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89PRESS RELEASE: 40,000 Minnesotans March for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

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  • alondra
    Apr 9, 2006
      9 April 2006
      Contact: Alondra Espejel
      612 – 310 – 2186
      40,000 Minnesotans March for Comprehensive Immigration Reform
      ST. PAUL (April 9, 2006) – Today, over 40,000 Minnesotans took to the St. Paul streets to participate in the largest pro-immigrant mobilization the state has ever seen.  Minnesotans of all ethnicities and ages came out to participate in this march to support the immigrant community and a comprehensive solution to the outdated immigration system.
      According to police officials, the massive crowd that spilled over the John Ireland Boulevard could easily surpass the 40,000 participant estimate.  March official counters agree with the estimate.  Organizers of the event report that at least 60 charter buses arrived delivering to the state's capitol thousands of rural Minnesotans ready to demonstrate their support for a fair and dignified immigration reform.
      The crowd began to assemble itself at the St. Paul Cathedral and quickly turned into a colossal mélange of Minnesotans all fully prepared with rally signs, colorful flags of various countries, and many wearing a white t-shirt with the words 'I'm a Worker, Not a Criminal' emblazoned on the front.  Thereafter marchers set foot towards the St. Paul Capitol while filling the air with booming chants of hope and courage.
      At the Capitol, a diverse group of speakers and immigrant leaders addressed the populous gathering to advocate for the importance of worker's rights for all, family reunification, a path to legalization, equal educational opportunities for all, civic participation and civil liberties.  "Those of you that may have suffered injustices in the country of your birth, should not suffer those injustices in your new home," asserted Minneapolis Deputy Chief Sharon Lubinski, thus striking a special cord with the largely immigrant participants.
      Ending the program in an electric note, followed by an immense wave of applause, was star student and athlete Felipe Mancera who states that because of the broken immigration system he has been unable to fulfill his dream of going to college.  "Equal educational opportunities for all! We are not 'illegal' things, we are human beings," Felipe told the crowd and a roar of cheers followed.
      The Minnesota March for Immigration with Dignity was organized by a coalition of faith, labor, and community groups known as the Alliance for Fair Federal Immigration Reform of Minnesota (AFFIRM) along with immigrant leaders, students and individuals who are working together to build the immigrant rights movement of Minnesota.

      For follow up interviews with march organizers, participants and more information on the immigration debate in Minnesota and at the Federal level, please call us at 612-310-2186.

      Alondra K. Espejel

      Communications Organizer
      Minnesota Immigrant Freedom Network
      2500 University Avenue, Suite C8
      St. Paul, MN 55114
      o: 651.287.0660



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