Second Ward, Minneapolis

This is the public policy forum of Minneapolis Second Ward (Green) City Council Member Cam Gordon and his staff. We use this space to talk about some of what Cam’s working on, explain his positions, and share a little of what life in City Hall is like. Please feel free to comment on posts, within certain ground rules. See our disclaimer, including ground rules, here:

Monday, October 02, 2017

Letter from the Hennepin County Sheriff's Cooperation with ICE

In September I received a very disturbing letter dated September 21 from the Hennepin County Sheriff, Richard W. Stanek outlining the County's close cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security and its Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) division. It appears to confirm some of our worst fears about what has been happening at the County Jail for decades now and I believe it should give us cause to reconsider, renegotiate and potentially terminate the contract we, the City of Minneapolis, has with them to serve as our jail.


September 21, 2017

City Hall, Room 331
350 South 5th Street
Minneapolis, MN 55415

Dear Mayor Hodges and Councilmembers,

A number of representatives from cities in Hennepin County have made inquiries about immigration issues and about proposed sanctuary city resolutions. I welcome the opportunity to address these issues and write to provide information about the Sheriff’s Office operations and a county law enforcement perspective on the question of sanctuary cities.

Immigration is a federal issue, and immigration violations are civil in nature, not criminal. Accordingly local law enforcement officers in Minnesota do not enforce immigration laws­ only federal law enforcement officers are empowered to enforce immigration laws. The Sheriff's Office makes no determination of a person's immigration status during resident contacts, at the time of jail booking, or while an inmate is in custody.

And because immigration violations are civil and not criminal, the Sheriff’s Office has no legal authority to detain an inmate once their criminal charges have been resolved by the Courts. This is why we cannot honor ICE detainer requests- the Courts have been very clear: to do so would violate an individual's 4th Amendment Rights. Accordingly, there is not one inmate in the Hennepin County Jail being held solely on immigration violations.

I'm sure you may have heard me say it: there is no sanctuary for criminals anywhere in Hennepin County. Here's specifically what I mean by this, especially in the context of a proposed sanctuary resolution:

Every arrestee brought to our Jail is alleged by a law enforcement officer or judge to have connnitted a criminal act, so we are required to book and maintain custody of the arrestee until they are released or transferred pursuant to an order of the Hennepin County District Court, or
some other court.

RooM 6, CouRTHousE             350  SoUTH S111 STREET             MINNEAPOLIS  MN  55415                 www.nENNEPINSHERIFF.ORG                              612-348 3740

The vast majority of the arrestees who come to our Jail prior to criminal charging have been arrested by local police departments, and not the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office. Please see
the enclosed chart which shows the 2016 arrests made by law enforcement agency and by type of arrest. The Sheriff’s Office made approximately 26% of the arrests leading to booking in 2016, and 90% of our arrests were made pursuant to a court order. The other 74% of arrests leading to booking (23,247 of31,537) came from other agencies operating in the County.

At the point of booking, Minnesota law requires that we ask each arrestee their "place of birth." Every inmate also is fingerprinted, the prints are sent to the BCA, which sends them to the FBI and then to the Department of Homeland Security and ICE. ICE's District Office in Bloomington conducts an independent review based on the information from booking, based on interviews,
and based on its own records and databases. We do not assist ICE in this process, but we do cooperate with ICE officers to the fullest extent of the law. If an arrestee voluntarily discloses that they were foreign born, or a non-U.S. citizen, HCSO makes this information available to ICE, arranges a call to ICE, and offers the arrestee the option of speaking with an immigration agent. In 2016, we arranged approximately 2700 of these phone calls, and the majority of the calls resulted in inmates voluntarily speaking with ICE agents. For most (80%), this call assisted them in resolving questions concerning their legal status.

We notify ICE when an inmate is released only when ICE previously has served a Request for Notification. In 2016, we received 267 "Requests for Notification" (for 0.85% of inmates) and ICE actually picked up 68 inmates after their release (0.2% of all inmates booked in the Hennepin County Jail). We do not decide which inmates ICE picks up, and ICE never reports back on the status or result of their immigration proceedings.

The above process is followed every time an officer in your police department makes an arrest and brings an individual to our Jail. Should your city decide to adopt a sanctuary city policy, the process at our Jail will remain unaffected, because the state and federal mandates for our Jail will continue. The only way to adopt a true sanctuary would be to instruct your police
department to either not make arrests, or to cite and release all suspects.

While I take no position with respect to a sanctuary city policy for your city, and respect your authority as a policymaking body, as the chief law enforcement officer in the county, I hope that you will consider the public safety consequences of any policy adopted in a city that would limit in any way the law enforcement officers in your police department from fulfilling their duties and abiding by their Oath of Office.

Finally, because immigration is a federal issue, please consider joining with me in calling upon our Minnesota Congressional Delegation to address the many concerns of our constituents and work toward making the policy reforms that can only be addressed at the federal level.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about these matters or any other. Thank you for your public service to the residents.


Richard W. Stanek
Hennepin County Sheriff


Post a Comment

<< Home