Monday, July 30, 2007

AFSC got on K-GOAT!

This past Saturday Sarah Gill, Jordan Garcia and Gabriela Flora were on K-GOAT community radio in Idaho Springs, CO. It is an hour long show that highlights AFSC CO’s peace and immigration work along with an overview of AFSC’s philosophy and the interconnections of our work. The interview is an hour long. We think it is a great piece on the work that we do here at AFSC.

The interview will be permanently available at: (click on July 28, The AFSC organization & issue advocacy). K-GOAT is happy for us to use it to promote our work.

Friday, July 27, 2007

DREAM ACT update

While the Graham amendment to militarize the DREAM Act was taken off the table, the threat of further detention and militarization remains. Please continue to call your senators in opposition of including those.

"Update from AILA: The Senate just voted by 52-44 to sustain a ruling that the Graham amendment was not germane to the DHS appropriations debate. This means that we have dodged the horrible due process and detention “authorizing” language included in Graham’s amendment.

However, the Democrats and Republicans have reached a preliminary deal to include the funding portion of the amendment. It was very likely that the Democrats were going to be able to defend against the enforcement amendment so the Democrats accepted the funding as a compromise. Very unfortunately, the funding portion of the amendment may include 45,000 more detention beds, 23,000 border agents, and billions of dollars for enforcement. They are negotiating the text of the funding amendment now. Unfortunately, Dream and Agjobs are most likely off the table now."

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


The Senate will vote TODAY on two amendments!
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) will offer the Border Security First Act of 2007 as an amendment to the Homeland Security Appropriations bill (H.R. 2638). This enforcement-only amendment would do nothing but add to the dysfunction of our system and the suffering of hard working immigrants. It must be OPPOSED!

In response, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) will offer a side-by-side amendment to the Graham amendment. This positive amendment would provide limited, targeted relief to deserving immigrant populations. However, we do not agree with increased militarization of the border as provided for in this amendment and must let our senators know so. SUPPORT!

Please CONTACT both as soon as possible
(303) 220-7414
(202) 224-5941

(866) 455-9866
(202) 224-5852
Please call ... the vote could happen soon.

My name is_______. I live in ________. I OPPOSE the Graham amendment that would:

  1. Take away localities freedom to choose to be a "sanctuary city" and remove our right to ban law enforcement from collecting immigration status by penalizing our cities
  2. Increased detention beds
  3. Expedite removal
  4. Indefinite detention
  5. Expand "criminal aliens" definitions: Subjecting visa overstayers to mandatory detention, raising serious cost and constitutional concerns;
  6. More money to flood the border with patrol agents and more National Guard on the border
  7. Increased penalties for minor visa overstays
I SUPPORT the Reid side-by-side amendment that would:
  1. Include the DREAM Act.I your support the option for college as a path to citizenship and support adding a community service path. Leaving military service as the only other option furthers the poverty draft.
  2. Include AgJOBS , ensuring legal status for workers and stable labor for farmers.
  3. BUT OPPOSE any further militarization of the border as provided for in the amendment.

Call your Senators and then call your friends and tell them about this Urgent Action Alert! Encourage them to take action on these important amendments!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


The senate is considering the defense bill right now. The DREAM Act is an amendment to that bill. THe DREAM Act in its current state allows undocumented students who have been in the US for more than five years, to legalize their status by attending college or joining the military.

Right now the anti-immigrant movement is calling senators to demand that they remove the choice of college. This would leave many students to choose between a life in the shadows and military service. While some students are interested in joining the military, even they do not believe service should be forced upon their peers who are not interested.

Call or email your senators every day this week and tell them that you support the Durbin, Hagel, Lugar Amendment (aka the DREAM Act) and tell them you support college as an option for children who are undocumented.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Stop the Raids

We demand that President Bush issue an executive order to end the raids.

Recent History of the Raids

Highlights from the Rally
Today we participated in a protest to end the Immigration Raids. It was a great experience and the 50 of us who were there were louder than a hundred people. The speakers were amazing. Hashim Malik from the Muslim American Society, Reverend Demmer of the Black Ministerial Alliance and Dora Medina of CIRC with Polly Baca from La Rasa as Master of Ceremonies.

While the protest had been planned for some weeks, another raid occurred in Greeley on Monday. The raid was much smaller and targeted, but it was still a raid.

We protested today to end raids that split families and target workers.

Here in Colorado we have experienced many raids and with increasing frequency. Each raid is smaller but seems designed to terrorize the community more.

9/20/2006 Buckley Air Force Base. 195 people are detained in the middle of the day.

12/06/2006 Greeley as part of an ICE action which occurred in six states. Some of the people detained and later deported were US citizens or legal immigrants who could not prove there status on the spot. Unless you carry your birth certificate with you at all times, you do not have acceptable proof of your status either. These raids occurred during the day, albeit early in the morning, at the factories. The employers were not penalized, although they later had to sell the factory in Greeley because they lost so much production because of the raids.

2/22/2007 The next raid occurred in Denver in the middle of the night. It targeted immigrants who worked cleaning restaurants and detained about 16 people. The raids happened at several locations and the names of those being detained were not released. The contractor and the restaurants weren't penalized.

4/17/2007 Then there was a raid in Center, CO at a potato packing plant. This one happened also in the morning. Again the names and locations of those being detained were withheld. Those detained were transported to Denver the next day.

5/24/2007 Pueblo. Raids in the middle of the night at the homes of immigrants. Immigrants report that three or four agents would enter the home and several more would wait outside. Immigrants report that the agents were rude and insulting and that they were not allowed to get dressed before being detained.

6/22-6/24/2007 Dillon. Officials strike in the middle of the day executing warrants at a few locations. They also begin questioning people on the street and detain several people including one from a bus stop and another who was selling ice cream from a cart.

7/10/2007 Greeley... again. Swift plant... again. Two people arrested and this time more quietly.

While the most recent raid appeared to have warrants for the two people arrested, the message is clear. You are not safe on the street, in your home, or at work anytime of day or night.

Even more disturbing is that the major papers in Colorado did not report on the raids in Dillon or Pueblo except to copy and paste the ICE release. The silence around the escalating tactics feeds indifference.

The raids are wrong because they violate human rights, because they do not address any of the underlying issues of immigration,
because they do not change the situation and because their intent is not to resolve the problems of immigration but to intimidate and terrorize people.

For those reasons we demand that President Bush issue an executive order to end the raids.

Dora Medina spoke about the dreams that immigrants bring to this country as well as the poverty and persecution they are escaping. She spoke about the immigrant contributions of hard work and cultural diversity. She challenged those who are anti-immigrant to invest the same energy in the helping the homelessness, the sick, the poor, the elderly and children.

Hashim Malik spoke about the terror tactics of the raids and the hypocrisy of opposing these tactics in other countries while using them at home. He stated that the reason to oppose the raids is not a legalistic one, but a moral one. That all of us have an obligation to serve and defend those who are weakest among us.

The Reverend Demmer spoke about the words that we use in the United States. That we have some of the most beautiful words and expressions for
democracy, hope and peace. He read the words from the Statue of Liberty.

"Give me your tired, your poor,
r huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.
I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

He spoke of the War in Iraq and how we claim to set all people free. He asked the government how it can claim to oppose terror abroad and enact it at home. He asked us if these words from the Statue of Liberty are empty symbols or if we still embody them.

We stayed here for two hours. Speaking, circling and chanting.
Two of my favorites

"No Justice, No Peace"

"What do we need ICE for? Lemonade"

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

CFIR Featured on My Hispanic Network!
Follow this link for the complete article! ~ Jordan T

Non Profit Spot Light!

CFIR is responsible for organizing highly succseful events, rallies and educational programs in and around Colorado. The group's main focus is on protecting the rights of immigrants as human beings and educating the outside world in an effort to improve conditions. CFIR upholds a core of beliefs that are:
Immigrants deserve to be treated with respect.
Immigrants enrich our communities and culture and should have a voice in the decisions that affect them.
Allies, with the guidance of immigrants, can help change the climate for immigrants in our communities through education and outreach.
Working for justice for immigrants helps us build an inclusive and loving society for all of us.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Pictures from the Migrant Trail Walk 2007

The view from the back of the 'sag wagon.'

CFIR member Tom Kowal at work in his coordinating efforts.

CFIR member Chandra Russo walks with a cross bearing the name of a Migrant lost to desert this year.

CFIR member Jessica Sanchez volunteered for the Medic Team, serving the 50+ participants walking a total of 76 miles.

All photographs courtesy of professional photographer, Scott Griessel, who has shared more photos of the first couple of days of the Walk, at:

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

CFIR Members participate in Migrant Trail Walk

Amig@s – most of you know that 4 of us from Colorado, and more than 50 others from all over the country, participated in the Migrant Trail Walk again this year. The Walk goes the 76 miles from Sasabe, Sonora to Tucson, during the week after Memorial Day. There are great pictures by a professional photographer, Scott Griessel, of the first couple of days of the Walk, at:

At the end of the Walk there was a press conference, where many of the participants spoke far more eloquently than I about the experience and why we do it each year. But I have only my own notes, which I’ve pasted below. After Kat Rodriquez’ [Derechos Humanos, Tucson] spoke of the ongoing tragedy on the Border, my part was:

The reason this suffering and these deaths are occurring is that our immigration system is broken. The laws need to change – 5000 deaths on this border in the past 10 years – each brave one lost to his or her family, each a loss to all of us. This migration cannot be stopped by the cruel policies of driving migrants into the desert – it will not be stopped by a 15 foot wall or a triple 30-foot wall. The people come because there are jobs here, and they are desperate to feed their families. The only solution is fair and realistic immigration reform.

We call for immediate reform to provide an adequate number of work visas, for the unification of families, and for the recognition of the contributions that immigrants are making – have always made – to both countries. We call for a path to citizenship for those who come here and want to remain, and for SAFE passage over these borderlands for all. We call for an immediate end to the militarization of the border, and NO MORE DEATHS.

Paz y Luz --

Tom Kowal