MPD to install squad car signs informing undocumented immigrants of their rights

For undocumented immigrants an encounter with law enforcement can raise fears of detainment and deportation, but in Minneapolis there will soon be help reminding non-authorized residents of their rights. 

In his state of the city address Thursday, Mayor Jacob Frey said Minneapolis police cars will be fitted with signs detailing a person's rights regarding Immigration and Customs Enforcement, including that individuals:

  • Don't have to answer questions about immigration status
  • Don't have to talk to ICE officials
  • Will have anything they say used against them in a court of law

Frey says the signs will be written in both English and Spanish.

"We will not let the lack of compassion demonstrated at the hightest levels of our government prevent us from doing the right thing by our immigrant community here in Minneapolis," Frey said.

ICE arrests are up 67 percent in the St. Paul region, according to a recent study by Pew Research, the area covered including Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Iowa and Nebraska. 

Even though Minneapolis already has an ordinance that prevents city employees, including police, from asking about someone's immigration status, immigration Attorney Kara Lynum says the signs are another way to let undocumented immigrants know they have rights as well.

"I think they're great, because a lot of times people don't know their rights or they forget them in the moment," she said. "So if they see a sign in a squad car it may remind them, 'Hey, I have rights here even if I'm not a citizen, and I should assert those rights.'"

Frey hopes to have the placards installed in squad cars by the end of the year.