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Gimse's bill would fund training for immigration enforcement

ST. PAUL -- A bill authored by Sen. Joe Gimse would allocate $10 million each year to train Minnesota police on how to enforce immigration laws.

The program would be funded by a new surcharge on all traffic violations.

The legislation, which the Willmar Republican introduced Tuesday, would send members of local police and sheriff's departments to a four-week program in Charleston, N.C., for in-tensive tr-aining on federal im-migration policies and procedures.

The training would allow law enforcement officers to act in full cooperation with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, said Gimse in a news release.

"Being a border state with Canada and also having an estimated 90,000 illegal immigrants residing in Minnesota, this is a problem that we need to get a handle on and this would help us utilize our local law enforcement to do that," Gimse said.

"This would have a force multiplier effect in the enforcement of these laws," he said.

The program would be scheduled to provide grant funding for a four-year period. If the program did not end up costing as much as anticipated, the amount and surcharges would be reduced, said Gimse.

"The $10 million stated in the bill is essentially a placeholder number. We expect the program to actually cost much less. While we wait on the federal government to take a more active role in enforcing the immigration laws, we want our local law enforcement officials to have the best training possible to be of assistance in these areas."