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Minneapolis immigrant rights activists launch ‘Immigrant Power Now!’ platform

By staff

Demand action from mayor and city council

Minneapolis press conference promoting ‘Immigrant Power Now’ campaign.

Minneapolis, MN – On Thursday, July 21, just before the 9 a.m. city council meeting, immigrant rights leaders, labor leaders, and city council members held a press conference at City Hall in the rotunda. They publicly launched and explained their “Immigrant Power Now” campaign, unveiling a ten-point platform to make pro-immigrant changes at the municipal level in Minneapolis.

Speakers included Akhi Menawat and Miguel Hernandez of the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee (MIRAC), Pablo Tapia of Asamblea de Derechos Civiles, Rebecca Chang of MN8, transgender community activist Olivia, Ed Eiffler Jaramillo of SEIU Local 26, and Mary Webb Hampton of Minneapolis Federation of Teachers Local 59. They were joined by Minneapolis Councilmembers Jason Chavez (Ward 9) and Aisha Chughtai (Ward 10), who also spoke in favor of the campaign.

The Immigrant Power Now campaign is a series of ten proposals created by grassroots immigrant rights activists and supported by organized labor and community groups. The Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee (MIRAC) is leading this effort, and the current demands build on MIRAC’s Sanctuary Platform campaign from 2017-2018 which directly led to the passing of a Municipal ID program, which was passed but never implemented.

The first demand in the new platform calls on the city to finally implement the Minneapolis Municipal ID program they passed in 2018. This would make an ID available to all city residents regardless of their immigration status, which would benefit many Minneapolis communities. Access to Municipal IDs for all is being implemented in other Minnesota cities such as Rochester and Northfield. Organizers said that it’s time Minneapolis follows suit.

The second demand in the platform calls on the city to create a fund for residents with DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) to fund initial and renewal application fees. These fees are significant and the city should have an interest in keeping DACA recipients in our communities.

The third demand is to expand the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs so it has increased capacity to create and implement programs that will benefit immigrant families. This office was created thanks to pressure from many in the community including MIRAC and must be given additional funding and staffing to be successful.

Akhi Menawat, a member of MIRAC, said, “MIRAC works closely with immigrant communities. This platform was developed through a combination of surveys and conversations with immigrant families. The results were clear: immigrants want access to an ID, to be able to stay in their homes and be paid for their work, and to have a say in what happens in their community. The Immigrant Power Now platform is a set of ten concrete steps city leaders must take immediately. Our communities have been waiting for too long, the time to act is now.”

Minneapolis City Council member Aisha Chughtai, who represents Ward 10 and supports the Immigrant Power Now campaign said, “I believe cities are the last line of defense for people. We’ve seen this across the nation with COVID, economic recovery, abortion access, and it can be true for immigrant rights too. This is why I’m thankful that MIRAC worked directly with immigrant communities to find the most important things the city can do to support immigrant families in Minneapolis.”

The Immigrant Power Now platform is initiated by the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee (MIRAC), an all-volunteer, grassroots immigrant rights organization. This campaign is endorsed by several organizations including: Asamblea de Derechos Civiles, Minnesota 8, Ayada Leads, AFSCME Local 3800, Minneapolis Federation of Teachers (MFT) Local 59, MN Workers United, Anti-War Committee, Climate Justice Committee, Twin Cities Coalition for Justice for Jamar, and Bikers Riding Against Police Brutality. With the campaign now publicly launched, organizers expect many more groups to join in the effort to increase immigrant rights and power in Minneapolis.

#MinneapolisMN #immigrantRights #MinnesotaImmigrantRightsActionCoalitionMIRAc