A march to protest U.S. immigration policy is underway in St. Paul, with marchers taking a route past the News Cut World Headquarters.
The point of the march may have been lost in translation, at least to some of the few people standing by. MPR’s Nikki Tundel, pretty much for the fun of it, asked a couple of spectators “what’s going on?”
“I think it’s that thing the police do every year to get a raise,” she quoted one person saying. Another thought it was a rally by teachers, she said.
Meanwhile, according to MPR’s Tim Nelson, area police apparently used the march as practice for the Republican National Convention. He says he recognized several people in streetclothes as cops, including some videotaping the march. He says police from some suburban districts were also involved.
Coincidentally, or perhaps not, the governor put out a news release as the march started:
According to news reports, thousands of immigrants and activists are holding rallies and protests across the country today, including in Saint Paul, demanding immigration reform.
In January, Governor Pawlenty announced executive actions and legislative proposals to counter illegal immigration. Actions taken by the Governor included executive orders to enhance cooperation regarding immigration enforcement between state and federal officials and to require that state employees, contractors doing business with the state and recipients of state grants electronically verify employment eligibility.
The Governor also proposed legislative measures to prohibit city “sanctuary” ordinances that prevent police from inquiring about immigration status, strengthened human trafficking laws, increased penalties for identify theft, enhanced penalties for employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants, and establishing the crime of aggravated forgery regarding underlying documents used to obtain identity documents.
Nearly four months into the 2008 session, the DFL-controlled legislature has refused to even hold a hearing regarding the Governor’s immigration reform proposals. The following is a statement from Governor Pawlenty regarding the failure of DFLers in the Minnesota legislature to consider proposals to combat illegal immigration.
“This week’s revelation that police in Lakeville, Minnesota recently stopped a vehicle carrying 15 illegal immigrants who had been traveling for a week highlights the fact that illegal immigration is a real problem and it’s here in our state. It’s time for DFLers to admit that and address this real concern. At a minimum they should hold hearings to debate the common sense immigration reform measures I’ve proposed. It is inconceivable that anyone would oppose measures to combat human trafficking and fight identity theft. I’m hopeful these important issues can be considered before the end of this session.”