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Letter: Worthington is not a sanctuary city

On behalf of the city of Worthington, I would like to discuss the issue of "Sanctuary Cities." There has been some discussion mostly the last six months about denying state and federal funding to sanctuary cities. We would like to set the record ...

On behalf of the city of Worthington, I would like to discuss the issue of “Sanctuary Cities.” There has been some discussion mostly the last six months about denying state and federal funding to sanctuary cities. We would like to set the record straight about our city. This is intended to be a follow-up to the discussion last week between City Administrator Steve Robinson, Sen. Bill Weber and one of his colleagues in the Minnesota Senate.

Worthington is not, nor ever has been, a sanctuary city. This designation was put on our community by some rogue website maybe as far back as 2006 (about the time of the ICE raid at Swift). This designation has no basis in fact but is someone’s imagination. Mayor Oberloh spent enormous amounts of time fighting this allegation over the years. It is nearly impossible to fight someone that you cannot get your hands on. It is unfair to lump our community in with the likes of San Francisco when our law enforcement and city administration work very hard to comply with the laws of our state and federal government.

Steve Robinson had conversations with different media outlets (Esme Murphy of WCCO, Jo Erickson of MNPR and Joe Augustine of KSTP) back in late 2016. For some reason they do not seem to get it and continue to refer to our community as a “sanctuary city.” When this was pointed out to Esme Murphy, her response (as I paraphrase) is that since Worthington is listed on a web site and there is no true definition of a sanctuary city, this gives WCCO journalistic liberty to continue to refer to Worthington as a sanctuary city.

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Here are facts about the City of Worthington in regards to immigration.

  • The city has never passed a resolution or ordinance designating our community as a sanctuary city.

  • Our city follows all state and federal laws in regard to immigration.

  • Our law enforcement will turn over to the proper authorities any person that has an outstanding warrant, to any jurisdiction federal or otherwise. In fact, I have been told that the officers of the Buffalo Ridge Task Force are on a first-name basis with ICE. There is that much communication.

  • In regard to racial profiling we follow State Statute 626.8471 and Worthington Police Department Policy 100-09 - Impartial Policing

We are hopeful that in the state’s and federal eyes, we are not denied any funding or cooperation based on the outright lies about our community out on the web. Thank you for your help on this matter.

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