Yesterday, Republican Representative Steve Drazkowski introduced HF 3830, a bill that mirrors Arizona's recently signed law, SB 1070, that criminalizes undocumented immigrants in the state and empowers law enforcement officers to inquire about the immigration status of people while enforcing other local and state laws. A synopsis of the bill, from the Minnesota clerk's office:
H. F. 3830, A bill for an act relating to public safety; illegal immigration; requiring law enforcement to enforce federal immigration laws; establishing eligibility criteria for federal and state public benefits; requiring possession of alien identification cards; prohibiting the transporting and smuggling of illegal immigrants; prohibiting illegal immigrants from working or soliciting work in the state; prohibiting the employment of illegal aliens; creating the Minnesota Illegal Immigration Enforcement Team; requiring the attorney general to represent the state against any challenges to this act; amending Minnesota Statutes 2009 Supplement, section 629.34, subdivision 1; proposing coding for new law as Minnesota Statutes, chapter 299P. The bill was read for the first time and referred to the Committee on Public Safety Policy and Oversight.
The bill was co-signed by five other members of the House. This, despite the fact that other parts of Minnesota turned out big on May Day in strong support of immigrants rights. The mayor of St. Paul, Chris Coleman, even announced a travel ban for city employees to Arizona, and spoke passionately about the dangerous effects of SB 1070. Coleman said in a statement:
It would be immoral to not stand up in the face of a piece of legislation that is rooted in hate and fear. We are a country of immigrants - and SB 1070 is an affront to our constitution and the values we hold dear as Americans. It's not worthy of who we are as a people - and it's certainly not worthy of the investment of any city dollars being spent in Arizona.
Copycat bills are all the rage these days. Yesterday, ColorLines reported about South Carolina's introduction of its own version of SB 1070 in their legislature. South Carolina was the first state to formally introduce a bill, beating Minnesota to the punch. Read Seth Wessler's piece on ColorLines.com about the movement that ultra-conservative group FAIR is behind to get more copycat bills introduced.