Comments made by Ellis draw response from county attorney

Published 10:14 am Thursday, October 28, 2010

In a letter sent to the Austin Daily Herald on Wednesday, Mower County Attorney Kristen Nelsen said she wants to “set the record straight” on an immigration policy discussed at recent sheriff’s debates.

Nelsen was responding to comments made by Sgt. Jeff Ellis during recent debates. In two previous debates, Ellis said he and a deputy formulated a plan for sheriff’s deputies to contact U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials when they encounter illegal immigrants.

Ellis has said that the policy was submitted to Nelsen’s office, but had been returned with a note stating such policies should be submitted through Sheriff Terese Amazi.

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Here is the text of Nelsen’s letter submitted to the Herald:

“The recent debate between the Sheriff’s Office candidates raised an issue regarding a policy allegedly brought to the County Attorney’s Office by Jeff Ellis involving the detention and reporting of illegal immigrants. As County Attorney, I would like to set the record straight regarding this ‘policy.’ A Mower County Deputy, not Jeff Ellis, submitted a proposal regarding detaining anyone deputies might suspect to be illegal.

“The proposed ‘policy’ would go above and beyond what is permissible under Minnesota law and under the United States Constitution. The Mower County Attorney’s Office is responsible for following both Minnesota law and the Constitution and we will not encourage or allow any policies that blatantly violate both.

“The County Attorney’s Office reviewed the ‘policy’ and informed the deputy who sponsored it that the ‘policy’ posed serious concerns and violated Minnesota law. This was not a politically based decision and the County Attorney’s Office was not aware that Jeff Ellis was involved in this matter.”

Ellis was not immediately available for comment.