(From MPR's Tim Nelson)
RNC? Si se puede!
About 850 people marched up Cedar Street this afternoon to rally in support of immigrant and other rights.
We counted them. Really.
It was a little tougher, though, to keep track of the people that were keeping track of the marchers: the local gendarmerie looked like they taking the opportunity to hone their civic order keeping skills, as long as there was a march to secure.
It looked like there were about eight St. Paul officers on bikes working the crowd, and a goodly many more in marked squads making themselves "10-8," as the saying goes, in case their services might be called for.
There was also a fairly significant, um, discrete presence along the route of what was a raucous but otherwise peaceable march route.
These fellows, who said they were with the St. Paul Police Department, were running a camera out the window of this Ford Ranger, recording the May Day event for posterity.
A few of Bloomington's finest were parked in a Jeep behind nearby, availing themselves of the opportunity to get a firsthand preview of this summer's activities. There was even what looked like a rented Merit Chev van packed with St. Paul officers parked a down the street in what we can only assume was a low-profile reserve.
St. Paul police have long been a pretty amenable presence around demonstrations, but this might just be the first tangible evidence of their preparations for the coming Republican National Convention.
What about the demands the protesters made of MPR? Why haven't I heard or read any reporting about their demand that MPR change its verbiage from "illegal" immigrant to "undocumented" immigrant?
For whichever reasons MPR has chosen to continue using the term "illegal," I think we, the listeners, members, and supporters of Minnesota Public Radio have a right to know--and a right to know that even our beloved, unbiased radio station can get caught in the political fray as it chooses which stories to report and which to suppress. I'm disappointed in MPR both for not reporting on that discussion and for not preemptively engaging in an internal dialogue about terminology used on-air.
Please do a better job at self-critique and self-reporting, MPR.
-member and listener, Kate
Kate, while I agree that our immigration policy requires improvement, I fail to see the problem with the term illegal immigrant. There are legal requirements to migrate to this country, or to work in this country. Playing word games, like using 'undocumented' to describe illegal behavior, is a distraction from the issues that need to be resolved.
This is the MPR policy on the subject:
"Illegal immigrant" and "illegal immigration" remain acceptable terms for stories on immigration issues. "Illegals" is not acceptable. "Undocumented" is only acceptable when there is an actual and specific question about a person's documents; it should not be used as a substitute adjective for "illegal." "Alien" is not acceptable except when referencing specific legal language.
One point of clarification, however - while "illegal immigrant" is acceptable, it is not mandatory if there is an equally good alternative for conveying a person's or group's legal immigration status. For instance, it's fine to say "John Doe crossed the border illegally" or "Jane Doe remained in the U.S. illegally after her temporary visa expired." These types of constructions reflect our desire for active writing and they accurately convey immigration status, yet they avoid the "dehumanizing" aspect critics hear in the "illegal immigrant" label.
So I guess the answer to the commenter's question is "no." MPR's policy was clarified a few years ago after meeting with various representatives. As I understand it, another meeting took place Monday night (I just found out about this) and those who participated were unsatisfied with the result.
BTW, yes, if the protest targeted MPR, that fact should have been in the story, imho.