Federal immigration agents arrested nine people Tuesday in an early-morning enforcement action in the southern Twin Cities suburbs.
Six arrests were made in Burnsville and three in Apple Valley by agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), authorities said. The identities of those arrested were not released Tuesday.
“Every day, as part of routine targeted enforcement operations, ICE officers arrest criminal aliens and other individuals who are in violation of our nation’s immigration laws,” said agency spokesman Shawn Neudauer.
Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security called a local school district to reassure it that the action was routine and didn’t signal the start of a major enforcement effort.
The DHS official said “there were no checkpoints, we’re not coming into the schools,” said Tony Taschner, communications director for the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan Public Schools. Taschner said students and parents have expressed concerns recently over statements by President Trump signalling tougher treatment for those not in America legally.
“Have we heard in recent weeks some concern from parents and students on this issue? Yes,” Taschner said. “Has it been any more intense today? No.”
Felipe Illescas, a longtime activist in immigration and public policy, said reports quickly spread through the Hispanic community about workers’ vehicles being pulled over by agents Tuesday morning. Construction company owners then called their workers to tell them to stay home, Illescas said.
A group of local clergy went to the ICE office at Fort Snelling Tuesday afternoon to find out more about the arrests, but the office was closed, said Lars Negstad policy director of ISAIAH, a faith-based social justice group in St. Paul.