On June 1, local faith communities and justice groups gathered outside the Government Center to support community families, and to request clearer language from Olmsted County law enforcement on their immigration policies. Joining many others rallying around the country that day, we called attention to the inhumanity of our nation toward immigrants, especially in light of the horrifying news of the mistreatment of families and children at our borders. This is a moral issue, not a political one.

Law enforcement agencies nationwide use various legal means for relating with ICE. We trust our local authorities to carry out their work honorably and equitably. Because the safety and well-being of all Olmsted County residents is paramount, we ask for reassurance that our sheriff’s department is choosing the most humane options.

Specifically, we seek commitments that law enforcement is not providing ICE with information about people detained locally; that all those held are informed in writing, in their own language, of their right not to reveal their country of origin; and that ICE interrogation of detainees is not facilitated.

Above all, we ask that ICE not be informed when people are released from detention.

The requests were presented to the sheriff on June 1 in a letter signed by the Unitarian Universalist Church, Rochester Friends, CURE, Rochester for Justice, and the Sierra Club. No response on these specific issues has been forthcoming.

We applaud the Rochester Police Department, which has committed to meet and discuss immigrants’ concerns at a public meeting on June 19, 6-8 p.m., at Longfellow School. We encourage attendance by all county residents.

Writing on behalf of the above-listed groups,

Jan Wiersma, Rochester

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