Two weeks ago, ICE raided a family home in the Roaring Fork Valley, arrested Norma Morales on a 4-year-old order, and ripped up a family. Her son Hector, a Daniels Fund Scholarship recipient headed to Duke University, and AJUA led a campaign to release Norma from detention.
Thanks to the work of those of you who faxed, called, and tweeted about this case, we were able to send 3,300 faxes, make hundreds of calls, and create a social media firestorm across the country!
Thanks to you, Norma came home 10 days after her detention… just in time for Mother's Day!
Your response, along with tireless advocacy by AJUA and support from our elected officials like Senator Udall, Senator Bennet, and Congressman Polis, led to this amazing turnaround and a victory.
Norma now has a 1-year stay to resolve her case. She will get to see Hector graduate and go on to Duke!
We so rarely get to enjoy a win, please try to take the moment and appreciate all the work that you did to make this happen.
The Morales family sends its warmed regards to the entire CIRC network. It would not have happened without you!
Thank you to all of you who came to the Capitol, wrote letters, made calls, and spoke to your representatives. The 2012 Session of the Colorado Legislature is over! Despite some attempts to criminalize our communities, we defeatd the bad bills.
A final and complete recap of the season is coming in the 2012 legislative report. Out soon.
This year, the Colorado ASSET Bill got through the Colorado State Senate and the Education Committee of the Colorado State House, before being defeated by 1 vote in a partisan decision by the Finance Committee.
The proposal this year was to give undocumented kids who grew up in Colorado a chance to go to school in Colorado at a special rate higher than the in-state rate, but still lower than the prohibitive out of state rate. This rate would not have used the State Stipend, and was supported by every Higher Education Institution in Colorado.
After passing through the State Senate on party lines in a contentious debate, the bill passed the Education committee, drawing the support of one courageous Republican, John Morse. Nonetheless, the slim Republican majority in the State House, allowed the Speaker, Frank McNulty, to send the bill to the Finance Committee, known as the 'kill committee', where it was defeated after a lengthy debate with few cogent arguments in opposition, but many weak ones demonstrating election year partisanship.
While this year we lost, the bill made it further than ever before and everyone should be proud of their work, discipline, and passion. The HEAA coalition and staff did a superb job organizing, lobbying, telling their story and getting unprecedented support for the bill.
We will be back next year, and every year until all the youth of Colorado, regardless of status, get an equal chance at an education. Because we believe that when you deny an opportunity for an education, you deny a vital human right, but more than that, you deny the future, and that is always a losing proposition. Read More and See Pictures Here
In the past few months, CIRC has gone through some staff changes. We are saddened to lose Julie Gonzales to Law School, but excited to welcome Justin Valas as the new Policy and Advocacy Coordinator, Isaias Vasquez as the new contract Alliance Building Organizer with OneColorado and CIRC, and Eddie Soto as the Western Slope Organizer. Please check out their bios here.
We are also proud to announce some staff transitions: Karen Sherman Perez will be transitioning from being the Western Slope Organizer into the position of Development Director; in addition, Brendan Greene will be moving from his role as Rocky Mountains Organizer to being the Membership and Campaigns Director for the whole coalition.
Please see below for message from the CIRC Board of Directors regarding Julie.
Message from CIRC Board of Directors
Dear CIRC members/partners,
With great sadness we share the news that, after nearly four years of service to CIRC, Julie Gonzales is stepping down. Julie will be entering law school in August and will take some time off before school starts, thus Julie's last day with CIRC will be May 15. As an established leader in Colorado’s social justice movement, Julie will be sorely missed within the CIRC family. As a Board, we cannot begin to adequately express our gratitude for the time, talent, and energy Julie has poured into this organization and this movement.
Hundreds of participants came to Denver for two days of learning and legislative visits. Everyone walked away empowered and ready to keep up the work in the coming year.
Check Out Coverage in the Denver Post
Continuing their rogue operations across the Rocky Mountain West, ICE raided the Little America hotel in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Using tactics pioneered in Fort Morgan, ICE officers went directly to the homes of Little America workers after conducting a "silent" I-9 audit.
In visiting homes, ICE officers went to the home of Erika Delgado, a mother of an 11-year-old US Citizen daughter, recently out of an abusive relationship. ICE officers did not arrest Erika, as she is the only caretaker for her daughter, Miriam Ortiz, but they threatened her and told her that they would come back to get her.
In fear of being sent back to an abusive husband, Erika panicked and set her trailer on fire after barricading herself and her daughter inside.
This tragedy could have been prevented if ICE used discretion in their raids and actions instead of continuing to conduct community sweeps, ruining community safety and causing tragedies like Erika Delgado and Miriam Ortiz. Please Read Whole Story on Alternet
The odious new anti-immigrant law in Alabama, HB-56, has already been challenged in court on numerous grounds. But an unintended, but much welcomed consequence of the law has been a reawakening of the civil rights movement in the South.
The opposition to HB-56 planned and led a historic march from Selma to Montgomerry, Alabama, to recreate the famous march led by Martin Luther King Jr. at the start of the civil rights movement. Joining the Fair Immigration Reform Movement was the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, Rev Al Sharpton, and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis.
Here's what happened: the Catholic bishops' anti-poverty foundation is threatening to defund one of CIRC’s founding member organizations, Compañeros-Four Corners Immigrant Resource Center.
Why? Because of CIRC and Compañeros’ belief in equality for all Coloradans, including gay and transgender Coloradans.
In keeping with our dedication to build a Colorado that we all deserve, CIRC believes that all people should be treated fairly, valued for their differences, and provided equal opportunities to succeed. As part of this commitment, CIRC is partnering with One Colorado to build alliances with immigrant and gay communities.
Compañeros provides critical resources to all immigrants, including gay and transgender immigrants. But, when the Catholic hierarchy found out that Compañeros was a member organization of CIRC, which was associated with One Colorado, they threatened to rescind all funding.
Compañeros’s board voted to stand with all Coloradans, and to remain a member of CIRC. The following media campaign brought the issue to national attention with stories in the New York Times and the AP, as well as numerous blogs, Commentaries in the Denver Post with former Governor Ritter coming out in support of Compañeros and Sister Nancy doing the same in Pueblo.
Thanks to the work of Metro Organizations for People (MOP) in Aurora, community groups found out about a planned ICE surge at the Aurora Detention Facility, and were able to respond with a rally and vigil within a day. What made this 'surge' different was the ICE request for information about people out with a summons, those least likely to be a community risk.
As community groups mobilized, ICE fumbled, releasing conflicting statements and correcting them throughout the day. The whole event was tracked by Melanie Asmar at the Westword (Read her story here)
The 'surge' ended up leading to only 12 holds, none of which came from the summons review; but the damage in the community was done, as people stayed indoors for days until the 'surge' was done.
The question that begs asking is: was it worth it? In our opinion absolutely not, as the breach of trust with local police will continue to be an issue for months to come. Read More on AFSC Site
I wanted to give you all a recap of the training launch event that took place Saturday, March 24th at the Mi Casa Resource Center.
I am happy to report that the event was an overall success. We started right on time and finished early, so participants were able to enjoy the rest of their weekend and the gorgeous weather.
We provided two rounds of training on the N-400 Application for Naturalization and I-912 Application for Fee Waiver. This was the first time that we have offered training on the Fee Waiver, so it was helpful and interesting to receive the feedback that we did from our volunteers. We are currently in the process of implementing the Fee Waiver process in our upcoming citizenship workshops. Volunteers were given handouts for each training session.
I will be following up with our participants in a separate email, which will include more detailed information about our upcoming citizenship workshops.
Lunch was provided by Martha's Kitchen Catering, and she received great reviews. I would highly recommend her if your organization is considering catering options for your next event. Thank you to MOP for the referral.
I would like to thank everyone who helped make this event possible by providing support in different ways:
Thank you to Aaron Hall and Maria Monclova, our AILA representatives, for conducting the training sessions that day.
Thank you to Celia Reyes-Martinez with Mi Familia Vota for reserving the space at Mi Casa Resource Center and lending us her coffee maker. I contacted Mi Casa earlier this week to thank them on behalf of the Committee as well.
Thank you to Lynn Cordova with CIRC for providing support with logistics and office supplies.
Thank you to Julien with CIRC for providing introductions, assisting with setup and cleanup, and for making the coffee for our volunteers.
Thank you to Frank Tapy and MOP for providing the projector that Aaron used to facilitate his N-400 training sessions.
Thank you to Alan Kaplan with CIRC for assisting me with advertising the event on Facebook, Twitter, the CIRC webpage, and email blasts.
Thank you to Blanca Munoz and SEIU Local 105 for having the largest staff/representative presence at the event that day. Go SEIU!
Thank you to everyone who attended the event on that day, and for the support that you provided. It was and still is greatly appreciated.
Thank you to everyone for forwarding emails, spreading the word to your contacts, and making suggestions. Every little bit helps.
Unfortunately, we did not meet our projected goal of having at least 50 people attend the event. We hosted around 40 volunteers that day. However, we DO have a group of fresh faces ready and interested in assisting us with the citizenship workshops this year. A majority of our attendees had never participated in a workshop before, which suggests word is spreading about the kind of work that we do here. Interest is growing, and there is always ALWAYS a need. Moreover, I believe that this event served as a good starting point for the larger push that we need for future workshops.
After 8 months of advocacy, the Associacion de Jovenes Unidos en Accion (AJUA) finally got the chance to present their case for ICE / School Resource Officer separation to the RE-1 School Board.
The hearing was intense as 4 AJUA members presented and stood up to the withering storm of questions from School Board members. At the end, 2 school board members agreed to take the lead in negotiating a solution with the Police Departments of Glenwood Springs, Carbondale, and Basalt.
Unfortunately, the board members proceeded to meet with the police and agree to MOU language without input from AJUA. After reviewing the presented MOU, AJUA attempted to present their proposed changes, only to be told that there would be no further revisions to the pre-negotiated MOU.
The Memorandum stopped well short of the requested policy change. Instead it encouraged the police to use 'extraordinary discretion' in assigning ICE duties to school Resource Officers. The ACLU has said that 'extraordinary discretion' could be conceived as a legal limitation which they will continue to track. Unfortunately, without any enforcement clauses or overview procedures, AJUA felt that the agreement did not go far enough to make students feel safe at school.
While the School Board path to further advocacy is now closed, AJUA has decided to continue their advocacy and pursue a policy at the legislative level, while working hard to monitor MOU implementation in the Roaring Fork Valley.
In recent weeks there has been increased attention on the issue as Representative Roger Wilson took up the cause and promised to hold hearings. We will continue to update you on further developments.
Are you interested in living in a welcoming community where all individuals are treated with respect and dignity? If so, it’s time for you to get involved with WELCOMING COLORADO!
Communities across the state are still working together and promoting opportunities to bring together US born and immigrant communities to get to know one another by correcting misinformation, breaking down barriers and sharing stories. In Grand Junction, For example, monthly gatherings are taking place to build communities, share stories and learn about the diverse cultures living in the Grand Valley.
To get involved in welcoming activities in a community near you, contact:
Glenwood Springs/Western Slope: Eddie Soto, email@example.com
The event, which had volunteers helping dozens of immigrants with paperwork for naturalization, was hosted by Denver Public Schools and sponsored by the Ya Es Hora Committee and Entravision. More from the Event
Know Your Rights sessions are the best way to inform your community about the laws and rights every individual in US has. Contact a CIRC organizer in your region for more information about upcoming dates. Who is my organizer?
The announcement section is undergoing some development as we figure out the best way to bring you timely information. Please bear with us as we reconfigure.
May 18-19, 2012 – 5th Mile High Catholic Conference – Friday evening and Saturday
St Andrews United Methodist Church, Highlands Ranch
June 2, 2012 – Senior Law Day – WaterStone Community Church, 5890 South Alkire St.
A must if you have elderly parents or if a senior. Free information on wills, trust funds,living wills, legal and medical power of attorney, etc
June 12, 2012 – Conversations on Justice and Faith – particularly related to criminal justice and presented by Coalition for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition and Colorado Juvenile Defender Coalition – Loretto Center
July Possibility – The What and How of Intentional Communities by Carolyn Griffith who has authored a book on intentional communities and lives in one after experiencing living in a Catholic Worker house. More information in July.
To ensure you receive emails from CIRC, make sure you add all emails ending with @coloradoimmigrant.org to your address book. If you prefer not to receive future email from the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, please unsubscribe here.
Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition
2525 West Alameda Avenue
Denver, CO 80219
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