A Minneapolis city ordinance prevents local police officers from inquiring “about immigration status” when conducting their policing.
The policy made local headlines in early August when Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey disparaged Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis President Bob Kroll and his colleagues for appearing in a campaign mailer for Tim Pawlenty.
“Our policy preventing MPD [Minneapolis Police Department] officers from asking about immigration status is not an advisory guideline that can be selectively ignored,” Frey commented in response to Pawlenty’s calls for stricter law enforcement in the state. “It is a city law that cannot be reversed by Bob Kroll or any political candidate.”
Pawlenty’s mailer, which was backed by Kroll, claimed that Minnesota is “wasting millions on benefits for those here illegally.”
“That’s not right. I will enforce our laws and be a strong voice for hardworking Minnesotans,” the mailer added. After the mailer went public, Frey released a statement suggesting that neither the police union that Kroll represents nor the governor has control over the city’s policy.
“They don’t speak for the city. So let me make it clear: our separation ordinance will be enforced no matter who occupies the office of governor or who is leading the police union,” Frey argued. “Minneapolis stands with our immigrant brothers and sisters who have, throughout our city’s history, made Minneapolis a better place to live.”
Frey’s arguments stem from the Minneapolis Code of Ordinance, which prohibits “public safety officials” from undertaking “any law enforcement action for the purpose of detecting the presence of undocumented persons, or to verify immigration status.”
Additionally, the MPD itself has a policy in place known as “Police Authority in Immigration Matters,” which places further limitations on the city’s police officers in respect to immigration violations.
“Officers shall not independently undertake to approach, interview, interrogate, detain or arrest any suspected illegal alien or refugee when potential violation of the federal immigration law is the principal issue,” the policy commands. “Neither shall any officer independently seek to ascertain a suspected illegal alien’s status.”
Notably, city ordinance also considers “a photo identity document issued by the person’s nation of origin, such as a drive’s license, passport, or matricula consular (consulate-issued document)” as an “accepted” form of identification. As The Minnesota Sun previously reported, Minneapolis will begin offering “municipal IDs” in 2019 to any residents “ages 14 and up” regardless of “immigration status.” The identification card will serve as a “recognized ID for interacting with the” MPD.
According to a recent Suffolk University poll of likely Minnesota voters, 44 percent believe that the state “accepts too many refugees,” while 38 percent believe that Minnesota accepts “just the right amount.” Republican Gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson has promised on the campaign trail to indefinitely suspend Minnesota’s participation in the Refugee Resettlement Program.
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