Hennepin County Sheriff Dave Hutchinson said he has ended his predecessor’s practice of cooperating with federal immigration authorities.
Hutchinson said in a recent interview with The Star Tribune that his office no longer alerts Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) about inmates who are in the country illegally. According to The Star Tribune, Hutchinson has been meeting with lawyers and advisers to help with implementing the changes.
“That means not violating any laws and making sure that we are not being used as an enforcement arm of the federal government,” Hutchinson said. “We have made policy decisions to meet this goal, and those policies will go into place in the next month.”
Jaylani Hussein, executive director of Minnesota’s chapter for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said he was pleased with how Hutchinson’s first few months in office have gone.
“Sheriff Hutchinson has been responsive to concerns around immigration issues that haunted us under the previous sheriff,” he said. “It’s too early to determine the impact, but we believe he has made a commitment.”
The practice will effectively make Hennepin County a so-called “sanctuary” county, since a place of “sanctuary” generally just refers to a municipality that has ended its cooperation with federal immigration enforcement efforts. At least that’s how Gov. Tim Walz sees it.
“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,” Walz said in one of the closing debates of the 2018 gubernatorial election when defending his plan to declare Minnesota a “sanctuary state.”
Hutchinson pulled off a surprise victory over long-time Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek in the 2018 election. Towards the end of the campaign, Hutchinson received the endorsement of Hillary Clinton.
He now oversees the law enforcement operations of Minnesota’s largest county, which has a population of 1.2 million people.
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