Dakota County recently signed an agreement with the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement, also known as ICE, to enforce immigration laws locally.
The 287(g) Program seeks to deputize and train jailers, so they can question and detain people arrested for other crimes. It’ll help identify non-American born citizens that come through their jail.
Sheriff Chris Kleinberg explains that the searching won’t go any further than within their jail walls.
“287(g) in this particular program just involves the jail, so it doesn’t involve any patrolling or contact with people outside of the jail. This program only works in the jail so it has nothing to do with patrol,” Sheriff Kleinberg said.
Many people in the community have expressed concerns about this program, such as cost.
Unity in Action Director Ismael Valavez said, “Now that this has been implemented, our concern still is the cost that will be for this county, Dakota County specifically. It is costly.”
But Sheriff Kleinberg clears up that misconception.
“It’s going to be seamless; no costs to the county,” said Kleinberg. “That was one of the contingencies. I could not enter this agreement if it cost me any money. No cost for the training; no cost for the equipment.”
Kleinberg says despite further misconceptions, he has nothing to do with deporting — the courts handle that. He’s just trying to protect citizens under the oath he took.
“It doesn’t grant me any more authority than what an immigration officer has,” said Kleinberg. “We have one in this area, and she’s very busy.”
Valavez expalined how he thinks the community can move forward together with this decision, saying that communication is key.
“One thing I think would be great is for the Sheriff’s Department to maybe host a meeting for the community to get informed on what this is,” Valavez said.