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Associated Press, Published April 28 2011

Minn. bill would mix local police in immigration

ST. PAUL — A House panel has voted to invalidate ordinances preventing Minneapolis and St. Paul police from asking about a person's immigration status unless related to a crime.

The bill from Republican Rep. Bob Barrett of Shafer cleared the House Public Safety Committee and Crime Prevention Thursday on a divided voice vote. It has one more committee stop before reaching the full House.

Supporters say the state should be tougher on illegal immigration.

The proposal would overturn local prohibitions against enforcing immigration law or giving federal authorities information about immigration status.

City codes in Minneapolis and St. Paul separate policing from federal immigration enforcement in most cases.

Top police officials from both cities testified Tuesday that the policies help officers build relationships with immigrant communities and their repeal would hurt public safety.