Student DREAM Act backers and immigration reform activists took to the streets over the weekend, knocking on doors to talk Boulder residents into voting for candidates who favor comprehensive immigration reform.
“We as folks who are interested in the DREAM Act and comprehensive immigration reform, we need to be showing our faces at the door,” said Jessie Ulibarri, Colorado State Director of the Mi Familia Vota Civic Participation Campaign. “That is how we’ll get the Colorado that we want.”
Republican Senate candidate Ken Buck took a hard line against illegal immigration as Weld County district attorney. In 2006, Buck played a key role in the investigation that led to an ICE raid at the Colorado Swift meatpacking plant. While the raids were successful in netting 262 undocumented workers, critics, including former Greeley Mayor Tom Selders, pointed out that the raids also left 200 Greeley families with no income.
A year after the raid, in the Greeley Tribune, Buck responded to criticism that the law enforcement agencies conducted the raids without regard for the families.
“We are constantly arresting people who commit crimes and there are consequences to family members because of those arrests. So it’s not something that resonates very strongly with us because we feel in law enforcement that if someone commits a crime, they are the ones responsible for the effect on their family members,” Buck said at the time.
At Saturday’s canvassing event, Ulibarri contrasted the two Colorado Senate candidates.
“Ken Buck has been no friend of the immigrant community at all,” said Ulibarri. “While Bennet has been one the strongest and most vocal freshman senators on comprehensive immigration reform in the country … When people stand up for us; we are going to stand up for them.”
News that undocumented immigrants are canvassing in the upcoming elections in Washington State has upset anti-illegal immigration activists.
Ulibarri reportedly received a death threat via email on Saturday.
“I got a death threat this morning that said that I, and the canvassers I work with, should be lined up and shot,” said Ulibarri. “And it’s just because we are trying to get our voice heard.”
Mi Familia Vota’s message of civic participation for Latinos runs in stark contrast to a Nevada radio ad on Spanish-language station Univision earlier this week by The Republican group Latinos for Reform that encouraged Latinos not to vote. The controversial ad was pulled shortly after it hit the airways.
President Barack Obama blasted the ad as “a cynical political ploy to try to drive Latino votes to benefit a Republican candidate in Nevada who would never vote for immigration reform.”
Latino turnout in the upcoming election – as with other key Democratic demographics such as women and young voters – is expected to be weaker than in 2008 election. But volunteer Sonia Marquez argues that the damage could be minimized by a strong get-out-the-vote campaign.
“Every door we knock on, we are opening eyes and making people hear us,” said Marquez. “We’re getting people to think about these issues and this election, even if they don’t want to.”
Watch the video:
Correction: An earlier version of the story reported that undocumented DREAM students were involved in the event. Although undocumented activists were involved in campaigns in other states across the nation, Mi Familia Vota made an effort to recruit only legal U.S. citizens for this event in Boulder.