Unity march for immigration reform announced

GREELEY Colo. – Organizers of a community service group today announced a Unity March on May 2 starting at 1 p.m. here. Greeley is about 60 miles north of Denver.

Undocumented and documented Latino communities here have been under constant attack for the past 29 months, community members charged. On Dec. 12, 2006, Greeley was one of the six sites where Swift & Company meat packing plants were raided by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.

Local group, Al Frente de Lucha, said they responded immediately to the raids by providing aid to the distressed families. Many of the workers detained were from Mexico, Guatemala, and El Salvador. Three-fourths of the more than 400 children affected were United States citizens, the group said.

“Months wore on and families dealt with conditions in federal detention and family separation, while their children were faced with chaos and terror,” the group said in a press release.

In the ICE raid’s wake, local officials conducted more raids and house searches. On October 17, 2008, Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck acquired a search warrant for Amalia’s Translation and Tax Service, according to news reports. The county’s sheriff department executed the warrant, which requested records for two years: 2006 and 2007.

Instead, the sheriff’s department confiscated over six-years of tax records, amounting to over 5,000 records, according to reports.

Calling it Operation Numbers Game, the DA charged that they had over 1,338 cases of suspected identity theft. Along with the sheriff’s department law enforcement began house to house searches and arrests based on the confiscated tax records.

“The terror in the Greeley community reached new heights. Yet, we have achieved a major victory in this case, thanks in large part to the ACLU supporting Amalia Cerrillo and many of her customers in a civil lawsuit. However, our community remains polarized and tensions remain high,” Al Frente de Lucha said.

“Our communities are ready to come together and move forward in solidarity. Supporters are invited to march with us as we express our continued commitment to just and humane immigration reform and universal human rights. We unite our voices and call for an end to inhumane raids and abuse at the hands of Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials. We believe that this change must come from the bottom up, directly from the voices of immigrant communities. Only we understand how vital it is to stop the militarization of our border and respective communities.”

The march will start at Island Grove Park, 514 N. 14th Ave. For Denver and surrounding area participants there will be caravans and carpooling.

From Aurora: 16th and Dallas (Creative Options School) meet at 9:30 a.m.; From Denver: 12th & Mariposa (Lincoln Park) meet at 10:00 a.m.; From Longmont: Skyline High School (600 E Mountain View Ave) parking lot, meet at 11:30 a.m.; From Boulder: 3970 Broadway, Suite 105 (Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center) at 11:30 a.m.