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Tracking Minnesota’s political scene and keeping you up-to-date on those elected to serve you

Dayton: Using National Guard for immigration roundups would be "concerning"

Gov. Mark Dayton said Friday that reports of the Trump administration considering using National Guard troops to round up undocumented immigrants were "concerning" and that such a move would be problematic if it happened in Minnesota.

The Associated Press reported Friday morning on a Department of Homeland Security memo proposing the mobilization of troops to apprehend and detain suspected undocumented immigrants across southern and western states. The future of the proposal is unclear; the Associated Press reported that the White House and the Department of Homeland Security had not responded to requests for comment. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Friday that the memo in question was "not a White House document."

Dayton, responded to a question from a reporter on Friday, said he had just learned of the report and needed to get more information. But he said he was not supportive of the idea of Guard troops in Minnesota or elsewhere serving in such a function.

“If they’re going to go after law-abiding people who are here undocumented, that’s very, very concerning and very disruptive to families and communities and to the cohesion of our state.”

Dayton said that if President Donald Trump were to nationalize Guard troops, they would be operating under his authority, rather than the governors of affected states. Should that directive come to Minnesota, Dayton said he would take issue with the idea. 

"I would certainly advise them against coming into Minnesota and removing people forcibly who again, have not committed a crime and they are here and often employed and paying taxes and part of the community," he said. "I just think it’s going to be very disruptive.”

Gov. Dayton signs off on $35M in new state loans for farmers

 

Gov. Mark Dayton on Friday signed into law a measure authorizing the state to provide up to $35 million in loans to help Minnesota farmers buy land and improve their agricultural operations.

The bill, which received support from both Republicans and DFLers in the Legislature, continues the work of the  Rural Finance Authority. That program, launched in 1986, has provided $270 million in loans to more than 2,800 farmers across the state. It provides loans at terms and rates that farmers often cannot get elsewhere, and can help farmers restructure their debt or make other major improvements.

Dayton and lawmakers who attended a bill-signing ceremony said they were pleased to see the bill pass early in the five-month legislative session.

Minnesota Department of Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson said the state has already been taking applications for the program and intends to move quickly to ensure farmers can secure the financing they need for the year ahead.

“The timing did work out,” Frederickson said. “If we would have moved this further into the spring, it would have been a problem.”

Above: Gov. Mark Dayton signs the Rural Finance Authority Bill as lawmakers, including bill author Sen. Andrew Lang, R-Olivia look on. Lang was joined at the bill signing by his sons.