Immigrant-rights activists kick off campaign

There's a painfully obvious division within the Denver population that's attributable to a broken immigration system, says Julie Gonzales, political coordinator for the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition.

"A lot of people within the immigrant community feel like they have to separate themselves -- like they have to hide. And on the other side, there are a lot of misconceptions, confusion and false information about immigrants that a lot of people believe," she says. "So, that's why we're here getting the facts out to everyone and informing them about what's really going on."

Gonzales, who joined the coalition in 2005, was one of many activists who occupied the west steps at the state Capitol yesterday to launch the Reform Immigration for America campaign, which is touring 22 cities nationwide. The goal is to fix the system "through a comprehensive legislative approach."

Gonzales believes there should be a "more efficient path to citizenship," and that workers' rights are enforced at the federal level. "Thankfully, Congress is finally taking positive action and helping us to reform the system," she says.

On Saturday, June 13, Congressman Jared Polis will unite with Archbishop Charles Chaput and Illinois Congressman Luis Gutierrez to encourage support and involvement in immigration reform. The event, which begins at 12:30 p.m. at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Northglenn, will give Americans the opportunity to share stories of how they've been negatively impacted by the current immigration system.

"Immigrants aren't the only people who are being affected," Gonzales says. "We're all being affected by it, which is why we're doing this: to get help and to get support."

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Josh Ezpinoza