The chiefs of police of Minnesota's two largest cities stated their opposition today to a bill introduced in the state House that would have Minnesota mimic Arizona's recent crackdown on illegal immigrants.
Making police enforce federal immigration policy would undermine their efforts to build crime-fighting relationships in their communites, Minneapolis police Chief Tim Dolan and St. Paul police Chief John Harrington said in a joint statement Friday.
"Our officers have worked hard to build relationships of trust with our residents, especially new Americans, and these partnerships have helped us bring down crime in both Minneapolis and Saint Paul over the past several years," Dolan and Harrington said in their statement. "The culture of fear that this bill will instill in immigrant communities will keep victims of crime and people with information about crime from coming forward, and that will endanger all residents.
The bill introduced Thursday by Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Wabasha, would require police to determine the immigration status of people they stop or arrest. Drazkowski noted the bill includes a provision prohibiting racial profiling.
Arizona's enactment has prompted expressions of support but has been criticized by President Obama. It has also triggered travel and business boycotts and lawsuits from two major cities within Arizona itself.
The bill is not expected to go anywhere this session because it was introduced well after deadlines and legislators are focusing on a budget crisis in the session's final 10 days.