About 200 people briefly blocked traffic near a Twin Cities federal building late Tuesday afternoon to oppose the policies of Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the Mexican border and to speak out against separation of families and conditions in immigrant detention centers.
The group of mostly Jewish activists marched, chanted and stopped cars for a short time near the Bishop Henry Whipple Federal Building, which is near the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. The federal building houses an immigration court that some activists refer to as “deportation court,” said Leah Soule of the Twin Cities Never Again Action group.
Many held signs that said “Abolish Ice,” or “Close the Camps.”
Police were in the area and monitored tensions between protesters and federal building employees who were blocked from exiting the parking lot.
Officers cited about 25 protesters who linked arms as they were written up. As he waited for his citation, protester Eli Gurfein said that federal detention centers are operating without humanity.
“It’s an affront to human decency, and Jewish history. Jewish scripture commands me to take a stand against this,” Gurfein said.
The event is part of a national movement, #NeverAgainIsNow, linking a widely used refrain about the Holocaust to America’s treatment of migrants arriving from Central America.
Sophia Comstock isn’t old enough to vote, but felt that participating in the protest was a way to take a stand.
“There are people who are dying ... so I don’t find it that scary to put my body in front of a car considering it’s much more terrifying for me to imagine growing up in a world where this is callously ignored,” she said.