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August 3, 2006

thoughts on a paralyzed community

For the past month, we've noticed depression, anxiety and fear among our local immigrant friends. We've been asking other friends living in Denver's metro area if they've noticed similar attitudes. To some extent they have, but it seemed to us that the fears were more pronounced here in Northern Colorado.

We're not the only ones noticing.

"Immigrants here are living in constant fear - fear to go grocery shopping, fear of driving their children to school, or even to go to church," An article in today's Rocky Mountain News states that advocates in Northern Colorado claim law enforcement is singling out Hispanics.

From January to May (5 months), Larimer County turned 3 people over to ICE for deportation. From May to the beginning of August (3 months), they've turned over 41. Larimer County Sherriff Jim Alderden denies any racial profiling, but I too question it.

How have the families in our circle been affected? Two weeks ago, one family disappeared. Phone numbers have been disconnected. The apartment is empty. We're trying to contact them through friends in New Mexico. Another couple is moving to the East Coast in one week. A husband and father was detained by ICE for one and a half weeks. His paperwork had been in process but he had allowed it to lapse. He should be able to reinstate his status, but at great expense to himself and his family. Employers are afraid. Workers are afraid and in some cases jobless. A food bank ministry in Broomfield has gone from serving 70 families per week on average to serving 150 families per week. The sharp increase happened 5 weeks ago. It was the same time when we noticed the fear grip our community.

The changes that Governor Owens signed into law are not as horrendous as he and the Colorado GOP had hoped, but they are pushing our immigrants into other states. Good for political posturing, a shame for Colorado.

Rather than end this post on a depressing note, here are some ways to take action. The National Immigration Law Center's series, Know Your Rights, is a tremendous resource.

Some of the titles you'll find are: "Know your rights at home and at work"; "What to do if you are arrested or detained by immigration"; "Know your rights when taking action"; and "Immigrant Protests: What every worker should know"

Most of their articles are available in English and Spanish. Some are also in Chinese and Korean. Use these resources proactively to educate yourself, your friends and your neighbors.

Go to www.matt.org and participate in the polls and dialogue there.

You can grab your elected official's attention by sending a work glove as a pro-immigrant statement.

Above all, pray for and be a friend to the immigrant.

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' Matthew 25:35-36

Posted by almamia at August 3, 2006 6:56 AM


I noticed you mentioned matt.org, you might be interested in reading a post I did on them. See that your pro-immigration, lets say, MATT is not what you think they really are.


Posted by: XP [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 3, 2006 7:33 PM

Thanks for your comment, xicanopwer.

Your post is interesting and I would love to know who Sosa's co-founders are (if it is John Tanton I will go insane). You mention, "In surfing through the website, Matt.org tends to play more to the highly acculturated Hispanic group, those who are more likely to be U.S.-born and raised and upper-class." I think you're right.

You also mention some of the racist comments that tend to dominate the discussion at matt. I personally only visited a forum once on matt.org and never returned because of similar comments. I would like to see matt nix the comments because people who rant in such a way are not "thinking together". Thanks for the word of caution.

I still contend that the polls on matt.org are a good place for people like you and I to let our voices be heard -- if we fail to do that their polls will start looking like those coming out of the Center for Immigration Studies or Numbers USA.

Posted by: Alma Mia [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 3, 2006 9:45 PM

You are correct about being part of the polls at matt.org because tilt it one way, especially if the other side are looking to MATT for their opinion.

Posted by: XP at August 19, 2006 11:48 AM

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