Minnesota Could Have First “Sanctuary Suburb” By End of Summer

The city’s decision could lead to the debate of what is a sanctuary city and will they lose money?

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

ROSEVILLE, Minn. — After community engagement earlier in May, the City of Roseville will be taking up the question of whether to become a sanctuary entity sometime this summer.

According to local newspaper, The Roseville-Little Canada Review, Roseville Mayor Dan Roe said the city would look at adopting a separation ordinance this summer.

During a two-day event held in Roseville, where community members questioned city leaders, many began to ask questions about illegal immigration and the roles of the city and police in enforcing the issue.

The Roseville-Little Canada Review notes that Roseville Police Chief Rick Mathwig told community members that police officers do not ask citizens about their immigration status. Mathwig further went on to say that he did not want members of the community to feel unsure of talking to the police in fear of immigration questions that might lead to deportation.

The Star Tribune reports that Roe has cautioned members of the community that the discussion of the topic could lead to heated conversations within City Hall meetings.

In Minneapolis and St. Paul, the respective mayors have adopted separation ordinances within their city charters and argue that the ordinance is not the same as a sanctuary city.

The Pioneer Press reports separation ordinances restrict employees of the city, which include police officers, from questioning an individual about their immigration status before helping them.

Sanctuary cities are defined as, “A range of informal policies as well as actual laws that qualify as “sanctuary” positions. Most of the policies center around not cooperating with federal law enforcement on immigration policies. Many of the largest cities in the country have forms of such policies,” according to CNN.

President Donald Trump has vowed to cut the flow of federal funds to cities that adopt sanctuary policies. Alpha News reported on Attorney General Jeff Sessions blocking Department of Justice Grants to sanctuary cities.

Roseville’s City Manager Pat Turgeon says any formal decision to change city ordinance will have little effect on city’s finances. The Roseville-Little Canada Review reports Roseville receives little in federal grants, with most of its money coming from Ramsey County and the state of Minnesota.

Whatever the outcome may be, Roe believes Roseville policies will be maintained, telling the Star Tribune, “We do already have an unwritten policy. Even if the council didn’t take it up, in essence that would stay in place.”

Preya Samsundar

Preya Samsundar was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN. She graduated from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities this Spring with a B.A. in Political Science and Sociology, with a minor in Strategic Communications. Preya has previously worked on several State Campaign Races.