Hundreds in Minneapolis protest Trump’s DACA withdrawal

Protesters marched through Minneapolis Tuesday in opposition of President Donald Trump’s decision to end DACA.

Protesters march against the repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy on Sept. 5 on East Franklin Avenue.

Carter Blochwitz

Protesters march against the repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy on Sept. 5 on East Franklin Avenue.

Carter Blochwitz

Hundreds marched through Minneapolis Tuesday to protest President Donald Trump’s decision to end the federal program Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. 

DACA, a Department of Homeland Security program that protected undocumented young immigrants from deportation, was created by former President Barack Obama in 2012. Trump said in a statement Tuesday the program would be phased out over the next six months, and called on Congress to develop an alternative policy for undocumented citizens.

Tuesday’s rally began around 4 p.m. at the Minnesota GOP headquarters on East Franklin Avenue, before protesters marched to the Hennepin County Public Safety Facility. 

“I’m here to stand with the dreamers; my sister is also a dreamer. I am a permanent resident now, but we are standing with them and want them to know we care,” said Eric Bermudez, a 28-year-old St. Paul resident.

Chants of “no papers, no fear” and “no DACA, no fear” resounded through the crowd. Banners at the front of the march called for a fix to the “broken immigration system,” “drivers licenses for all” and an end to mass deportations. 

“I’ve worked on immigrant rights issues for almost 20 years. This is just the latest insult to the immigrant community,” said Vic Rosenthal, retired director of Jewish Community Action. “Whatever way you describe it, there is nothing good about this decision.”

As the protest crossed I-35W, Kalpulli Ketzal Coatlicue, a Minnesota dance troupe, performed an Aztec dance in front of the office of Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., while a petition requesting her solidarity was delivered.

Jessica Hill, an Inver Grove Heights Middle School science teacher, said some of her students have been impacted by the decision. 

“I know kids that were getting in fights with things being said like, ‘go home, I hope your family gets deported,’” she said. 

Hill was one of many teachers at the march supporting the children they work with and their families.

Throughout the march, several speakers took the microphone at the front of the crowd to lead chants, tell stories and express themselves.

William Martinez, a member of the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee, was among those who spoke.

“I am an immigrant, right now I am a US citizen. I have my children, I have a house and I am a union worker. I am in the street for all the younger people here,” he said. “Right now you cut the dream for all these people.”

Despite the protest’s serious tone, several light-hearted moments occurred during the march, including the music being interrupted by a phone call.

“It’s a call from Donald Trump, asking if we want a fight,” an organizer announced. 

Minneapolis resident Noam Likach, 29, said he hopes Congress will be “competent” about DACA. 

“I’m hoping Congress will decide that it is ludicrous to cancel DACA,” Likach said. “DACA is the bare minimum of dignity and justice. To take it away is evil.”

The march neared its end at the Hennepin Public Safety building, where another large group of protestors awaited them and joined ranks with the march, holding signs that read “protect the dream.”