A group of prominent Minnesota Republicans visited a local ICE detention center to vocalize their support for the country’s federal immigration laws, but the real star of the show was the local sheriff in attendance.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson, along with Republican attorney general candidate Doug Wardlow and Congressional candidate Jim Hagedorn, spoke at Freeborn County’s ICE facility Friday morning.
They were joined by Freeborn County Sheriff Kurt Freitag, who expressed his gratitude for the “beneficial relationship” the county has with the federal government.
“We’ve got space and it offsets revenue,” Freitag said of Freeborn County’s contract with ICE, according to The Albert Lea Tribune. “We share information with [the federal government] daily. I think that’s important.”
Freitag shrugged off proposals from Democratic candidates to declare Minnesota a sanctuary state, which he doesn’t believe would have much of an effect on the county’s existing practices.
“The way we operate, it’s not a valid concern,” he said, noting that deputies do not inquire about the immigration status of victims reporting crimes, contradicting a common argument used by Democrat Tim Walz.
In a recent statement provided to CBS, and frequently cited on the campaign trail, Walz claimed that all “Minnesotans 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.”
“For example, if your neighbor witnesses someone breaking into your home, you are safe when your neighbor knows their immigration status is not at risk if they call the police,” he added, though that doesn’t seem to be much of an issue, according to Freitag.
“Sheriffs need to stick with the laws in place,” he added, apparently suggesting that candidates who want to undermine federal immigration law should reconsider running for office, according to The Tribune.
During the visit, Johnson expressed concern over the rise in methamphetamine coming from Mexico, saying a sanctuary-state status would only “harm Minnesotans.” While voicing his worries about the costs, Johnson did agree that more needs to be invested in the treatment and mental health fields.
“That is 100 percent true. We flat out need facilities,” Freitag agreed.
Freeborn County began contracting with ICE in 2009, and its agreement is estimated to have brought in $19 million in revenue.
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