- Arts & Lifestyle
- Special Sections
- Community Directory
- Ticket Offers
Minneapolis Police Department Creates Chaos with ICE: Community Responds, Demands Immigration Reform Now
The Minneapolis Police Department played a central role in facilitating the activity by ICE agents, thus violating a city separation ordinance that has been on the books for over three years and angering many community leaders, reported Teresa Ortiz of the Resource Center of the Americas and one of the hundreds of community witnesses.
"The Minneapolis Police should not have done this with ICE," says Irineo Mojica, a community activist who recently organized a 10-day religious fast for immigration reform, "they have created chaos in the heart of the Latino community."
"The statement by the Minneapolis Police Department saying they were there to 'help with crowd control' is simply false," states Eduardo Cardenas, a member of the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Coalition. "I was one of the only ones at the site in the morning and there was no crowd to speak of, yet the MPD had already deployed at least three of their officers. Not only is this wrong, but it has also severed any good relationships the local police may have built with the Latino community."
While the Minneapolis Police Department's presence and role at the site of the ICE activity caused deep concern in the community and amongst leaders, the historically discriminatory practices used by government agents was being documented by members of the Community Raid Response Team, a rapid response group dedicated to documenting any civil rights violations ensued by the heightened ICE activity.
Laura Wilson, a member of the Raid Response Team, says, "I videotaped an agent who stopped a young man that was walking on the sidewalk. The agent asked the young man for his papers, yet when asked by a White person serving as a witness why he [the agent] had not asked for her papers the agent ignored her. It's against the law to target people based on their skin color."
According to Alberto Monserrate, owner of Latino Communications Network, yesterday's events raise questions about the true intent of the ICE and Minneapolis Police Department operation. "If they just wanted to arrest people who had a record not related to immigration, then why did they decide to show up on the busiest day at the busiest time in such a public place for the Latino community?
Why do we have community witnesses reporting agents asked people on the street for their documents?" ponders Monserrate. For others, the questionable collaboration between local police and ICE agents point to the need for an immigration reform.
"Congress is trying to get us out of a chaotic situation by passing an immigration reform, but ICE agents and local police involvement are only causing more chaos in our communities," states Javier Morillo, President of SEIU Local 26.
For Mariano Espinoza, Executive Director of the Minnesota Immigrant Freedom Network, the answer has another layer. "We do need immigration reform and we need it now.
We can't let more innocent families and workers be attacked. But we also ask that the Minneapolis Police Chief meet with the Latino community to address this situation. Immigration reform may take a while and we cannot afford to see another situation like this happen ever again."
Today (Sunday) the Community Raid Response Team plans to host a community gathering at the corner of Lake Street and Bloomington Avenue at 4:30 pm in order talk to people about their rights.