Brooklyn Park police chief Craig Enevoldsen addressed the police department’s immigration violation enforcement
policy at a Feb. 23 community engagement event.
Police department policy 413 states that the department will not detain an individual solely for immigration violations without a warrant or specific authority from a federal agent.
The policy was attached to an open letter from Mayor Jeff Lunde to the community, which addressed the city’s stance on immigration. Some Brooklyn Park residents expressed concern after reading the policy, which prompted the community engagement session.
The policy was published and made available to officers in March 2016, Enevoldsen said. “The reason we crafted the policy was…the demographics of our city,” he said.
“It is not the practice of the Brooklyn Park police department to stop people, to search people, to detain people, solely to determine what their immigration status is in the United States,” he said. “We do not do it for two very specific reasons: number one, it’s not our job…it can only be enforced by federal agents, which we are not, all we can do is facilitate the connection between an immigrant and a federal authority,” he said.
“The second reason we don’t enforce it to be perfectly honest with you is I don’t care, we don’t care, and the reason that we don’t care is I don’t want certain members of our community to feel unsafe, I don’t want them to not call 911 because they’re afraid of police,” he added.
Some of the wording in the policy that caused alarm in the community was deliberately worded to comply with federal code, Enevoldsen said. For instance, the policy states “Generally, an alien who initially made a legal entry into the United States but has remained beyond what is a legal period of time has committed a federal civil offense.” The use of the word “alien” was to comply with federal code, Enevoldsen said.
Likewise, the policy allows for information sharing between Brooklyn Park officers and federal authorities. This is due to a federal law called 8 U.S. Code 1373, which does not allow a police policy to prohibit information sharing with federal authorities. However, this law does not compel local law enforcement to cooperate with federal authorities on an investigation or raid. Enevoldsen said the inclusion of this wording in the policy is required to keep the policy in line with federal law.
The department would communicate with federal authorities if they believed that immigration status was some connected to a federal crime they were investigating, such as human trafficking across multiple jurisdictions, he said.
Enevoldsen said he would not be willing to change the wording in the document to violate federal law.
The department will not detain immigrants for breaking federal civil law, Enevoldsen said.
Immigrants will not be detained for immigration offenses in the Brooklyn Park detention facility at the request of federal agents unless they have a federal warrant or a federal court order, he said. It is unconstitutional to hold anyone for more than 36 hours without charges, he said.
As Enevoldsen fielded larger picture questions and comments regarding race relations the conversation between more tense. Members of the community argued some amongst themselves.
Enevoldsen said when drafting the policy, the Joint Community Policing Partnership’s Multicultural Advisory Committee provided input.
A resident said that the committee is not a sufficient mechanism for providing community input.
“I think it’s extremely offensive…to attack MAC,” Enevoldsen said.
Contact Kevin Miller at [email protected]