“Are You Here Illegally?”: Minneapolis Officers Question A Potential Immigrants’s Status


The Minneapolis Metro Transit police have carried out an internal investigation, as a video posted on Facebook features an officer on a light-rail train accosting a man while questioning him if he was an illegal immigrant.

The controversial incident was recorded by Ricardo Levins Morales on May 14 and uploaded on Facebook on May 20, garnering over 1 million viewers.

Video went viral

Morales recalled that two Metro transit police officers got on the train to ask passengers to show them train tickets. However, they came across a young man who “didn’t have a satisfactory answer” for the officer, then, Morales took out his phone to record the incident, Morales told the Star Tribune.

The video uploaded on social media features an officer asking a young man if he had a state ID, which was met with a head shake reference as no. Hence, the other officer questioned: “Are you here illegally?” At such point, Morales stepped in the situation and asked the officers if they are appointed as immigration police, as they are not authorised to do so.

After the officers said they are not immigration police, Morales said, “Then I would stay out of that. It’s very touchy legal territory.”

The part-time officer has not yet been identified to the public yet.

Sanctuary city

Minneapolis has been branded a sanctuary city for 14 years in police officers are prohibited from questioning immigrants unless they are under charge or investigation.

Following the release of the video, Metro Transit Police Chief John Harrington issued a statement promising an investigation:

“This afternoon, community members and partners alerted me to a situation in which one of my part-time officers was witnessed asking an individual whether he was in the state illegally. I immediately called for an Internal Affairs investigation to gather the details about this incident and to report back to me as quickly as possible.”

“It is not the practice of the Metro Transit police to inquire about the immigration status of our riders,” the statement reads.

Morales told the Star Tribune, “You can say we’re a sanctuary city, and it’s a nice phrase, but it only has meaning if it actually affects people’s behavior.”

Minneapolis has filed a lawsuit against President Trump over his proposal of the sanctuary cities executive order under which federal grant money would be halted.