Minnesota has always been an area that has thrived on the contributions of immigrants. Immigrant-owned businesses in Minnesota employ approximately 21,000 workers and generate sales and receipts to the tune of $2.2 billion. Concordia University economist, Bruce Corrie, has calculated that in Minnesota, Asian-Americans and Latinos have accounted for approximately $7 billion in purchases annually. Along with the economic benefits from immigrants, there are also immense cultural benefits that add to the rich diversity of the communities within Minnesota.
According to recent statistics published in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s 2011 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics, it was reported that in 2011 there were 12,389 individuals that were granted permanent resident status by Minnesota. 82% of those individuals were those located within the Twin Cities geographical area. A “legal permanent resident” status (also known as a “green card” recipient) basically means that individuals are able to live legally and permanently within the United States. Permanent resident status confers certain rights such as being able to own property, attend public schools, colleges, and universities, and joining certain branches of the Armed Forces. If certain conditions are met, then these individuals may eventually apply for permanent citizenship. These conditions include such things as passing a citizenship test, demonstrating an ability to speak and read English, and the length of residency in the United States.
U.S. law, including the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), dictate when legal permanent residents may become U.S. citizens. It is extremely important for those attempting to obtain legal permanent status, working towards U.S. citizneship, or becoming a U.S. citizen to ensure that the proper steps and processes are followed within the law. Issues, such as criminal infractions, may arise that if not handled properly could have dire consequences on someone seeking to obtain U.S. citizenship. A qualified attorney should always be consulted to ensure that processes are being followed correctly and to mitigate any potential concerns that may arise.