Every second Tuesday of the month people of faith gather for a vigil at the Immigration Court at the Whipple Building, Fort Snelling. This vigil is sponsored by the Interfaith Coalition on Immigration (ICOM) and hosted monthly by various faith communities. In June St. Joan of Arc lead the vigil (see past News story and pictures). The July vigil focused on the separation of children from their parents at the border. KEEP FAMILIES TOGETHER was the theme as we marched carrying “cages” of toys representing caged children.
The Whipple building houses ICE and the immigration court. Human beings are brought there in shackles and deported from there in big white vans. The building is named after Bishop Henry Whipple, who would probably turn over in his grave knowing what goes on inside his namesake building.
The building sits on land that is considered sacred by the Dakota people. Bishop Whipple was a staunch advocate for Native Americans and even intervened on behalf of the nearly 300 Dakota who were condemned to death after the 1862 Dakota Uprising. Although President Lincoln pardoned many because of Whipple’s appeal, still 38 men were hanged in Mankato in 1862, the largest mass execution in American history.