MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - Minneapolis city officials unveiled stickers in police squad cars advising people who are in the country illegally of their rights, a move the police union called “insane.”
The Minneapolis Police Department on Wednesday started outfitting each of its squad cars with signage in the backseat. The messages tell people that they don’t have to answer questions from Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, including where they were born and their citizenship status.
Mayor Jacob Frey said the city was acting because President Donald Trump’s administration and Congress have been unable to pass a new immigration law or protect young people known as DREAMers who came to the country illegal as children.
“We will not let this lack of compassion at the highest level of our government prevent us from doing what is right for our immigrant communities here in Minneapolis,” Frey told reporters Wednesday during a news conference at Incarnation Catholic Church on the city’s south side.
The Minneapolis police union and the campaign of Republican attorney general candidate Doug Wardlow blasted the move, saying it proves Frey’s focus is on the wrong things.
“This is all too typical of the lunatic left,” Lt. Bob Kroll, president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, said in an email. “With 200 shooting victims in the city year to date, the political response is to be sure and advise people who are here ILLEGALLY of their rights, while in the back of a squad car. It’s simply insane.”
Billy Grant, Wardlow’s campaign manager, called the stickers “disappointing.”
“It’s hard to understand why the mayor is choosing to spend his time advising illegal immigrants, especially considering the growing number of public safety problems in the city,” Grant said in an emailed statement.
Responding specifically to the police union’s concerns, Frey said Police Chief Medaria Arradondo was supportive of the changes.
“Those words run dead counter to everything we stand for here in Minneapolis,” Frey said of the union’s criticisms.
He said no other mayors had contacted him planning to copy what Minneapolis was doing. He said he was hopeful that Minneapolis would be “an example.”
City Attorney Susan Segal said people who are arrested can choose not to speak to an immigration agent while in jail. She said the stickers would also warn people not to give false information.
“We feel that this is just another step in making sure that the rights of all of our people in Minneapolis are being respected,” Segal said.
David Soto, a Minneapolis man and DREAMer whose parents brought him to the U.S. illegally as a child, said the Latino community would benefit from the stickers.
“Even if it’s something rather simple, it makes all the difference to our community,” he said.