Carbondale activists urge Roaring Fork Valley residents to take stand on immigration issues | PostIndependent.com

Carbondale activists urge Roaring Fork Valley residents to take stand on immigration issues

Scott Condon
The Aspen Times
Sandra Lopez and her son Edwin embrace after Lopez and her 2-year-old daughter Areli leave sanctuary in August in Carbondale, as Rev. Shawna Foster and Sophia Clark with the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, look on.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

Former Pitkin County Commissioner Dorothea Farris is helping lead the Roaring Fork Valley effort in a statewide initiative to take a stand on immigration issues.

Farris, a Carbondale-area resident, is urging elected officials and residents to sign the People’s Resolution, which calls for creating a pathway for citizenship for undocumented people. On Thursday, she presented the resolution to the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority’s board of directors, which is made up of elected officials from Aspen to New Castle.

“It is time for us as individuals to speak up on issues that are important to us,” Farris said.

She noted that she was welcomed with open arms to the Roaring Fork Valley when she moved from New Jersey early in adulthood. She believes it is still a place that is welcoming to those moving in from elsewhere.

Farris suggested immigrants are getting portrayed in a negative light with all of the controversy created by President Trump’s policies.

“I don’t hear much positive talk,” she said. “I just hear the problems we have.”

So, she got involved in the People’s Resolution with the goal to “protect those who live here and work for us,” she said.

To bring the issue to life, Roaring Fork Valley resident Sandra Lopez, who took sanctuary at the Two Rivers Unitarian Universalists’ parsonage in Carbondale for 10 months, spoke at the RFTA meeting.

“We need support because the system is very unfair,” Lopez said, referring to the citizenship process.

She was in sanctuary from Oct. 19, 2017 until Aug. 20. She emerged after court and immigration actions assured she could leave and continue fighting her case without the threat of immediate deportation.

Lopez estimated she has paid $40,000 in legal fees over eight years while working for citizenship. She took sanctuary to assure her family, which includes three children, could remain together.

Her case is among those of four women who have sought sanctuary in Colorado, which are highlighted on the People’s Resolution website.

RFTA’s board didn’t take a formal vote on the resolution. It may consider a position at its January meeting. However, several board members signed the resolution following the discussion. Farris also asked them to raise the issue with their councils or boards of county commissioners. Aspen Councilwoman Ann Mullins, a candidate for mayor, asked Farris to make the presentation to the Aspen board.

According to the People’s Resolution website, the steps it is urging Congress to take include:

• Create a path for all temporary protected status holders to legal permanent residency.

• Maintain our commitment to human rights by protecting asylum seekers.

• Restore paths to legal permanent residency for parents of U.S. citizen children by repealing the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996.

• Restore paths to citizenship by giving back to judges the discretion to consider personal character by repealing the IIRIRA.

• Create a transparent and timely path, fulfilling our promise to families, by eliminating quotas that mean decades of waiting for millions of parents and their children.

Organizers are touting the People’s Resolution as a nonpartisan effort. Once signatures are collected from individuals, entities and local elected officials, the resolution will be presented to the Colorado Legislature, the governor and the congressional delegation.

Anyone interested can find more on the resolution and sign it at http://www.peoplesresolution.org.

scondon@aspentimes.com


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