Reform And

Last week a wide coalition of immigrant rights organizations announced that they would be sending local representatives to Washington D.C in an effort to testify and lobby in favor of immigration reform where it truly matters most-on the federal level.

This wasn’t reported much in the mainstream media, but delegates are expected to be meeting with Congressional representatives on Monday and staying for the Fair Immigration Reform Movements’ lobby day on Tuesday. To add to the momentum, a boycott has been called for the last week of March, also known as a spring break week. Supporters are asked to not make any purchases, or to patronize banking institutions by using financial transfers.

This tidbit was reported in Denver’s two major newspapers last week, with interesting results.

Predictably, the The Denver Post was quick to quote Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo on his feelings regarding the boycott. (He wasn’t very optimistic about it.)

But even crazier were to comments left on the on-line article; an indulgence that the Rocky Mountain News does not allow.

P.EJ:

I love the way these self-important, uneducated, Third World slum dwellers are convinced that they are what makes the US economy run. Forget Microsoft, Intel, Eli Lilly, Boeing- them mopping floors is what makes this country run like a well greased machine. Ha! The single greatest event that could ever happen in the history of the US would be if they all left- voluntariy [sic] or otherwise.

Or:

Excellent idea. I fully support the initiative. Oh, by the way, can we get the names and photographs of all these disgruntled illegals and Muslims?

Or:

What incredible hubris! Illegal aliens, after thumbing their noses at USA laws, are demanding rights & threatening law abiding Americans?! So, if enough people steal cars should we legalize car theft?? Their behaviors & demands are just as ABSOLUTELY LUDICROUS!

Such commentary isn’t a great testament for those who claim the issue of immigration has nothing to do with race, but hey, it is the Internet.

On the other side, the New’s Fernando Quintero did a much better job of covering what members of the coalition actually had to say:

“The economic gears of (the U.S.) depend on the contributions of 12 million undocumented immigrants,” said Ignacio Ramirez, a member of Immigrant Families of Southwest Denver. “Those gears cannot work without us.”

At the morning news conference at Skyline Park amid downtown high-rise offices, Ramirez pointed to an adjacent glass tower and said, “Your offices are clean, thanks to who? Your gardens are beautiful, thanks to who? You have dollar menus and Happy Meals, thanks to who?”

In 2006 a general strike was held on May 1st, along with a massive march which included more than 100,000 individuals in Denver alone.

The numbers completely topped any turnout the anti-war movement has been able to muster locally, and coincided with such events on a national level.

Now local organizers are continuing to work on the federal level, as well as the local. It is an organized effort with energy that shows no signs of diminishing in the near future. Because of this, it is also an effort that shouldn’t be ignored by local media outlets.

Sooner or later it seems, ignoring such actions won’t be an option. 

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About the Author

Erin Rosa

Erin Rosa was born in Spain and raised in Colorado Springs. She is a freelance writer currently living in Denver. Rosa's work has been featured in a variety of news outlets including the Huffington Post, Democracy Now!, and the Rocky Mountain Chronicle, an alternative-weekly in Northern Colorado where she worked as a columnist covering the state legislature.

Rosa has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for her reporting on lobbying and woman's health issues. She was also tapped with a rare honorable mention award by the Newspaper Guild-CWA's David S. Barr Award in 2008--only the second such honor conferred in its nine-year history--for her investigative series covering the federal government's Supermax prison in the state.

Rosa covers the labor community, corrections, immigration and government transparency matters.

She can be reached at erosa@coloradoindependent.com.

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