ST. PAUL—Waving a fake passport and forged identity cards, Gov. Tim Pawlenty outlined a raft of proposals Tuesday to identify and crack down on illegal immigration in Minnesota.
The Republican governor wants a team of state agents to enforce federal immigration laws, and he would also like to make it a crime to possess a fake ID. His plan would stop cities from passing sanctuary ordinances that prohibit police from asking about a person’s immigration status.
Before hopping on a plane to tout the plan in Rochester, Mankato, Worthington, St. Cloud and Moorhead, Pawlenty went on the defensive.
He said he hopes his proposals won’t be met with immediate charges that he’s trying to inflame racist or anti-immigrant sentiments in an election year.
“You’d have to be really living under a rock not to see this as a real issue,” Pawlenty said at a Capitol news conference. “I’ve been talking about these issues since 2002.”
Pawlenty also repeated several times that he wants to support and encourage legal immigration, and promised more on that front in the coming weeks.