Immigration prankster can't get himself deported

Last week he punk'd an anti-immigration rally in St. Paul. This week, a prankster who calls himself Robert Erickson, and eight other activists, tried to get themselves deported by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers in Bloomington.

As officers looked on, the eight climbed out of a white van in front of the ICE offices clothed in orange jumpsuits and with black hoods over their heads. As a few supporters looked on and chanted slogans, they walked toward the front door and offered themselves for arrest as "real" illegal immigrants.

They were turned down, of course. But Erickson, who readily admits he's using a fake name in these protests, said this morning he wants to use the street theater to drive home more serious points about the insecurity of immigrants working in the United States, and assumptions about who the "real" illegal immigrants are. "Hold us accountable," he says. "We want a national back-to-Europe movement asking all illegal immigrants from Europe to self-deport."

Eduardo Cardenas, of the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Coalition, one of the organizers of the event, said it was an attempt to inject a little humor into an otherwise serious and complicated issue. His group has staged more serious protests, including an attempt to block ICE vehicles from taking detainees to the airport for deportation. That work "doesn't seem to sink in," he says. "We're trying to break open the debate."

Here's the video of the activists, courtesy of Twin Cities IndyMedia:

And here's last week's video of Erickson, who hoodwinked rally organizers into letting him give a speech. "I thought the tea partiers were on my side," he says.