Daily Digest: Immigration, Senate race, July 4th

Welcome to Wednesday and a brand new Daily Digest to take you into the holiday.

1. Trump immigration policy felt in central Minnesota. The men were chopping silage on a farm field near Little Falls last fall when they noticed three vehicles, about 200 yards away, lurking and waiting. The workers, about six of them, were supposed to drive on to their next task three miles away, but they worried the minute they got on the road they'd be stopped by the immigration enforcement officers they saw sitting in the cars. "None of the guys wanted to leave the field so they waited. They called me and I thought I better get out there," said their employer, a Morrison County farmer who asked to remain anonymous for fear his property would be further targeted. "Believe me, you've gotta work up some courage to jump in your pickup and drive toward three ICE vehicles." The cars were gone by the time the farmer arrived, and none of the workers were arrested that day. But a message had been sent. Morrison County is Trump country, with the state's highest voter turnout for the president in 2016. It's also a place where local farmers rely on Hispanic labor, and the president's national push to catch unauthorized workers is starting to bite. A rise in farm worker arrests and deportations the past few months has Little Falls on edge. (MPR News)

2. Housley won't challenge Smith again for U.S. Senate seat in 2020. There will be no rematch for U.S. Senate in Minnesota next year after Republican Karin Housley announced Tuesday she won’t challenge Democratic Sen. Tina Smith again. “I want to have a family life. That campaigning is hard. Living in D.C. isn’t that appealing when my family is here in Minnesota and my husband is in Minnesota,” Housley, 55, said in an interview with MPR News. So far there have been no notable challengers to enter the race against Smith, who had $1 million in the bank as of early April. Last year, Housley was the Republican nominee against Smith, who was appointed to fill Sen. Al Franken’s seat after the Democrat resigned in early 2018 amid allegations of sexual misconduct. In the special election last November to fill the remaining two years in Franken’s term, Smith beat Housley by more than 10 percentage points. Next year’s election will determine who fills the seat for a six-year term. (MPR News)

3. McCollum rips the president's 4th of July celebration. U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, a Democrat from St. Paul, is firing a broadside at President Donald Trump for using tanks, fighter jets and other military equipment in his Fourth of July “Salute to America” event. “The Fourth of July festivities in our nation’s capital are intended to be patriotic and welcoming to all Americans,” McCollum said Tuesday in a prepared statement. “Instead, Mr. Trump is hijacking the celebration and twisting it into a taxpayer-funded, partisan political rally that’s more about promoting a Trumpian cult of personality than the spirit of American independence and freedom.” The president has expanded the regular schedule of Independence Day events in Washington to include military demonstrations, an extended fireworks display and a speech Trump plans to deliver at the Lincoln Memorial. McCollum, chair of the House appropriations subcommittee that oversees the Interior Department, which is coordinating the events, said the “most shameful” aspect of it is that “our military is being co-opted for a gratuitous display of strength by a commander in chief who relishes the attention of dictators and despots. The American people should never allow any president of the United States to behave this way.” (Pioneer Press)

4. Coleman faces surgery after cancer re-emerges. Norm Coleman announced Tuesday that he will undergo surgery later this month to remove part of his lungs after cancer re-emerged there. “One thing I have learned with the beast that is my cancer is that no single battle wins the war,” the former U.S. senator and St. Paul mayor wrote in a Facebook post that included humor amid the somber update. “With that in mind, my update to you is that the war has not yet been won but it most certainly has not been lost.” Last August, the throat and neck cancer that Coleman began battling in 2015 had spread to his lungs and was at the most advanced stage. After heavy doses of chemotherapy, Coleman said the tumor was gone. “There was no signs of cancer,” he wrote. Still, his doctors had him undergo a program of intensive radiation for five weeks in hopes of crushing the disease. “But cancer is unrelenting,” Coleman wrote, explaining that a follow-up PET scan showed a spot on his lungs that doctors thought could be either “radiation irritation” or a recurrence of the disease. (Star Tribune)

5. EMILY's List adds Minnesota to targeted states. Minnesota Democrats can expect an infusion of campaign spending next fall from a national pro-abortion-rights group. PAC EMILY's List announced Tuesday that it will spend $20 million on legislative races across the nation in 2020, including districts in Minnesota. The group wants to target key races and support women candidates who support abortion rights. Their aim is to keep the Minnesota House in DFL hands and flip the Republican-controlled Senate. All 201 seats in the Minnesota Legislature are on the ballot next fall. EMILY'S List president Stephanie Schriock said the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling to keep federal courts out of state redistricting battles has heightened the group's interest. "With redistricting just around the corner and the continued onslaught of anti-choice and other damaging legislation at the state levels, the stakes in our upcoming election could not be higher," she said. (MPR News)

You will be free from the tyranny of the Digest for a few days as we take a break to celebrate the nation's independence. Back next week.

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