although I did not do any in-depth research, I did do some preliminary fact-checking of sources and found enough validity to repeat below in hopes that at some point the GOP immigration dialog can be reviewed, evaluated, and altered as needed to reflect 2012 ad beyond.

  • The total number of immigrants, legal and illegal, arriving in 2000s grew at half the rate of that of the 1990s.
  • Since 2008, that population has shrunk to estimate 200,000 annually; and illegal immigrants from Asia have similarily dwindled.
  • Some experts estimate NET numbers of Mexicans settling in the US today at ZERO

An important reason cited for the effective disappearance of illegal border crossers from Mexico lies in Mexico’s birth rate.  It has plunged from 6.8 babies per mother in 1970 to 2.1 babies today-very close to that of the US birth rate.  And, that shrinking pool of young adults to meet labor needs has meant less competition for jobs and Mexico so impetus for immigration lessons.

The article continued to explore the facts regarding assimilation and they, too, provided some food for thought.

  • Although only a third of immigrants in US today have high school diplomas, by 2030, 80% of children under 10 yrs. old who arrived in the 1990s will have completed high school, and 18% will have bachelor degrees.
  • By 2030, immigrant home ownership will rise to 69% for Mexicans and 74% for all immigrants – well above the historical average of Americans.


The author sees America’s immigrants and their children as crucial to our future economic growth and offers serval suggestions to alter federal and state policies to focus on developing talents of immigrants and their children so America can remain the world’s richest and most powerful nation for decades to come.

Coming from a point of little real knowledge of the immigration situation, I am in no position to judge the validity of the needed changes, but a need to RETHINK and return to viewing immigrants as vast untapped human resources for our country seems worthwhile to examine.  It is what made us what we are, after all.  Changing the “Immigration Policy” to a revitalized “Immigrant Policy” may just make sense.



April 28, 2010

Little did I know last February, when after a disappointing local ISES chapter meeting, I blogged about risk management in “The Over-Looked Competency”, that ISES and its media partner, THE SPECIAL EVENT would soon have an opportunity to demonstrate to all members, attendees and followers their expertise level in that discipline. This morning, we have a live and un-folding case history, that handled effectively, could become a break-through to elevate our level of professionalism as event designers and producers.

Today, in the context of S.B. 1070 just passed by the Arizona legislature, the selection of the theme of TSE 2011 seems foretelling of a significant situation that will impact the show.

No matter which side of the immigration discussion we each represent, we now have a “risk situation”. For two days, we have witnessed reactions in the national press, and by last night we learned that the first upcoming conference planned for Scottsdale had cancelled. By this morning, our industry on-line trade publications have started to run news and opinion articles about whether groups planning conferences, meetings or events in Arizona should cancel and rebook elsewhere. What initially may emerge as an ethical vs. financial discussion, most likely will be discussed and rehashed for some time, but I expect that cancellation and attrition clauses will so heavily impact the financially-challenged conference organizer, that after much discussion, the TSE will remain in Phoenix.

And so, the Dawn of a New Beginning in Arizona based on immigration crises initiated by the passage of S.B. 1070 can become The Dawn of a New Beginning in providing some significant learning opportunities at TSE – if the organizers are willing to look past the standard learning levels of their conference and make this a powerful learning experience.

ISES in its name alone reflects the multi-culture and multi-racial makeup of members and many attendees of TSE. There will be those that may be threatened by the risk of racial-profiling. I expect there will be those in the international community that will question who we are as a country. And there may be those that could conceivably fall into the net cast widely in Arizona, and for one reason or another may not have proof of citizenship or international documents showing visitor status on their person at all times.

This may well impact the TSE on two levels.

The first, of course, after negative PR, is the potential negative impact on attendance from those that feel threatened or wish to protest the law. Setting aside the emotion involved in that, this could represent a major financial risk to TSE and potentially an educational risk for those among us that recognize that our International members, just by the nature of being international, represent a large body of the forward-thinking members of our organization. If they don’t attend, why would I go if my purpose is to engage with and learn from these people?

The second impact comes on-site during that conference, and the exposure attendees may have to the implementation of this law. If one’s path crosses those of a law enforcement officer, and there is reason to believe you are not a citizen, it will now be illegal for that enforcement officer NOT to ask for your papers. If you do not have them with you, under S.B. 1070, you may find yourself apprehended.

This Arizona law represents to TSE a first level of risk – that which can be minimized with good planning practices. Any failure to assess, evaluate, create contingency and emergency action plans, and develop communication plans broadcasts incompetency within our industry.

I urge TSE to give serious thought to this situation, renegotiate as you can from a position of strength, then focus on contingency planning and worst-case scenarios to minimize these risks. And then, add the situation to your education track – not to broadcast how well you handled it and tell attendees how to do it right, but to start a dialogue between organizer and attendee – reach out to those who questioned, or have been impacted or have expertise to question and share points of view so that all involved leave TSE with an impactful learning experience –that Dawn of a New Beginning that gives us all something to take away that we can begin to implement back home to start making a difference.

It would almost be worth attending the TSE 2011 Out Reach Meeting next month as a spectator to witness how plans to step up to the challenge emerge and are shaped in a responsible and effective manner.