Minneapolis, MN – On Wednesday, January 20th, 250-300 students walked out of public high schools across the Twin Cities to demand an end to ICE’s deportation of Immigrant families. The students assembled at MLK park in South Minneapolis and marched to Lake Street to protest the mass deportations from recent ICE (Immigration & Customs Enforcement) raids across the nation.
ICE is an acronym which stands for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. It’s a federal law enforcement agency under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and was formed under the Homeland Security Act of 2002 as response to the 9/11 attacks. It is tasked with enforcing federal immigration law and has an stated annual budget of $5.34 billion.
Much of this money is spent on contracting to other companies to help run some of its 200+ detention facilities across the country. In effect ICE, runs the largest immigrant detention system in the world. Conditions in these detention facilities has been heavily criticized by multiple humanitarian groups and news outlets. Since October 2003, at least 104 people have perished in these detention centers, while thousands more are left to languish in poor conditions without access to basic legal rights.
ICE is well known for it’s targeted raids against Latino communities. What makes this latest wave of national raids is different from the rest is the fact it has targeted asylum seekers attempting to enter the country legally.
Until recently, ICE raids were focusing primarily on undocumented workers. As recently as 2006, Worthington, Minnesota became witness to the largest workplace raid in history. Since then the rate at which immigrants are detained and deported out of the state has only increased and shows no signs of slowing down.
In response to these waves of raids and detentions a new generation of young High School students have poured into the streets to protest the inhumane treatment and terrorizing of immigrant communities.
In the late morning of January 20th, about 75 students in Southwest High School had a one hour sit-in throughout the school hallways complete with a period of 43 minutes of silence for the #Ayotzinapa43, they then marched down 50th Street to Washburn High School and met up with the students there to march together to MLK park.
After the students arrived at MLK park, they created a circle and had an open-mic for students to speak about anything on their minds:
Here is the livestreamed open-mic session at MLK park that took place before the march to Lake St.:
During this open-mic period, a Southwest High School student who’s artist name is J Pluto (we also have an interview with him on the vimeo video above), performed a spoken word piece called “THUG”:
During the multiple marches that the students were involved in, the most popular chant heard during the day was “We didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us”:
When the students reached Lake St. we caught up with a few of them and this what they had to say: