by Hayley Feland
A new bill in the Minnesota Legislature would prohibit police and all other state employees from cooperating in the enforcement of America’s immigration laws.
The bill, HF2860/SF2724, is sponsored by Sen. Omar Fateh, DFL-Minneapolis, and Rep. Sandra Feist, DFL-New Brighton, along with 16 other Democratic co-authors in the House.
The bill aims to make Minnesota a “sanctuary state” for illegal immigrants by restricting “state and local officials from cooperating with federal immigration enforcement efforts.”
The proposed legislation would prohibit any Minnesota “government agents” from conducting immigration enforcement. According to the bill, immigration enforcement “includes all efforts to investigate, arrest, enforce, or assist in the investigation or arrest or enforcement of federal civil immigration law.”
The bill defines a government agent broadly, including teachers and professors, employees of publicly owned health care facilities, employees of any Minnesota court or government agency, along with law enforcement officers.
These outlined government agents would be prohibited from stopping, questioning, or detaining a person for immigration enforcement purposes, cooperating with federal immigration warrants or detainers, or inquiring about a person’s immigration status.
Police would not be allowed to investigate suspected immigration violations or inquire about an arrestee’s immigration status.
The bill would also place restrictions on nongovernmental organizations that receive state funding.
If passed, the Attorney General’s Office would be required to create a system to report violations of the new regulations, including a hotline, electronic complaint portal, and a written complaint process. These processes would be “accessible in multiple languages and advertised to communities most likely to be affected by immigration enforcement and deportation activities.”
A hearing for the bill has not been scheduled.
In addition to making Minnesota a sanctuary state, the DFL majority wants to give illegal immigrants access to MinnesotaCare and basic income, and has passed a bill that will allow them to obtain driver’s licenses.
These efforts come as the northern border sees unprecedented spikes in illegal border crossings and drug smuggling.
“According to Customs and Border Protection data, in fiscal year 2022, USBP agents had 2,238 encounters at the northern border. Now, in just the first four months of FY23, encounters have skyrocketed to 2,227 and nearly surpassed the total of last year’s encounters,” a group of Republican congressman, including U.S. Rep. Stauber, said in a February letter to the Biden administration.
“These surges in border encounters and drug smuggling coupled with a shortage of Border Patrol agents and lack of security measures place America’s northern border at serious risk,” they wrote. “As winter turns to spring, we are deeply concerned the northern Border Patrol agents will be even more overwhelmed, under-resourced, and under-manned.”
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Hayley Feland previously worked as a journalist with The Minnesota Sun, The Wisconsin Daily Star, and The College Fix. She is a Minnesota native with a passion for politics and journalism.
Photo “Omar Fateh” by Omar Fateh. Photo “Sandra Feist” by Minnesota House of Representatives. Background Photo “Minnesota State Capitol” by McGhiever. CC BY-SA 4.0.