APPLETON, Minn. — The Coalition of Concerned Residents of Western Minnesota held a meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 13, to lift up and grow the opposition to CoreCivic’s plan to open the prison in Appleton, as an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center. Many Land Stewardship Project (LSP) members are deeply involved in this grassroots coalition and have played key roles in organizing and leading the gathering. Over 170 people from all sides of this issue gathered from west central Minnesota.
The purpose of the meeting was to grow opposition to the Appleton prison being used as an ICE detention center and to share information about CoreCivic’s plan, which has not been shared widely with the public.
Equally important was the chance for everyone to have a respectful discussion where all perspectives were heard and people had an opportunity to learn from each other. Participants shared their concerns about ICE detention centers, immigration policies, the trauma created for families and children, as well as the need for economic opportunity and jobs in the Appleton area.
As a rural organization working toward promoting an ethic of stewardship for farmland, sustainable agriculture and healthy communities, it is important that LSP speak up on immigration issues. We depend upon immigrants to contribute to a robust food and agriculture economy in this state. Immigrants are vital parts of our rural communities. As a social justice organization, LSP must speak clearly for the dignity of all people when faced with proposals that impact human rights in agriculture.
LSP is opposed to ICE detention as a practice as well as to the recent raids among food workers in Mississippi that left many families broken and communities reeling. LSP recently signed on to a statement that opposes ICE detention until comprehensive immigration reform is passed in Congress and states the importance of immigrants to our food and farming system.