What’s going on in the Whipple building is a microcosm of the Trump administration’s crackdown on immigration violations, separating families and disrupting communities. Minnesota’s Twin Cities are known as a hub for federal immigration enforcement across five states – Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota – and at the center of that hub is the Whipple building, which houses an immigration court. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, is a constant presence.
Consecrated as the Diocese of Minnesota’s first bishop in 1859, Whipple spent more than four decades establishing The Episcopal Church’s roots in the newly founded state while leading missionary work among the American Indian tribes of Minnesota, and in 1862, he successfully lobbied President Abraham Lincoln to spare most of the 303 Dakota warriors who had been sentenced to death for an uprising that year.
Today, his name graces the Bishop Henry Whipple Federal Building just east of the airport in Minneapolis – a rare honor for an Episcopal bishop, but one that local Episcopal leaders now say runs counter to Whipple’s legacy. They want his name removed.