Sanctuary state proposal faces opposition from county board, DFL senator

Democrat Grant Hauschild came out against the bill Saturday.

County commissioners in McLeod County approved a resolution Saturday which denounced and opposed the pending "North Star Act." (Glenn Gruenhagen/Facebook)

County commissioners in McLeod County approved a resolution Saturday which denounced and opposed the pending “North Star Act.” In a unanimous vote, the five commissioners sent a clear signal to legislators in St. Paul that they do not support the state’s proposed protections for illegal immigrants.

The so-called “North Star Act” is a piece of state legislation that is being considered by Minnesota’s legislature. Supported by left-wing Democrats in both the Minnesota House and Minnesota Senate, the proposed law would turn Minnesota into a “sanctuary state” for illegal immigrants.

More specifically, the North Star Act would ban local law enforcement from assisting federal agencies in enforcing immigration law.

The McLeod County board normally meets on the first and third Tuesday of every month. However, the county board specifically called a special Saturday meeting in order to approve the resolution before Minnesota’s legislative session begins on Monday.

Paul Wright, a commissioner for McLeod County, said the county board moved to expeditiously approve the resolution so it can be more speedily delivered to the Minnesota Legislature. Commissioner Wright stated that the voice of McLeod County “needs to be heard” on this subject as soon as possible.

Moreover, Wright believes approving the resolution gives other counties the opportunity to follow McLeod County’s lead and oppose the North Star Act.

Brought by Commissioner Doug Krueger, the resolution reads in part, “McLeod County citizens should not be negatively impacted from results caused by illegal immigration and the North STAR Act on the budgeting of taxpayer dollars and public resources.”

In closing, the resolution urges the McLeod County legislative delegation and Gov. Tim Walz to reject the sanctuary state law, listen to local government input on the matter, and “require support and adherence to applicable federal immigration law.”

Rep. Dawn Gillman, R-Dassel, represents McLeod County in the Minnesota House of Representatives. In speaking to Alpha News, Rep. Gillman voiced her full support for the resolution. Furthermore, Rep. Gillman thanked the commissioners of McLeod County for “bringing forth this important resolution.”

McLeod County’s legislative delegation includes Rep. Gillman, Rep. Bobbie Harder, and Sen. Glenn Gruenhagen. All three state legislators are Republicans.

Gruenhagen was in attendance at Saturday morning’s meeting and thanked the board for “unanimously passing this resolution.”

“I would also like to [say] thank you to the many citizens who showed up to show their support for this resolution. This meeting took place on very short notice and there was standing room only,” he said.

The North Star Act was first introduced last year but has since been updated with several changes, which were not publicly available until Friday. However, the thrust of the bill remains the same.

“The legislature recognizes that the enforcement of federal civil immigration laws
are the exclusive purview of the federal government and that the state should not play a role in the enforcement of the federal policies, including but not limited to the use of state,
county, and local resources in the detention of people not held for criminal or state purposes,” the bill states.

The legislation also limits the ability of government units like school districts and state agencies to participate in immigration enforcement efforts.

Authored by Rep. Sandra Feist, D-New Brighton, and Sen. Omar Fateh, D-Minneapolis, the North Star Act is supported by dozens of Democratic legislators in the Minnesota Legislature. Last week, Rep. Feist and Sen. Fateh held a press conference to promote the bill and advocated for its passage.

“We spent the entire interim working really closely with legal experts, law enforcement stakeholders, state agencies, with communities that will be impacted to ensure the bill we draft (this session) is very technically sophisticated and will achieve its goals and not have unintended consequences,” Feist said.

In the closely divided Minnesota Senate (34 Democrats, 33 Republicans), the legislation would require the support of all 34 Democratic senators to become law. However, Sen. Grant Hauschild, an Iron Range Democrat who defeated his GOP opponent in 2022 by just over a point, indicated Saturday that he will not support the bill.

“While every legislator has a right to introduce legislation, you need 34 votes in the senate to pass anything,” Hauschild wrote on Twitter. “I will not be supporting this legislation and it is very unlikely to become law.”


Luke Sprinkel

Luke Sprinkel previously worked as a Legislative Assistant at the Minnesota House of Representatives. He grew up as a Missionary Kid (MK) living in England, Thailand, Tanzania, and the Middle East. Luke graduated from Regent University in 2018.