MN students walk out and protest at Senator Klobuchar’s office to demand clean Dream Act now
Minneapolis, MN – On Feb. 28, students from multiple Minneapolis middle and high schools walked out of classes to demand a clean Dream Act. More than 75 students rallied briefly at Martin Luther King, Jr. Park before travelling to the University of Minnesota campus and marching to the office of Senator Amy Klobuchar. Once they arrived at Klobuchar’s office, students stormed into the building and refused to leave until the senator agreed to meet with them.
While a delegation of the students met with one of Senator Klobuchar’s aides, the rest of the students continued to hold a sit-in in the building’s lobby. It was only after the senator agreed to schedule a meeting that students left, promising to return if Klobuchar fails to get a meeting on the books by the deadline of March 2. As they filed out of the office building, students chanted “We believe that we will win!” and “We’ll be back!”
The students are demanding that Senator Klobuchar support a clean Dream Act, one that doesn’t tie the legalization of some immigrants to the criminalization and deportation of others by imposing things like increased border militarization or an increase in policing of immigrant communities. Congress and the Trump administration have said that they won’t do one without the other.
The students who walked out on Wed. joined a growing number of students and youth around the country who are demanding that Congress take action for a clean Dream Act. There are around 800,000 immigrant youth who currently have DACA, all of whom are in jeopardy of losing legal status with Trump’s order to end the program. While rulings by two federal district courts have forced the Trump administration to continue the program while legal challenges continue, this is only a temporary reprieve. Young immigrants are demanding permanent protection.
Students focused their protest on Senator Klobuchar because earlier this year, just two days into the government shutdown, she played a key role pulling together a ‘moderate’ caucus that voted to end the shutdown by giving their votes for a budget, without winning anything concrete for immigrant youth. All they got was a promise from Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell that he’d let immigration be discussed in the Senate. And as could be predicted, the Senate then discussed immigration but didn’t pass any bills. The fate of 800,000 young immigrants that will be at risk of deportation with the end of DACA was left twisting in the wind.
At Klobuchar’s office on Wednesday, students, some of whom are DACA recipients themselves, stood up and refused to allow the senator abandon earlier promises to take action on immigration. At the same time, they made it clear that they aren’t going to accept any legislation that sells out other immigrants or further criminalizes immigrant communities. If Klobuchar refuses to schedule an appointment to meet with the students by March 2, they have promised to return to her office.
The protest was organized by members of the Interracial Student Movement (ISM) and the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee (MIRAC), who were joined by members of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and Navigate.