Safety and Security (Commentary)

MNGOP Chair Keith Downey speaks to Trump supporters at Minnesota Capitol on Saturday (Preya Samsundar/Alpha News MN)

This week alone we’ve seen headlines about the revoked citizenship of four diversity visa immigrants in Minnesota, ongoing violence in our urban core, the release of a convicted ISIS recruit in the twin cities, and community strife over refugee resettlement in St. Cloud.

As Governor, my first responsibility is the safety and security of every Minnesotan. I will address these critical issues head-on to change Minnesota’s course, and I have released a Safety and Security plan to protect our state.  

First, we must end sanctuary cities.  

Minnesota can no longer be a magnet for illegal immigration. I will propose legislation to ban sanctuary cities.  But a similar law which passed in Texas is currently being challenged in court, and if a city is blatantly violating federal law they might just as likely violate a state law too.  

So our immediate focus must also be to de-fund sanctuary cities.  Local government aid can be cut off.  Other funding areas can be reduced as well, including schools, housing, and other social services.  State taxpayers should not be asked to pay the bill for the costs caused by a city illegally harboring illegal immigrants.

Other aspects encouraging illegal immigration must also be stopped.  As Governor, I will propose one year of Minnesota residency and work before accessing social services, and also e-verify for both government and private sector hiring.

Second, we need a pause in Minnesota’s refugee resettlement.  

Minnesota’s heart for charity and long history of welcoming persecuted people has now become a situation where people question whether we are being taken advantage of.  Refugee resettlement is a federal program, but Minnesotans must have confidence in the vetting process and also have a voice in setting the number of people that Minnesota can control, afford, and assimilate.

During the pause, we will determine the number of refugees arriving in Minnesota, both primary and secondary arrivals.  We will validate the federal vetting process in each country from which we receive refugees.  And we will obtain refugee employment and social services enrollment and cost information.  

With accurate information, I will lead a statewide discussion to determine a future refugee volume for Minnesota, including the ethnic and religious balance and employment and assimilation expectations. Then I will advocate with federal agencies and the Trump administration to ensure Minnesota’s needs and goals are met.

Finally, we will support our police and criminal prosecution.  

We will prioritize funding for public safety agencies, local law enforcement, the courts, and corrections.  We will prioritize funding for, and work aggressively with, local law enforcement and federal security agencies to prevent terrorism, recruitment, and radicalization in our communities.

A strong base of law and order is imperative for the good of our people, including and especially our minority and immigrant communities.  Law abiding Minnesotans, not criminals, will know that they have a strong supporter in the Governor’s office when I am elected.

The commitments above are neither easy nor inexpensive, but for Minnesota to grow and prosper, we must first be safe and secure.  You can trust that when I am your Governor, your safety and security will receive my highest priority attention and effort.

Keith Downey