- Open borders advocate
- Vice President of ISAIAH
Pablo Tapia is Vice President of the Minneapolis-based open-borders group ISAIAH. He also works closely with the Gamaliel Foundation and the Washington, DC-based Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride Coalition (IWFRC), on whose steering committee he sat in 2003. The Mexican-born Tapia has lived in Minnesota since 1992.
Speaking in favor of allowing illegal aliens to open bank accounts, acquire driver’s licenses, and buy auto insurance policies, Tapia said in March 2002:
"People without legitimate identification live in fear. Even if they're victims of crime they are afraid to call the police. At least with a bank account you don't have to carry a lot of cash around. But we must do more. Undocumented workers support about a billion dollars of Minnesota's economy. It's time for
Minnesota to accept the official identification of the Mexican government and the Internal Revenue Service, so that immigrants can get a valid driver's license and car insurance."
On June 28, 2003, Tapia participated in a St. Paul, Minnesota demonstration -- held jointly by ISAIAH and Centro Campesino -- in support of expanded rights and amnesty for illegal aliens. "This country depends on our labor, but denies our rights," said Tapia. "We [immigrants, legal and illegal] are the new dispossessed labor force, and this is the next stage in the civil rights movement."
The following month, Tapia joined dozens of activists in an IWFRC event in Saint Paul pushing for “a new immigration policy” that would include “legalized status and a ‘road to citizenship’ for all immigrant workers in this country”; “the right of workers to re-unite their families”; and “protection of immigrants' workplace rights” [i.e., the elimination of government raids]. “The fight for the rights of immigrants is a fight for all working and oppressed people," said Tapia.
Tapia supports legislation popularly known as the DREAM Act, which is designed to allow illegal aliens to attend college at the reduced tuition rates normally reserved for in-state legal residents. In 2003 Tapia impugned Minnesota legislators for having failed to pass the Act into law, explaining that as a result, many talented young people would be prevented from becoming entrepreneurs, political scientists, or researchers who might otherwise have discovered cures for cancer.
In March 2005 Tapia led a procession of 25 ISAIAH demonstrators in front of the General Mills corporate headquarters in Golden Valley, Minnesota, to protest the recent firing of 18 illegal immigrants employed by Aramark, a company under contract to clean offices at General Mills. The illegals (who were members of Service Employees International Union Local 26) had been terminated after Aramark discovered that their Social Security numbers were fraudulent. As Tapia led his fellow marchers, he held a crucifix aloft to signify what he viewed as the divine nature of his mission.
Tapia reports that racism is a common trait among his white neighbors in Minnesota. “People think I came from the border a week ago,” he said in 2006. “It’s a cultural clash. We aren’t the same color, that’s what’s wrong.” He characterized illegal aliens as people who put their lives at risk by coming to the United States. "We′re not coming here to steal anything," he said. "We′re coming to contribute."
Tapia seeks to derail the efforts of groups such as the Minuteman Project, an organization of U.S. citizens who alert the U.S. Border Patrol to the presence of unauthorized border-crossers in the American Southwest. He further laments that federal immigration officials are quicker to deport illegals than they had been in decades past. "If I don′t do anything about this situation," Tapia says, "my kids will pay later."