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Minneapolis holds emergency rally to demand no troops at the U.S.-Mexico border

By Montana Hirsch

Minneapolis protest against border militarization.

Minneapolis, MN – On May 18, more than 30 immigrant rights activists gathered with banners at the corner of Lake Street and Chicago Avenue for an emergency response rally. The rally was initiated by the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee (MIRAC) after President Biden announced that the administration was sending 1500 more troops to the U.S.-Mexico border. Troops have already been sent under the guise of dealing with the aftermath of the end of Title 42, a Trump-era immigration policy that ended last week on May 11.

Protesters held banners that read “No militarized border,” “No more deportations” and “Legalization for all,” for the rush hour traffic to see. Organizers with MIRAC handed out informational flyers about the situation at the border, urging them to contact President Biden and demand an end to both militarization and increased deportations at the border after last week’s end of Title 42.

Title 42, the policy of turning immigrants away at the border allegedly due to COVID, was opposed by Democrats when Trump initiated it in 2020. Yet the Biden administration continued it for over two years after taking office despite pushback from immigrant rights advocates. Though Biden repeatedly criticized President Trump for refusing to allow asylum seekers refuge in the United States, his new border policies include the ability to deny asylum more easily to any immigrant that crosses through another other country prior to entering the United States through Mexico. This is essentially a new asylum ban – but without the same amount of public scrutiny and backlash that Trump’s asylum ban garnered.

The Biden administration now plans to lean heavily on Title 8, which unlike Title 42, actually goes a step further and criminalizes immigrants for coming and applying for asylum if they get denied. This policy bars those denied asylum from entering the U.S. for five years – causing them to face jail time and criminal charges if they dare to try.

The Department of Homeland Security is also now increasing the use of the fast-track deportation process known as “expedited removal” using the excuse that now that Title 42 has been lifted there will be more people trying to cross. This enables immigration officials to rapidly deport immigrants that they determine do not qualify for asylum or any other status that would allow them to stay in the U.S., without even a court hearing.

After hearing about these new policies from the rally emcee, protesters chanted, “Hey Biden, fuck your ban! No one is illegal on native land!” as others handed out informational flyers and engaged with people driving and walking by. MIRAC member Miguel Hernandez took to the mic and spoke about his experience on MIRAC’s recent delegation to the U.S.-Mexico border and the militarization the group saw at the border wall. Hernandez spoke about the impact of seeing a surveillance tower at the border wall in Friendship Park in Tijuana, Mexico – a surveillance tower constructed by Elbit Systems, an Israeli weapons company that equips both the U.S.-Mexico wall and apartheid Israel with militarized surveillance technology.

The protest was received with overwhelmingly positive support – cars honked as they drove past, and many people walking or driving by yelled in support, some even joining in on the chanting, filming and taking photos. It is clear from this reaction that many people support fighting back against racist immigration policies and horrific militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border that is continuing regardless of the fact that a Democrat is currently in the White House.

#MinneapolisMN #USMexicoBorder