Rally Fights Deportation of Twin Cities Labor Leader


Labor and immigration activists rallied Tuesday at the Hennepin County Public Safety Center in support of a Twin Cities labor leader who faces deportation to Guatemala.

Luciano Mejia Morales, who was part of a recent campaign to unionize janitors, was detained by immigration authorities right after his release from Hennepin County jail on $3,000 bail following a Richfield traffic stop this month.

His supporters argue his Central American homeland is unsafe for a U.S. deportee, particularly one who has been active in labor organizing.

Morales had returned to Minnesota after a previous deportation to Guatemala — a federal felony — telling three brothers that gang members there had pressured him to join.

His supporters rallied Tuesday in front of the Hennepin County Public Safety Center to raise awareness about his case and decry the lack of protections for immigrants in a city that has at times billed itself as a sanctuary. An attorney for Morales is building a case that the U.S. government should grant him asylum.

"To fight for union and labor rights in Guatemala is practically a death sentence," said Gerardo Cajamarca, a speaker at Tuesday's event and a Colombian refugee who was granted asylum. "We are afraid that if Luciano is deported to Guatemala, he may be killed."

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