Minneapolis passes ordinance restricting immigration enforcement

By an overwhelming vote, the Minneapolis City Council approved an ordinance restricting enforcement of immigration laws by police and other city employees. Proponents, including organized labor, said the measure was needed to stop immigrants from being unfairly targeted and to make communities safer by reducing fear of the police and other authorities.

The ordinance, authored by Council Member Gary Schiff, passed on an 11-1 vote Friday, with Council Member Barret Lane voting against it and Council Member Barbara Johnson abstaining.

The measure generally bars city employees from inquiring about a person’s immigration status unless required to do so by eligibility requirements of a local, state or federal program. It also bars police in general from trying to detect or verify immigration status, or to arrest people for civil immigration violations unless enforcing laws that outlaw certain activities by immigrants.

?The ordinance makes clear that city employees will not act as intelligence agents or enforcement arms for the national administration’s anti-immigrant policies,? said Frank Vardeman, executive director of the Resource Center of the Americas, one of the organizations backing the measure.

About 100 supporters attended the council meeting.

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