Emmer and Seifert support Arizona-style immigration crackdown in Minn.

Seifter and Emmer
Republican gubernatorial candidates Reps. Tom Emmer, left, of Delano, and Marty Seifert, of Marshall.
MPR file photos

The two leading Republican candidates for governor say they'd favor an Arizona-style immigration crackdown in Minnesota.

State Representatives Marty Seifert and Tom Emmer held up Arizona as a model Wednesday during a radio debate ahead of this week's state GOP convention.

A new Arizona law allows police to check a person's immigration status based on reasonable suspicion. Seifert says if elected governor he'd make sure that any illegal immigrant who commits a crime would be deported.

"They do need to serve their sentences if they commit a crime, but when they get released after their prison sentence of 5 or 10 years, you don't just give them their gate money and send them out on the merry way after their term is completed," Seifert said. "You have to make sure that they're deported. And the federal government is going to have to step up as well to do their job."

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Emmer called the Arizona law a "wonderful first step," and he criticized federal officials for taking issue with Arizona.

"I'm very disappointed at the federal government that seems to be now taking issue with the state of Arizona for doing what most of us expect should be done," Emmer said. "Enforce the laws, and if you don't like the laws, then change them."

Critics say the Arizona law opens the door to racial profiling.

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman said Wednesday he would ban all publicly funded travel to Arizona to take a stand against that state's new law targeting illegal immigrants.

Coleman acknowledged that the city of St. Paul doesn't travel to Arizona very often, but he said it was important for cities across the country to show their opposition to the legislation.