After attending a large immigration rally along the U.S.-Mexico border last week, a DFL lawmaker from Minneapolis said he wants his fellow state legislators to take a closer look at Minnesota’s immigration detention policies.
Rep. Frank Hornstein traveled to Brownsville, Texas, for a demonstration against the Trump administration’s policy of separating families who cross the border illegally and placing children in detention centers. Though a federal court last week ordered that practice to stop and that families be reunited, Hornstein said he and the “several thousand” people who also attended the rally are concerned about the government’s progress on those reunifications — and broader policies about what to do with people who turn up at the border seeking help.
“This is truly a national issue,” he said. “We feel it in Minnesota, and there are several detention centers in Minnesota.”
Hornstein said the stories shared at the rally by members of organizations working directly with the immigrant families show that many have fled “incredibly difficult and dangerous conditions” in Central America.
The rally was hosted by organizations including the ACLU, the Texas Civil Rights Project and the Children’s Defense Fund, but Hornstein said he went representing himself, because he’s long been interested in immigration issues in Minnesota and wanted to see for himself what was happening along the border.
He’s not sure yet what specific legislation could come up in next year’s legislative session, but he said he doesn’t want state resources to be used for deportations and wants to ensure that people seeking asylum are “given due process under the law.”
“I don’t think our local officials should be in the business of rounding people up and sending them to detention facilities,” he said.
Stras on the shortlist
Last week’s retirement announcement from U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy is prompting speculation about the chances of a Minnesotan to take his seat. Former Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Stras — appointed a few months ago by President Donald Trump to join the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, is on Trump’s shortlist of two dozen judges he’d like to see on the court.
Stras clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in the early 2000s and sat on Minnesota’s high court from 2010 to 2018.