Signs in Minneapolis police cars will alert immigrants of their right to remain silent

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Minneapolis police cars will soon be equipped with printed messages meant to advise certain immigrants of their rights.

The language in the placards was developed by the city attorney's office. They will be printed in English and Spanish. The signs tell readers that they're not required to answer questions about where they were born, their immigration status or citizenship.

Minneapolis City Attorney Susan Segal said the message also cautions the reader not to provide any false information and to be advised that anything they say can be provided to immigration officials.

"It's enshrined in our Constitution," said Segal about the signs. "It's an American principle to know your rights and be advised of your rights."

The city of Minneapolis has a so-called "separation ordinance" on its books, which Segal explained makes it clear that the city's police officers are not an extension of Immigration Customs Enforcement or ICE agents.

However, some police officers may not welcome the signs in their cars. Minneapolis police union president Lt. Bob Kroll said in a press release that the signs were "typical of the lunatic left." And he said city leaders have their priorities wrong.

"With 200 shooting victims in the city year to date, the political response is to be sure and advise people who are here illegally of their rights, while in the back of a squad car," wrote Kroll. "It's simply insane."

In August, Kroll and several other MPD officers appeared in uniform in a primary campaign ad for Republican former governor Tim Pawlenty. In the ad, Pawlenty pledged to enforce immigration laws.

Pawlenty lost the primary to Jeff Johnson who has said he stands with President Trump when it comes to immigration policy. The Trump administration has threatened to sanction cities like Minneapolis which are deemed to be "non-cooperative" with federal immigration authorities.

Frey said Kroll's objection runs counter to the city's separation policy and added that Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo also supports notifying undocumented immigrants of their rights.

David Soto, who was brought to the U.S. illegally by his parents when he was a child, said including the messages in police cars is a good way to build trust in the police among members of immigrant communities, especially those who are undocumented.

"For many others in my community, with limited access and knowledge of the U.S. system, misinformation consequently makes us vulnerable and constantly live day by day in a state of fear and uncertainty," said Soto. "Especially from the police department."