Glenwood Springs to host vigil for immigration reform
December 16, 2009
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Glenwood Springs will be one of five mountain communities holding vigils this Friday in support of a new immigration reform bill introduced in Congress on Tuesday.
The vigil, organized by the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (CIRC), will take place at 6 p.m. Friday in Sayre Park. Similar vigils will take place at the same time in Avon, Dillon, Telluride and Gunnison, said Chandra Russo, spokesperson for the coalition.
The vigils are being held in conjunction with the International Day of the Migrant, a day established by the United Nations to honor the contributions of migrant workers and to protect the rights of migrants, Russo said.
“Today marks a critical step in the right direction,” CIRC said in a statement of support for the “Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America’s Security Act and Prosperity,” introduced by U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) on Tuesday. “Backed by a broad coalition and with more than 70 co-sponsors, this legislation is the right step to fix our outdated and unrealistic immigration system.”
Joining as co-sponsors of the bill were four Democratic Colorado legislators, Reps. Jared Polis, John Salazar, Diana DeGette and Ed Perlmutter.
Russo said Glenwood Springs and the other sites were chosen for the vigils because they are resort communities, or in proximity to resort communities, and the resort industry is heavily dependent on migrant workers, she noted.
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“A lot of the communities are also where we have folks who are the most interested in getting involved,” Russo said. “Glenwood Springs has been active in wanting to do something for about the past three months.”
Glenwood and other communities located downvalley from Aspen are also where a large number of immigrant workers reside because there is more affordable housing, she said.
“It is striking how Colorado’s ski communities are getting involved for the first time,” said the CIRC press release announcing the vigils. “Colorado’s three billion dollar ski business is the second largest industry in the state. Working in construction, food services, and hotels, immigrant workers, many here on guest worker visas, are critical in ski country and to the state economy as a whole.”
Brendan Greene, a community organizer with CIRC, commented, “While they’ve been ready for it, this is the first time Colorado’s ski towns – immigrants and allies alike – are getting in on the discussion. These workers are the backbone of the ski industry, and they’re speaking out, excited to support the comprehensive reform bill we expect to be introduced.”
Vigils are also being planned along the Front Range in Denver, Colorado Springs and Pueblo, as well as in Grand Junction and Montrose.