Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tim Walz is doubling down on his plan to transform Minnesota into a “sanctuary state,” saying his proposal would actually make the state “safer.”
In his first ad of the campaign, Republican candidate Jeff Johnson attacked Walz for his progressive stance on immigration, which would make Minnesota “a sanctuary state for illegal immigrants.”
“He wants us to be California. I see a much brighter future for Minnesota, where we lower health care costs with competition and choice, where we actually enforce our laws, and you keep more of what you earn,” Johnson says in the ad.
In response, Walz conceded that he is open to making Minnesota a sanctuary state, but believes the policy “boils down to who has responsibility for enforcing immigration laws.”
“Congress has given federal agencies the authority to enforce immigration laws in Minnesota, and I support their doing so. Congress has not given local law enforcement that same authority,” Walz told CBS, arguing that it is not the responsibility of state agencies to enforce federal law.
“The role of law enforcement is to enforce state and local laws, not federal immigration laws, and I strongly believe they should not do so,” he continued. According to Walz, cities and states that adopt similar policies actually have “lower crimes rates” and are “safe cities.”
“All cities are safer when the limited resources of local law enforcement are focused on local crimes, and when everyone feels safe to cooperate fully with the police,” he argued.
Walz, however, disagrees with some of his Democratic colleagues, such as Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minneapolis), who wants to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.
“Reform, certainly. More importantly, give them clear direction of what the mission is. Let them carry out the mission of immigration control and enforcement, but on the front end where it’s not seen as a punitive force that comes in,” Walz said during a debate before the August primary.
Johnson, meanwhile, wants to indefinitely suspend Minnesota’s participation in the federal government’s Refugee Resettlement Program, which residents of St. Cloud, Minn. were chastised for after they raised concerns about its costs to the city.
“We have citizens citizens in St. Cloud who came forward and said we want to know what the cost of this is because we think it’s significant. The answer to them was not, ‘Let’s figure that out.’ The answer was, ‘You are racist and you are a white supremacist and shut up.’”
After the concerns were raised, Gov. Mark Dayton did, in fact, suggest that anyone who can’t accept Minnesota’s participation in the program “should find another state.”
“If you are that intolerant, if you are that much of a racist or a bigot, then find another state. Find a state where the minority population is one percent or whatever. It’s not that in Minnesota. It’s not going to be again. It’s not going to be that in St. Cloud, or Rochester or Worthington,” Dayton said at a town-hall meeting on the issue.
According to the latest polls from The Star Tribune, 25 percent of conservative Minnesotans ranked immigration as the top issue heading into the midterms, while 37 percent of liberals rated health care as their top priority.
– – –