Meeting for the first time since the presidential election, the Minneapolis City Council on Friday declared their support for the city’s minority groups and denounced policies they anticipate from President-elect Donald Trump's administration.
In two resolutions, the council condemned hate speech against Muslims and said they would “fight for the rights, freedoms and interests of all of the members of our community.”
The resolutions follow a statement issued Thursday by Mayor Betsy Hodges, rejecting the suggestion by a prominent Trump supporter that 1940s-era Japanese internment camps offer a “precedent” for creating a registry of immigrants from Muslim countries.
“To the Muslim community in Minneapolis, I say once again: I stand with you today, and will continue to stand with you as President-elect Trump takes office,” Hodges said.
The council spent about 20 minutes discussing its “One Minneapolis” resolution and how they would defend immigrants and Muslims living in the city.
Council Member Abdi Warsame, a Muslim and a Somali whose ward includes many refugees, said the country was at a “very difficult and very dangerous moment.”
“As someone who cannot change his skin color, change his name, who’s raising three black children in the city of Minneapolis, [the Muslim registry idea] brings back haunting memories of what happened to people just like myself less than a century ago,” Warsame said. “Who didn’t do anything, who were innocent, and who are being blamed for the actions of very few individuals.”
Council Member Jacob Frey, who is Jewish, related the advice of his great aunt who fled the Holocaust after witnessing policies in Germany that became incrementally more anti-Semitic.
“What she used to say is that we all need to be keenly aware of what’s happening so that we’re not in a situation where we’re a frog in a pot of water that’s slowly but surely getting hotter and hotter until it’s boiling,” Frey said. “And then it’s dead.”
Frey added that two anti-Semitic remarks have been directed at him since the election, the first during his time living in Minneapolis.
Council Member Alondra Cano said she recently attended the deportation hearing of a local activist.
“It was a very significant time for all of us to reflect on the realities moving forward of how we’re going to have to be at our most alert stance and position moving forward because there’s just going to be more of these cases coming down in the coming weeks and months and years,” Cano said.
She added: “I think now more than ever the role of cities is going to matter in standing up for and protecting our communities and in continuing to advance our very progressive legacy.”
Council Member Blong Yang said he grew up in the Central Valley area of California where the Japanese internment camps were located. “I will fight like hell to not allow anything like that to ever happen again in American history, but specifically in Minneapolis," Yang said.
Trump has also proposed withholding federal funding from "sanctuary cities," like Minneapolis, where local police do not pursue undocumented immigrants or question people about their immigration status.
Hodges appeared on MSNBC and Public Radio International’s “The World” this week to say the city will stand by its ordinance, passed in 2003.
"Asking my police officers to enforce federal immigration law means that -- were they do to it -- victims of crime, witnesses of crime, would be afraid to call the police and our city would be less safe,” Hodges said on “The World” on Thursday night.
About 2 percent of the city’s $1.3 billion budget comes from the federal government.