Moving Forward On Immigration

Immigrant rights advocates in Colorado have spent the last few years working hard for what they see as better and more humane legislation.

But now it will likely be 2009 before the issue is seriously debated on a federal level again, leaving lingering frustration over comprehensive reform. Where do the state’s immigration activists go from here?On the May 1st “Day Without An Immigrant” protest in 2006, it was estimated that 75,000 people marched in Denver amid a shopping boycott and school walkouts to support better conditions for immigrants.

Last week, the U.S. Senate voted to kill proposed immigration reform for the second time this session, giving rise to applause and disappointment from different segments of the political spectrum.

The Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (CIRC), composed of more than 80 organizations statewide, found problems with the Senate legislation but saw it as a step forward from the status quo.

“We still feel that victories can be be obtained this year,” says Julien Ross, an organizer with CIRC who noted the frustration felt by advocates over reform. 

According to Ross, CIRC will focus on ending ICE raids, and supporting other federal measures like the DREAM Act, a bill that would provide undocumented students with a way to become citizens.

Today CIRC delivered a cake to the offices of Sen. Ken Salazar, thanking him for his “leadership and courage” when supporting reform.

Sen. Wayne Allard, who voted against the legislation, won’t be so lucky. CIRC plans to visit his office on Thursday and deliver a postcard with a picture of an immigrant child on the front, emphasizing their disapproval of his vote.

There is also a planned action on July 12th in Denver to stop ICE raids.

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

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