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The Deets: Meet the white Minnesotans behind Arizona-like legislation

A handful of state legislators are backing a me-too bill that would make Minnesota more like Arizona — in a bad way.

I thought it would be interesting to see what type of people in the State of Minnesota are interested in discriminating against immigrants enough to want to legalize the effort. Not surprisingly, they’re all white:

Also, I thought it would be fun to look at what parts of the state they represent. Perhaps these Representatives come from areas of the state where immigration problems are particularly rampant, giving them a first-hand perspective on this that’s different from what I experience living along East Lake Street in Minneapolis. Here is a screenshot of where they’re from:

That’s interesting. Illegal immigration is not limited to inner cities, but it seems likely that – like many things – it’s more concentrated in inner cities than rural communities. So why are only white folks from rural communities co-authoring this bill?

The inner-city perspective on this issue seems to be quite different. For example, both St Paul and Minneapolis’ Mayors have banned or limited government travel to Arizona in response to their legislation. Also, the police chiefs of both cities have opposed it, and issued the following statement (emphasis mine within the statement below):

May 7, 2010

Minneapolis and Saint Paul Police Chiefs respond to proposed Minnesota legislation for Arizona-style immigration law

As the police chiefs for Minnesota’s two largest cities, we oppose HF3830, the Arizona-style legislation recently introduced in the Minnesota House of Representatives that pushes local law enforcement officers to the front line on matters of immigration.

Community policing is a core value and clear priority in the cities we serve. It is through partnership with people and communities that our cities are made safer, because partnership builds trust and communication. Our officers have worked hard to build relationships of trust with our residents, especially new Americans, and these partnerships have helped us bring down crime in both Minneapolis and Saint Paul over the past several years.

We believe that mobilizing local police to serve as primary enforcers of federal immigration laws will throw up barriers of mistrust and cause a chilling effect in immigrant communities, impairing our ability to build partnerships and engage in problem-solving that improves the safety of all members of the community. The culture of fear that this bill will instill in immigrant communities will keep victims of crime and people with information about crime from coming forward, and that will endanger all residents.

It is a mistake for our state to try to fix our nation’s immigration system. We urge Minnesota lawmakers and the people of our state to join with us in denouncing HF3830. We believe this bill runs contrary to the values of community policing and problem-solving that the people we serve have rightly demanded and will make our communities less safe.

Tim Dolan
Chief of Police
City of Minneapolis

John M. Harrington
Chief of Police
City of Saint Paul

Thomas Smith
Chief of Police Designee
City of Saint Paul

The chilling effect on police cooperation does seem like a dangerous downside to this bill (I fail to understand the upside at this point beyond building support among a certain segment of voting white folks).

Imagine what would happen if one your children was driving somewhere in rural Minnesota (Mazeppa, perhaps?) on a cold and dark winter night. Suddenly, they’re run off the road by a swerving drunk driver along a 2-lane highway, who drives off while your child sits, trapped and badly injured, in a snowy ditch in a car that’s getting colder by the minute.

It turns out that a non-white individual driving behind your child witnessed the whole thing, and stops to make sure that your child is okay. The non-white individual determines that your child is badly injured, and now faces a decision:

What do they do? Do they act as Good Samaritans by placing a 911 call that may help save your child’s life? Or do they choose to not get involved, because, as much as they care for their fellow man, they choose to put their own family first?

Do they place a call to the police to describe the car that ran your child off the road in order to help get this person off the road and to serve justice? Or do they decide to keep to themselves so they can continue to live peacefully in America?

This is likely not an easy decision for a witness of questionable legal immigration status to make. I know that I wouldn’t want to be the legislator who put the witness in the position of having to make a choice like that.

This post was originally published by Ed Kohler on The Deets.


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Comments (4)

You've hit the nail right on the head, Ed.

Good work.

"Meet the white minnesotans", or "A leftists non-racist investigation of caucasians."

Sometimes, this stuff just writes itself.

Don't kid yourself, Ed. The people who would sponsor a bill like this are the type of people who would drive past and around an accident scene such as you described without even thinking twice about stopping to help or reporting anything to the police. They simply wouldn't want to be inconvenienced.

If their failure to offer assistance or take action cost another person their life, then, in their minds, that would be the other person's fault for being so _________________ (you fill in the blank with any of the usual number of conservative stock excuses for not caring about anyone else).

Not only that, but they're the types that would like to wipe out the ability of folks to sue for damages they've suffered as the result of another individual or corporation's action or inaction (although, of course, when they've suffered damages themselves, they're always the FIRST to sue anyone and everyone else).

What could I say? They simply wouldn't want to be inconvenienced.