In an interview with Steve Doocy of Fox News” “Fox & Friends,” the police chief of St. Cloud, Minnesota, denied having any interesting in upholding the law with regard to immigration. Doocy said that Republican candidate Donald Trump wants to engage in “extreme vetting” of immigrants entering the country. After saying that there are 6,000 Somali residents in St. Cloud, he asked Chief William Blair Anderson whether he shares Trump’s “concern over who’s coming into country.” Minnesota has the largest Somali community in the United States.
This came just days after the September 17 attack by Dahir Adan, a Somali immigrant, who injured nine people in a stabbing attack at a shopping mall. An armed off-duty police officer shot him dead. Subsequently, the Islamic State (ISIS) jihadi group claimed credit for the attack and described Adan as a “soldier” acting “in response to calls to target the citizens of countries belonging to the crusader coalition.”
Anderson told Doocy, “First of all, my job is public safety. It’s not immigration policy.” Anderson explained, “I can tell you that the vast majority of all of our citizens, no matter their ethnicity, are fine, hard-working people, and now is not the time for us to be divisive. We already have a very cohesive community, and I expect that this will draw us even closer together. But at the end of the day, our job is public safety, period.”
Rather than addressing any role his department may have in stemming illegal immigration and crime committed by illegal immigrants, Anderson praised his outreach to the local Somali community. “We actually work very well not just with our East African community, but all of our community,” Anderson countered, deflating the sensationalism he was presumably supposed to affirm. “We meet regularly with any number of people, whether they are advocates for a specific ethnicity or different cause.” He added, “It’s one of things that makes St. Cloud a wonderful place to live.” Anderson said, “And I know that might sound corny, but it’s the truth.”
Relations between Americans and the Somali community have not always been good. In 2013, for instance, a near-riot broke out at a Minneapolis high school between Somali students and black American students.
In 2010, St. Cloud became the first city in Minnesota to have a full-time state civil rights office.
Members of the Somali community, which is almost exclusively Muslim, have regularly complained of alleged anti-Muslim incidents in schools. In January, four members of the state legislature met with citizens who are concerned about the imposition of Sharia -- Muslim religious law. Gov Mark Dayton (D) is asking the legislature to provide $180,000 in funding to improve the satellite office of the Minnesota Department of Human Rights at St. Cloud’s City Hall.
In Minnesota, the cities of Worthington, Minneapolis, and St. Paul all offer themselves as "sanctuary" cities and thus limit local police departments' cooperation with federal immigration authorities, thus releasing illegal aliens bound for deportation.
According to police chief Anderson, there have been other incident marring relations between Americans and the Somali community. In one incident, someone reportedly wrapped bacon around the doorknob of a Somali-owned business. In another incident, a drunk man vandalized seven vehicles outside an apartment building with Somali residents, he said, but police learned later that the drunk was unaware of the national origin of the owners of the cars.