Sanctuary cities continue to polarize

Minneapolis is one of a handful of cities around the nation dubbed a "sanctuary city."

The cities are meant to be a safer place for immigrants, but the designation continues stir controversy.

If you’re looking for a consistent definition of sanctuary city, there’s none to be found.

The City of Minneapolis describes their version of a sanctuary city as a jurisdiction that will not “do the work of the federal government by asking about immigration status or assisting with an arrest of a person for violations of federal immigration laws.”

Robin Phillips, executive director of The Advocates for Human Rights sees sanctuary cities as a necessity.

“We need everybody in the community to feel perfectly comfortable to approach the police, if they are witnesses of a crime, if they are victims of a crime,” said Phillips.

In January, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that would in part punish cities that do not comply with federal authorities.

Last month at an event in Minneapolis, Hennepin County Sheriff and professed Trump supporter Rich Stanek touted the efforts of the Trump Administration so far.

“He authorized a wall with Mexico and penalized sanctuary cities, like Minneapolis,” said Stanek at the event.

Sheriff Stanek pointed out that Hennepin County is not a “sanctuary county,” which means anyone booked into the Hennepin County Jail will not fall under the City of Minneapolis’ so-called sanctuary city ordinance.

“Minneapolis can pass all the policies they wish,” said Stanek. “Hennepin County is not a sanctuary county.”

President Trump has so far pledged to defund sanctuary cities. This could cost the City of Minneapolis two percent of its budget, amounting to $26 million.

Mayor Betsy Hodges declined an on-camera interview, but said in a statement the city will "aggressively defend" what they consider to be a common sense practice.