Between 1975 and 1986, about 750,000 refugees from Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos resettled in the U.S. They passed through two initiatives: the Refugee Parole Program and the Orderly Departure Program. Voluntary agencies, sponsors, and programs managed by the Indochinese Refugee Resettlement Office offered help. As a result, Minnesota was one of ten states that accepted the largest numbers of refugees.
On the bluffs above New Ulm stands a statue of Hermann, a first-century German chieftain who triumphed over Rome. This copper-sheet sculpture reflects the pride the early German American immigrants to Minnesota felt in their cultural background. Built in 1897 with funds raised from Sons of Hermann lodges all over the country, the monument is now owned by the City of New Ulm.
The exterior of the Minneapolis location of Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio (CLUES), a nonprofit social service organization for Latinos, at 720 East Lake Street in Minneapolis, February 20, 2016. Photographed by Lizzie Ehrenhalt.
Since the early 1900s, Latinos have been a productive and essential part of Minnesota. Most of the earliest Minnesotanos were migrant farm workers from Mexico or Texas and faced obstacles to first-class citizenship that are still being addressed. They overcame the instability associated with migratory work by establishing stable communities in the cities and towns of Minnesota. Latinos faced, and still face, discrimination—both racial and the kinds common to all immigrants and migrants.