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Is Brooklyn Park a Sanctuary City?

February 1, 2017 03:53 PM

 

To the Brooklyn Park Community:

Last week, President Trump signed an executive order addressing immigration enforcement in the United States, including directives regarding “sanctuary jurisdictions” (sanctuary cities). According to the order, sanctuary jurisdictions are ones that “willfully violate federal law in an attempt to shield aliens from removal from the United States.” In addition, the President signed another executive order to temporarily ban immigration from seven specific countries. 

Since these announcements, members of the City Council and city staff have received dozens of contacts inquiring about the status of the City of Brooklyn Park, relative to these new executive orders. We understand that many residents in our community have questions and concerns. Due to the lack of a clear legal definition of a sanctuary city and the unknown enforcement of these executive orders, cities across the country are uncertain of the application and impacts of these new executive orders. We have been in conversation with the League of Minnesota Cities and other resource organizations to help us understand the full nature of these new executive orders.

Because 20 percent of Brooklyn Park residents are immigrants and they, together with their families, make up a significant part of our community, the Brooklyn Park Police Department proactively developed an internal policy to govern employees’ actions related to immigration in March of 2016. We value diversity and want to make sure all our police officers operate from the same policy. This policy was developed with input from community members. It can be found on the city’s website.

Here are a couple of common questions I’ve received relative to this policy and the executive orders:

Is Brooklyn Park a sanctuary city?

The Brooklyn Park City Council has not declared the City as a sanctuary city.  The City has, however, adopted policies over the years that are sensitive to how we interact with our diverse population.

Have the recent executive orders affected how Brooklyn Park Police officers police our community?

No. Brooklyn Park’s Police policy on immigration was created prior to these executive orders. There is nothing in the executive orders that affects the current police policy.

Does the Brooklyn Park Police Department ask someone’s immigration status?

The City of Brooklyn Park has NO authority to enforce federal laws, nor do we have the authority to change or influence them.  Police Chief Craig Enevoldsen has repeatedly stressed, “we’re not in the business of looking for undocumented immigrants or asking immigration status.”

However, in certain cases where there is reasonable evidence to believe that a person may pose a danger to the community, and has questionable identification such as multiple passports, this may be a violation of federal criminal law. In such circumstances police may call federal authorities. If, however, someone who does not have documentation regarding immigration status is stopped for something like a routine traffic violation, nothing would be reported to immigration authorities.

Finally, I completely understand that many of our city’s immigrants are experiencing fear and anxiety.  Unfortunately, as a municipal government we are left with many of the same questions that you might have. If you have questions or concerns, contact your federal government representatives and other elected officials through the neighborhood info app:https://gis.brooklynpark.org/neighborhoodinfo/

We are always open to your ideas on things we can do together as a community and that are within the council’s authority. If you are in need of immigration assistance, it is best to contact an experienced immigration attorney as each situation is different. The Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota provides no-cost immigration legal assistance to low-income immigrants and refugees. 1-800-223-1368, www.ilcm.org

I hope this helps answer your questions. If you have any further questions, please contact myself or your City Council representative.

Sincerely,

Mayor Jeff Lunde 

 

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