Protect Our Immigrant Communities

A true sanctuary city must offer more than protection from detention and deportation. We must create a city where all Minneapolis residents have access to affordable housing, quality jobs, education, healthcare, and safe and healthy communities. Threats of detention and deportation directed at immigrant and refugee populations are by no means new. Minneapolis must continue to stand firm with our immigrant and refugee communities.

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In 2003, Minneapolis passed a separation ordinance preventing Minneapolis law enforcement from cooperating and sharing information with Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) and other federal immigration authorities. However, this does not make Minneapolis a sanctuary city. In our current system, when people are arrested in Minneapolis, they are taken to the Hennepin County Jail, where they are still at risk of detention and deportation. Sheriff Stanek and the Hennepin County Sheriff's actively collaborate and share information with ICE.

Vision and Priorities

  1. Shield our immigrant community from detention and deportation
    • Work with Hennepin County to adopt a Sanctuary County ordinance
    • Pursue alternatives to processing detained individuals at Hennepin County Jail
    • Connect residents to legal services to prevent deportations and obtain legal status
  2. End the surveillance and targeting of our city’s Muslim community
    • Issue a condemnation of Countering Violent Extremism (CVE)
    • Refuse CVE funding and work with the county government to also refuse CVE funds
    • Coordinate with Minneapolis Public Schools to protect Muslim youth from surveillance and manipulation
  3. Create a true sanctuary city beyond protection from detention and deportation
    • Allow non-citizens the ability to participate in municipal elections
    • Meet the unique needs of immigrant- and refugee-owned businesses
    • Ensure immigrants, regardless of status, have access to education, housing, healthcare, and other essential social services


  1. Direct MPD to issue more summons rather than making arrests: We must protect the city’s immigrant community by issuing a court summons instead of making an arrest on the spot and processing detained individuals through Hennepin County.
  2. Create a program to issue municipal IDs for all Minneapolis residents: Without valid identification, undocumented residents are more likely to be arrested. Further, IDs provide individuals with access to essential services such as banking and healthcare. Inability to produce identification facilitates negative interactions with police officers. We need participation beyond our undocumented communities—municipal IDs could potentially be used as library cards, transit passes, and provide discounted access to the city’s arts and cultural institutions.
  3. Fight at the state level for driver’s licenses for all Minnesotans: While a municipal ID program is a step to empower our immigrant community, we need to fight for more. In every session as a state legislator, I fought to give driver’s licenses to all Minnesotans. As mayor, this will be one of my top priorities in the city’s partnership with the state.
  4. Connect detained immigrants to legal services: There is no right to representation in immigration court. The city must fund consistent legal representation for immigrants detained by ICE. Representation will provide undocumented immigrants access to their full rights, and the ability to fight deportation.
  5. Decriminalize low-level offenses to minimize exposure to ICE: We should move to allow people to plead to low-level traffic offenses online to avoid a courthouse altogether, and decriminalize low-level ‘livability’ crimes to keep immigrants without legal status out of the criminal justice system. Ready my full plan for accountable policing here.
  6. Assist immigrants and refugees in applying for citizenship and residency: Our immigration system is inaccessible and complicated. Minneapolis should partner with coalitions, nonprofits, and legal centers doing immigrant-rights work on the ground, to assist immigrants in navigating the legal system.
  7. Allow non-citizens the right to vote in municipal elections: Our immigrant populations are major stakeholders of municipal governance. These communities deserve the right to influence leaders and the daily decisions that affect them. This will require a constitutional amendment, which would be a statewide ballot measure to be voted on in a general election.
  8. Expand healthcare access for undocumented residents: Minneapolis must lead in the fight for healthcare reform by partnering with Hennepin County. Together, we have the resources to build a healthcare system that serves all residents of our city and county—not just through emergency room visits, but with preventative, patient-centric care.
  9. Fund staff positions with the Small Business Navigator office to conduct intentional outreach to immigrant-owned businesses: The city’s Small Business Navigator office needs to increase their outreach. By engaging communities, prospective minority and immigrant-owned business owners will be able to secure funding to implement their business plans. The Navigator office can provide business owners with support in starting and running their enterprises, but the city needs to fund it.
  10. Pass a just-cause eviction ordinance: Immigrants and people of color are especially at-risk for predatory landlords and developers. Our neighbors, have seen rents increase by hundreds of dollars after having their property purchased by a new landlord. We must pass a just-cause eviction ordinance to protect tenants from unfair rent increases and arbitrary evictions. Read my full plan for affordable housing here.
  11. End participation with Countering Violent Extremism and the Strong Cities Network: Minneapolis is a member of the Strong Cities Network, which according to the ACLU, is an “international platform for city governments around the world to share CVE-related information and practices.” As Mayor, I will work to end Minneapolis’ participation in the Strong Cities Network.
  12. Pass a resolution condemning FBI surveillance and targeting of our Muslim community: Countering Violent Extremism is a program of the Department of Justice, rooted in the same FBI programs which have monitored and harassed communities of color for decades. As a city, we must oppose any efforts to target the city’s Muslim and East African community, regardless of who is President.

Thank you to the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee (MIRAC) and their partners for their work on assembling the Sanctuary Now! Platform. I am proud to endorse their platform, and am grateful for their work and leadership.

Further Reading

“ACLU v DHS Briefing Paper.” American Civil Liberties Union.

Dayen, David. “Can California Achieve Universal Health Care in the Age of Trump?”. The Nation, 15 March 2017.

Kaahiye, Kaaha. “These Teens Are Making Their Voices Heard Against the Countering Violent Extremism Program.” Teen Vogue, 7 September 2017.

Kinney, Jen. “Cities Navigate Municipal IDs in the Era of Trump.” The Next City, 13 March 2017.

“Sanctuary Now! Platform”. Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee.