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‘End the War on Immigrants’ protest at Minnesota ICE facility, 1 month after Biden’s inauguration

By Montana Hirsch |
February 23, 2021
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MIRAC protest demands end to war on immigrants
Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee (MIRAC) protest demands end to war on immigrants. (Photo by Brad Sigal)

St. Paul, MN - On February 20, one month after President Biden’s inauguration, the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee (MIRAC) organized the first protest of their new campaign to end the war on immigrants. About 100 people gathered outside of the Bishop Henry Whipple Building, the federal building where Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) headquarters are located in Minnesota. The campaign demands include, among others: “Legalization for all,” “Close the camps,” “No kids in cages,” “No border militarization,” “No wall on Native land,” “End abuses in ICE jails,” “No forced sterilizations,” and “Immediate access to COVID-19 vaccines for ICE detainees.”

The action kicked off with a dance by Kalpulli Yaocenoxtli, a traditional Mexica-Nahua (Aztec) cultural group. They danced in the spot where deportation vans enter and leave the facility. They were followed by speakers from Native Lives Matter, Filipinx for Immigrant Rights & Racial Justice Minnesota, MIRAC, Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar (TCC4J), Anti-War Committee, Minnesota Immigrant Movement (MIM) and others, including two children of a formerly detained immigrant who shared their powerful family story.

The MIRAC speaker Francisco Sanchez asked the crowd to “continue choosing to fight.” He reminded the crowd: “Every day, people are forced to abandon their homes, their loved ones and their dreams. They are forced to migrate, by no choice of their own. The U.S. plays a central role in the disenfranchisement of countries all across the world.”

After the speakers, protesters participated in a short march to the front entrance of the federal building. At the front of the crowd marched the two children who spoke at the rally, holding a banner that read: “No militarized border.” The crowd stopped briefly by the front doors of the building, chanting slogans such as “Abolish ICE” and “Free them all” before marching back to the intersection where the rally was held to finish off with a native land acknowledgment and a few more chants. This was the first of many actions to come from MIRAC’s new campaign, as they will plan more protests, educational events and fundraisers in the fight to “End the War on Immigrants” and continue to hold President Biden accountable to fully reverse the Trump administration and previous administrations’ anti-immigrant policies and chart a new course for full equality for immigrants.

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