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Minnesota protest sends a message to Trump during St. Paul campaign stop

By Robynne Johnson

Saint Paul protest at Trump campaign stop

St. Paul, MN – On Friday, May 17, a crowd gathered outside the annual GOP Lincoln Reagan Dinner to protest the attendance of former U.S. President Donald Trump, sending the messages to defend reproductive rights, no to a Muslim ban, and of legalization for all.

Trump is known for his reactionary politics that impact working-class people. During his presidential tenure, the Trump administration enacted 472 administrative changes to dismantle and reconstruct the U.S. immigration system, increasing barriers to legal immigration and diminishing humanitarian protections. A prominent campaign point during his 2016 presidential nomination was to build a border wall along the U.S./Mexico border, while perpetuating racist rhetoric about immigrants as “drug dealers, criminals and rapists”.

Manuel Pascual, a member of Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee (MIRAC), spoke to the crowd about Trump’s dehumanization of immigrant communities, stating, “He promotes hate and violence against immigrants every chance he gets. We saw what happened during his first presidential term. We witnessed racists come out of hiding to brutalize immigrant communities all over the United States.”

MIRAC has been fighting for legalization for all, an end to immigration raids and deportations, an end to all anti-immigrant laws, and full equality in all areas of life. MIRAC is currently working on passing the North Star Act, a Minnesota bill that would prevent local police from enforcing immigration laws.

Trump’s reactionary immigration policies have also extended towards Muslim communities, further feeding into Islamophobia. In 2017 Trump issued a Muslim travel ban, which blocked refugees and travelers with passports from seven Muslim-majority countries. The executive director of Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN), Jaylani Hussein, spoke about the impacts Trump has had on the Muslim community within Minnesota.

Speakers throughout the protest highlighted the interconnected fights between the different struggles.

Alé Guzman Huaman, an organizer with Minnesota Abortion Action Committee (MNAAC), stated, “I was a junior in high school, and after his election I remember the sense of deep, deep dread, fear and hopelessness. What is going to happen to my family? What is going to happen to my bodily autonomy?”

The Trump administration and the Republican party have campaigned around restricting abortion access for decades. During his presidential term, Trump put forward three Supreme Court justices with conservative political leanings, the last being Amy Coney Barret, who was instrumental in the 2022 overturning of Roe v. Wade.

MNAAC was formed in direct response to this Supreme Court case. Since then, MNAAC has been campaigning around crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs), which are fake abortion clinics funded by right-wing Christian evangelical organizations.

Jeff Giering, another organizer with MNAAC, told the crowd, “I believe the rights to life, to personal liberty, and to reproductive choice are under attack by Republicans nationwide. They are under attack by Donald Trump.''

Giering continued on to pinpoint the connections between the Republican and Democratic parties, noting capitalism as breeding grounds for creating opportunistic politicians who only value human life as long as it’s profitable.

Manuel Pascual stated, “Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric has pushed the Biden administration to further punish and endanger migrants seeking refuge in the United States. Let’s be clear- Biden is not our friend!”

Organizers faced some opposition from pro-Trump counter-protesters standing across the street. The counter-protesters yelled chants such as “Trump 2024” and simply repeating “U.S.A”, though their chants were thoroughly drowned out by the crowd starting chants such as “Sexist, racist, anti-gay! Donald Trump, go away!”

This collaborative action was coordinated by members of the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee (MIRAC), the Minnesota Abortion Action Committee (MNAAC) and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

These groups are continuing the fight against Trump and his agenda as they’ll be joining the March on the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee on July 15.

You can follow their work on social media:

#SaintPaulMN #MIRAC #MNAAC #CAIR #Trump #MNGOP #LincolnReaganDinner