Bloomington, MN – Dozens of people gathered outside the ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) detention center at the Whipple Building in Fort Snelling, Minnesota, on February 20 to demand an “end to the war on immigrants.”
After an opening ceremonial dance by Kalpulli Yaocenoxtli, Unicorn Riot streamed live for the rally and the brief march up to the federal building housing ICE.
Two siblings, Rudy and Betsy, spoke to the crowd about their families ordeals with ICE, including having their parents jailed and other family members being deported.
“It’s just very sad how people take our parents and kids away. And they think what they’re doing is right. It’s not actually it’s very sad. It’s it’s very disgusting, it disgusts me how they take people away, innocent people away, and they really don’t care…
What they’re doing is very, very wrong. And I just don’t know how to express my feelings against this because I am shocked.
It just hurts me. Because they’re taking they’re putting kids in cages, babies in cages. They’re harassing women and men.“– Betsy, who’s family has faced jail and deportation over their immigration status
Rudy said that him and sister had been to the Whipple Building many times. The building houses an ICE detention center and immigration court.
“I recognize this building a lot. Me and my little sister have been in this building many times. My father was arrested and detained. And he was put in jail. Right. And that meant that we had no income from my father’s side. So we had to completely rely on our mother. And me and Betsy, we’re still in school. So we lost our house. And my mom is illegal here. So she, we didn’t have any rights. You know, we didn’t have any rights to a lawyer. We didn’t even have money to be in a house.“– Rudy, who’s family has faced jail and deportation over their immigration status
The primary group behind the rally was MIRAC (Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee). In the description on the Facebook event for this rally, they stated that since the Biden administration has taken power, they’ve “taken some welcome actions to start to undo Trump’s anti-immigrant policies. But ICE abuses of immigrants continue, and there’s a lot more work to do. Just hitting rewind to 2016 is not enough.“
They listed seven demands:
- Legalization for All
- Close the camps
- No kids in cages
- No border militarization
- No wall on Native land
- End abuses in ICE jails including forced sterilization
- Immediate access to COVID-19 vaccine for all people in ICE detention who want it