Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Fuerza Latina in Fort Collins has organized an amazing vigil and rally tonight at 6:30pm to support human rights such as those of activist Elvira Arellano. If you are interested in carpooling we'll leave at 4:oo pm from the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition's offices. Please contact Gina Millan at 303-893-3500.

Below is a strong op ed in the Fort Collins paper, the Coloradoan, which discusses the need for reform and invites people out to the vigil.

Those facing deportation are people

Kimberly Baker Medina

"Just as they have beaten at my door, they are beating at the door of thousands, forcefully separating children and parents and causing terror and suffering .... I believe in my heart that the people of this nation do not have hate in their hearts, they don't want to destroy our lives, our families and our communities. I accept what God has sent me to accept. But I ask of my community ... to join together with me and ask that we walk together for our dignity. I ask everyone of conscience and good will to join with us... the 12th of September."

These words were written by Elvira Arrellano, from the Chicago church where she sought sanctuary for a year to avoid deportation and separation from her son, a U.S. citizen. When she left the church in August to promote Sept. 12 as a day to speak out against deportations, she was arrested and deported, leaving her son behind.

Elvira's arrest is significant not because it is unusual, but because it is common, even here, in Larimer County. Locally, authorities send about 30 people monthly to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for deportation. Since the beginning of 2006, about 10,000 people in Colorado have been processed for deportation. Every person deported leaves someone behind.

David couldn't get his baby girl to eat after ICE took his wife. His three U.S. citizen children, a 6-month old breastfeeding baby, a 2- and a 5-year old, were crying and looking for their mother, who was deported two days after her arrest, without saying goodbye to her children.

Harriet, an 80-year-old widow, lost her granddaughter and two great-granddaughters when her grandson-in-law was deported and his family accompanied him. Before his deportation, Harriet looked forward to their daily visits. Now, she spends her days alone, missing her girls.

Lisa's husband was turned over to ICE for a broken taillight after living here for 13 years. As Lisa and her 7-year-old son, both U.S. citizens, packed up daddy's things, her son couldn't stop crying. "I don't want my daddy to go to Mexico," he sobbed.

A person is no less human because she or he lacks immigration papers. Deportations destroy children and families and communities. The people deported in our community are your neighbors, co-workers, members of your church and your children's playmates. The majority have committed no crime other than to have no immigration papers. They came here to escape persecution or hunger, or to unite with family. They become part of our communities, our families and our economy.

Current immigration laws do little more than cause suffering and injustice. They don't allow people to enter legally to work or be with family, or legalize their status. We must stop punishing families for dysfunctional laws and devise an immigration system that works for families and for America.

Fuerza Latina, together with families, faith and community organizations, will have a vigil at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in Old Town Square in honor of Elvira and all families. Please join us.

Kimberly Baker Medina is an immigration attorney and a volunteer with Fuerza Latina. All of the people mentioned above are local residents of whom she has personal knowledge, whose names have been changed for privacy reasons. For more information about the vigil, contact Javier at 297-8951.

1 comment:

Domino said...

Many immigrants come here illegally, and have their babies here hoping we will not send them back. They want the free medical care, free school, free birth, free food.

The whole point is to have the children here.

Send them back and send back their children also.

She is a criminal and not just because of the immigration.

How many children are in school in the US that's mothers can not speak English? They kids start having problems in school around the age of 12. So they drop out, parents don't care, put them to work.

How is this good for the US?