After the Government Services Administration (GSA) announced that the Twin Cities USCIS office would move to a new location that was not accessible by public transportation, Klobuchar, Franken, and Ellison called on USCIS and GSA to find a solution that would allow continued public transportation accessibility
New location in Minneapolis will allow Minnesotans who rely on public transportation to continue to have access to USCIS services they count on
WASHINGTON, DC – After efforts from U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, and Representative Keith Ellison, the Government Services Administration (GSA) announced that the Twin Cities U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office will remain accessible by public transportation. After the GSA planned to move the Twin Cities USCIS office to a location lacking public transportation options, Klobuchar, Franken, and Ellison repeatedly pressed the USCIS and GSA to find a solution that would allow continued public transportation accessibility. The new location announced in Minneapolis will allow Minnesotans who rely on public transportation to continue to have access to the USCIS services they count on.
“Refugees and immigrants who come to Minnesota seeking a better life for their families need to have access to the USCIS services that they count on,” Klobuchar said. “I am pleased the GSA heard our concerns on the importance of keeping the Twin Cities office accessible by public transportation and that a solution has been found that will allow Minnesotans to continue to have access to these importance services.”
“USCIS is critical to the livelihoods of so many Minnesota families, which is why it’s important to make sure that these services can actually serve the people who need them,” Franken said. “When the GSA picked the location for a new office in 2014—one not easily reachable by public transportation—we immediately fought back and called for it to be moved. It’s great news for thousands of Minnesotans that the GSA listened to our concerns and that the new USCIS office will be more accessible to the public.”
“The GSA’s new proposal for the Twin Cities USCIS Field Office will ensure that those who arrived in Minnesota seeking a better life can get the assistance they need,” Rep. Ellison said. “The new Minneapolis location is accessible by public transit and is much closer to the communities who need their help most. I applaud the GSA for making this change.”
In 2014, after efforts from Klobuchar, USCIS held a meeting in the Twin Cities to discuss the agency’s plan to relocate the office. The meeting included officials from both USCIS and GSA, as well as impacted families and representatives from community-based organizations, educational institutions, and religious associations. At a Judiciary Committee hearing, Klobuchar questioned USCIS Director nominee Leon Rodriguez on the potential impact the planned move would have on people in need of USCIS’ services and pushed him to work with GSA to find a suitable alternative. Klobuchar sent a letter to GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini urging him to halt the relocation of the office and begin reviewing alternatives. Klobuchar also introduced legislation - cosponsored by Franken in the Senate and introduced by Ellison in the House - to prevent the GSA from making the same error in the future. The Government Services Accessibility Act would require the GSA, before entering into a lease, to verify that the building location meets any public transportation distance requirement specified in its lease solicitation and that public transportation runs regularly throughout the normal business hours of the building.
Since first becoming an issue, Franken has called on the GSA to abandon its plan to relocate the Twin Cities USCIS office to an out-of-the-way, inaccessible location. Franken personally pressed the GSA director to change the originally proposed location at the beginning of 2014. And in addition, Franken worked with Klobuchar and Ellison to introduce legislation requiring that the GSA, before entering into a lease, make sure that a proposed building location meets certain public transportation requirements.