St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis isn’t the brightest bulb in the Constitution’s chandelier. Appearing on KNSI Tuesday morning, Kleis told host Bob Hughes that “refugee resettlement is not within the city’s power to regulate and it would be a violation of the constitution.” Specifically, Mayor Kleis said “Only congress has the authority when it comes to immigration and then you have the aspect of the 14th amendment, the equal protection clause.”
The equal protection clause states “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
First, Mayor Kleis is right that the Constitution gives the federal government the authority to set immigration policy. Nobody’s disputing that. What Mayor Kleis didn’t explain was what laws Councilman Johnson’s resolution would violate. For that matter, Mayor Kleis didn’t say how a moratorium (a pause) would violate the Constitution.
Next, there’s the issue of the Refugee Act of 1980. Mayor Kleis sent this letter to the US Department of Health and Human Services. The letter reads a bit like a push poll at the end. Specifically, I’m referring to the part where Mayor Kleis wrote “The specific concern expressed by some groups is that these quarterly consultations are not occurring, at least not locally. Since this is a federal issue, and not a local matter, I am bringing this to your attention.”
Mayor Kleis, why can’t you put 2 and 2 together and get 4? The Refugee Act of 1980 requires consultations with “local governments.” If those consultations aren’t happening locally, which you admit isn’t happening, where would these consultations happen? In Washington, DC?
This sounds like shuck-and-jive Kleis, not Honest Abe Kleis. We have a right to expect better than this from our mayor.