Immigration activists converged in front of the federal U.S. Courthouse in Denver this afternoon in an effort to connect human faces to the destruction of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) operations, and to call for an end to workplace raids.
A crowd of approximately 40 people protested outside of the courthouse where they held signs and shouted chants in Spanish and English. Speakers also addressed the audience, and emphasized universal human rights.
Photos of ICE ProtestColorado has been raided by ICE seven times in the last six months, according to the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (CIRC ), a state-wide alliance of more than 80 groups. That’s more than any other state in the nation.
“We wanted to have a protest in a place that was visible,” said Jennifer Piper, with Coloradans for Immigrant Rights, who noted that immigration hearings are held in the federal court building.
Piper explained that she didn’t see ICE raids as accomplishing anything productive. “What they do is they terrorize communities,” she said, adding that such operations divide families and displace long-term residents.
Dora Medina, an immigrant from Guatemala and immigrant rights activist, spoke before the crowd on the issue of globalization , and why so many immigrants are in the United States.
“It’s because of globalization that many of us are here,” she said. “The big corporations are coming and taking over and displacing all the local people.”
“Who are the people that are cleaning these buildings?” Medina asked. “Immigrants. From around the world. “
Hashim Malik, from the Muslim American Society”s Freedom Foundation, a civil rights organization, also spoke to the crowd.
“Regardless of who you are or where you come from, all of us were at one point immigrants here,” he said, excluding those who are indigenous to the continent. “We have to stop the raids not because they’re illegal, but because they’re immoral.”
CIRC is demanding that the Department of Homeland Security and the Bush administration issue executive orders to stop the raids.