“…it was timely to bring the whole state here to really show the voice of immigrants as an important voice to need to effect change in our communities.”
Immigrant rights advocates gathered recently at the 10th annual CIRC annual assembly in Aurora. Nicole Melaku, Executive Director of The Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (CIRC) told KGNU’s Rossana Longo Better that Aurora was selected as a location due to the 2017 municipal elections. “We thought it was timely to bring the whole state here to really show the voice of immigrants as an important voice to need to effect change in our communities.”
In the wake of current federal policy towards immigrants, community activists are working at a local level to enact legislation and policy to protect immigrants. Denver recently passed The Community Safety Ordinance, one such effort that limits local co-operation with ICE.
Melaku says that in the most recent legislative session, state and municipal representatives were following suit of the Trump administration and really trying to drum up anti-immigrant sentiment. She points to legislation that was introduced at the state house that would have punished communities who declare themselves to be sanctuary communities for undocumented immigrants.
The CIRC annual assembly was held ahead of the 2017 municipal elections, however Melaku says that this year’s elections are a building block for the mid-terms next year, when many state legislature seats will be up for grabs. “In particular having some leverage with representatives in the State and the House for key races, will really help us impart change by moving pro-immigrant policy at the state legislature.”
The CIRC assembly was an opportunity for state immigration rights leaders and the 71 organizations represented in CIRC, to identify core issues, from making drivers licenses more accessible for undocumented immigrants to passing legislation to protect DACA students.
Rossana Longo Better is the KGNU/League of Women Voters Boulder County public policy/media intern.