City, RPD release joint statement on impending mass deportations
The City of Rochester and its police department are reminding members of the community that city employees, including law enforcement officers, will not be coordinating with federal authorities on deportation raids.
According to the New York Times: “Nationwide raids to arrest thousands of members of undocumented families have been scheduled to begin Sunday.”
The raids, according to the paper, will include “collateral” deportations, meaning authorities could detain immigrants who happened to be on the scene, even though they were not initial targets of the roundup.
Media reports say agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement will target at least 2,000 immigrants whose deportations have already been ordered. It is unclear whether agents will be conducting raids locally.
Here is the full statement from the City/RPD:
The City of Rochester and the Rochester Police Department pride ourselves on being part of and a champion of a compassionate community. The Rochester Police Department does not collect or maintain information related to the immigration status of residents and visitors. Also, we do not employ or assign officers to the enforcement of federal immigration laws.
Recent discussions at the federal level of implementing immigration sweeps would not involve the City of Rochester or its employees, including that of the Rochester Police Department. Please understand that in adhering to the community values of our police department, our officers respond to every call for service because it is a call from someone in our community. The officer’s response and decision making is based solely on the facts and circumstance of the incident, those involved, and its impact on our community.
As a City and Police Department, we believe in open and transparent community. We value our entire community and the role we play as a community partner. Thank you for allowing us to serve you.
If you should have questions or are seeking resources, we encourage you to contact:
Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota – HELPLINE 651.287.3715 - https://www.ilcm.org/
Intercultural Mutual Assistance Association (IMAA) - 507.289.5960 - http://imaa.net/
Diversity Council – 507.282.9951 - https://www.diversitycouncil.org/
This statement solely reflects that of the City of Rochester and the Rochester Police Department.
As we have previously reported, citing the former police chief: “By policy, officers of the Rochester Police Department do not ask about immigration status, ask for any documentation relating to immigration status, or predicate any enforcement action on immigration status as we have no jurisdiction or authority to enforce immigration laws.”
However, while the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office — which runs the local detention center — does not honor so-called ‘holds’ from ICE, it does notify federal authorities when an inmate is wanted due to their undocumented status. As contributor Eric Anderson wrote, “The result of this is a direct transference from local law enforcement to ICE.”
On Thursday, the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office said it “not aware of any specific enforcement activity by the Federal government in our communities nor have we been informed of any immigration enforcement operation anywhere in Olmsted County.” It is worth noting that federal authorities typically do not inform local governments prior to raids.
The sheriff’s office, like RPD, also reiterated its position that its officers “do not engage in Federal immigration violation enforcement. We do enforce laws that support public safety in our communities.”
Sean Baker is a Rochester journalist and the founder of Med City Beat.