The White Folks Behind Discrimination Legislation in Minnesota

A handful of state legislators are backing a me-too bill that would make Minnesota more like Arziona – 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 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.

Update: Another white Republican guy signed on to this bill: Bruce Anderson (R) 19A from Buffalo Township.

One thought on “The White Folks Behind Discrimination Legislation in Minnesota”

  1. I feel this article is slanted and does nothing to help address the issues, instead of looking at the root of the problems they simply point figures and avoid them all together, acting as though its white America over reacting to nothing at all. America is facing a financial crises right now, first and foremost, unemployment rates are the highest they have been in 30 years and our national debt is at an all time high reaching in the billions. Not only are we facing an economic crises we are facing a social crises, our youth are being enticed into a world of drugs, crime and violence. Particularly gang violence. Organized crime syndicates are establishing and expanding local gangs all over the country, recruiting young kids and enticing them with illusions of family and power, sucking them into a world crime and violence. All of which are more prevalent in the inner cities, which explains why rural areas are becoming more concerned, the majority of people already living in the inner city have become accustomed to drugs, crime and violence and see it as a part of life in the big city. Sadly most of the powerful criminal organizations in the world are in Mexico, they make billions of dollars a year smuggling not only drugs and weapons but also people across the border, thats how most of the illegal aliens get through, by guides working for the many cartels just over the border. Not all Mexican immigrants are criminals, just like not everyone from the middle east is a terrorist. But the fact remains you must have strict security measures in place to protect the American people. We can not relay on the Federal Government to regulate everything, especially immigration as Arizona has come to realize, therefore the responsibility falls on local and state organizations to secure the safety of its citizens. The U.S. government provides legal ways to enter the country and gain citizenship, its not easy and it shouldn’t be, because again we are in a economic crises and the supply of jobs are short, the proceeds we get from tax payers help our country recover from its national debt and allows us to help fellow Americans in need. Americans who are unemployed, under employed or disabled. Illegals do not pay taxes. Another fact to look at is that the majority of violent crimes are gang related, whether it be drive by shootings or armed robbery, and as a Latino myself, I know that this life style is very common in the Mexican community, entire families have ties to gangs sometimes. So who are we kidding, there are very serious issues here, we can not get mad at the people who are trying to fix them, we must come together as a country and more importantly as individual families and communities to solve these issues together.

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