Public outcry over the conditions in which undocumented immigrants are being housed is getting louder across the country, including in Colorado. Today, July 2, while D.C. politicians are back home for the Fourth of July holiday, protesters will gather throughout the state to protest the federal government's immigration enforcement policies.
The main protest will take place at noon outside of Senator Cory Gardner's office in Denver, and participants will demand that Gardner oppose giving more money to federal immigration enforcement authorities.
"We want him to understand that what this administration does with more funding is just more harm," says Lupe Lopez, a mother of five and organizer of the event who is currently in deportation proceedings.
Organizers are also requesting that Gardner push to close child detention camps along the border and that he help reunite separated families. Indivisible Front Range Resistance, the American Friends Service Committee and #Not1More, organizations that fight the Trump administration's immigration policies, are behind the event in Denver. Protesters will be delivering a letter with those demands to Gardner and also bring an altar with photos of separated family members and people who died in Immigration and Customs Enforcement or Customs and Border Protection custody into his office.
Gardner's take on immigration is more nuanced than that of many of his fellow Republican colleagues. The Colorado senator supports a path to citizenship for those who qualify for Deferred Action Childhood Arrival, or DACA. And last summer, Gardner also urged the Trump administration to stop separating migrant children from their families.
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In March, however, Gardner voted against a congressional resolution that would have blocked President Trump's national emergency declaration, which he planned to use to fund a border wall.
"I can’t say that he’s an ally," says Lopez about Gardner. "But we do want to keep inviting him and continue to take a message to him and other senators about our communities and to invite them to become more involved and engaged in our communities."
Protesters will also gather in Alamosa outside of Republican congressman Scott Tipton's office, and in Grand Junction and Salida. Immigrant-rights activists are also planning to meet at Congressman Joe Neguse's office in Boulder to thank him with handwritten notes for his support for immigrants.
On June 21, over 200 protesters gathered outside of the immigration detention facility in Aurora to honor individuals who have died crossing the border or while in custody of federal immigration law enforcement. On July 12, over 1,000 protesters are expected to return to the facility.