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Hundreds march to defend DACA for immigrant youth, support movement against police terror

By staff |
June 16, 2020
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Large march in Minneapolis in defense of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
Large march in Minneapolis in defense of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). (Photo by Brad Sigal)

Minneapolis, MN - With the Supreme Court set to rule on their future, almost 1000 immigrant youth and their supporters marched on June 12 to defend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that shields 800,000 young immigrants from deportation.

Organized by the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee (MIRAC), the march started outside of Senator Amy Klobuchar’s office on Washington Avenue and marched to the Hennepin County Jail in downtown Minneapolis.

The march was very spirited, and speakers and chants made repeated connections between the fight against deportation and the fight of Black, Latino and native communities against police terror and the racist criminal justice system. They repeatedly called out the role of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in separating immigrant families and the role of the police and prisons in separating Black, Latinx and native families.

Speakers at the protest included Sumaya Aden, whose brother Isak was killed by police in Eagan last year, as well as Ashley Quiñones, whose husband Brian was killed by police in Richfield. Native Lives Matter member Gabriel Black Elk, who also had a family member murdered by police, spoke about how police killings are inflicted on Native peoples, and the struggle of Native Americans for justice.

Loretta Van Pelt of Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar spoke about the struggle for community control of the police in Minneapolis. While in front of Amy Klobuchar’s office, Myon Burrell’s father pointed out how his son has been unjustly imprisoned for well over a decade because Klobuchar, when she was Hennepin County prosecutor, refused to listen to evidence or families and relentlessly pushed to lock up Myon, a teenager at the time, so that she could advance her political career. Protests around Myon’s case hobbled Amy Klobuchar’s presidential campaign in its final weeks.

Several young DACA recipients spoke as well, including a Liberian woman who was snared by ICE in the criminal justice system despite her DACA status. These speakers’ stories exemplified the living links between communities’ struggles for justice. This march made clear that the level of unity between communities impacted by different branches of the racist criminal justice system is growing, and organizers won’t stop until ICE, the police and jails stop separating families.