Minneapolis Mayor Virtue-Signals about Alien Rights and Stirs Up the Police Union

By Dan Cadman on October 16, 2018

Jacob Frey, the mayor of Minneapolis, has gotten himself into a vigorous public dispute with the city's police force. It happened after the mayor issued an order that all police cruisers post a "Know-Your-ICE-Rights" placard (in English and Spanish) prominently in the cage where they can be seen by arrestees placed into the vehicles.

Frey is quoted as saying:

All MPD squad cars will now be outfitted with placards that explain your rights as they pertain to ICE and immigration status. We will not let a lack of compassion at the highest levels of government for our immigrant communities go unanswered in Minneapolis.

City Attorney Susan Segal chimed in, saying "If people don't trust that they can come forward and report information to police, that's a problem. It's an American principle to know your rights and be apprised of your rights."

The president of the police union, Lt. Bob Kroll, promptly responded, saying, "It's simply insane. Thankfully we are less than four weeks from elections and we can possibly begin to restore the safety of our citizens with help at the state level."

I'm glad that Kroll has spoken out on behalf of the police, and I'm glad that, for once, police officers in a major metropolitan force have publicly called out their political leaders on such absurdist rhetoric and policies. Too often they sit on the sidelines.

Frey speaks of "compassion" for immigrant communities, but exactly who from immigrant communities is being put into the cages of police vehicles? Certainly not victims and witnesses. No, it's aliens who have been taken into custody for commission of crimes, and statistically it's a good bet that the victims of, and witnesses to, the crime(s) were other members of the immigrant community. So why would the good mayor, or the city attorney for that matter, think that it serves them well to be sure that these alien criminals are treated with kid gloves and, quite likely, ultimately sent back to prey once again on those same immigrant communities? Isn't that where the trust of those communities is most likely to be quickly eroded?

There's also an ironic twist to Frey's insistence on English and Spanish in the placards. Why not Somali or Amharic? Two of the other dominant immigrant communities in the metropolitan Minneapolis-St. Paul area consist of Somalis and Ethiopians. Or does the mayor think that only Spanish-speaking immigrants are arrested in Minneapolis?

As to the city attorney: Why isn't she grandstanding to be sure that Miranda rights (which, by longstanding Supreme Court decision, police all over the United States are obliged to provide to arrestees) are posted in those squad cars? Isn't that too an American principle? Or do some "principles", such as those relating to alien criminals, somehow weigh more heavily with the mayor, city council, and city officials than those that relate to American citizens and law-abiding resident aliens?

By the way, just as police routinely provide arrestees with an advice of rights, so do federal immigration officers. And although of course those forms are provided in English and Spanish, there are also versions in French and Creole and Chinese and Japanese and ... well, you get the idea. This just shows you how little the mayor actually knows — or perhaps, in truth, even cares — about how immigration law enforcement is conducted. It's all about virtue signaling, not reality.