Roaring Fork Valley businesses join ‘buy-cott’ calling for immigration reform
Post Independent Staff
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Supporters of comprehensive immigration reform are being asked to patronize local businesses that also support legislation aimed at providing a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
So far, some 200 businesses throughout Colorado’s Third Congressional District, including more than 40 in the Roaring Fork Valley, have signed on to the “buy-cott” campaign led by a coalition of state and local immigrant rights groups, according to Carbondale resident Alex Alvarado, a founding member of the student group Association of Youth United in Action (AJUA).
“There is no real pathway to citizenship for 11 million people,” Alvarado said. “AJUA is participating in this statewide campaign … asking businesses to display a poster showing their support for a pathway to citizenship for immigrants in our valley.”
From Aug. 4-10, supporters are asked to help boost sales at local businesses that display the poster, which declares that immigration reform is in the best interests of “families, community and the economy.”
The campaign urges Congress, including Third District Rep. Scott Tipton, to back reasonable immigration reform.
“We are proud to support a road map to citizenship,” said Tom Hays, assistant general manager of Sunlight Mountain Resort, at a press conference held in front of the Sunlight Ski and Bike Shop on Ninth Street in downtown Glenwood Springs Monday.
“Our Latino community is very important to us and to our business,” Hays said. “We do have a fairly high number of seasonal employees who are Hispanic, and we are proud to have them as part of our Sunlight family.”
Immigration reform will not only keep families together that are often split due to differing immigration statuses, it will help unite the Latino and Anglo segments of the community, said Francisco Curiel, co-owner of the family run Señor Taco restaurant in Carbondale.
“We must remain united as families, and it’s important to speak about the issue of immigration as a community,” he said in Spanish while Alvarado interpreted in English. “We must love each other, and show our children that we can work together and have no more division.”
Anali Garcia, who will be a junior at Roaring Fork High School in Carbondale, spoke of the struggles of being a U.S.-born citizen herself while many of her family members do not have citizenship.
“When I was 14, my uncle got deported, and my cousins were so depressed they wouldn’t even eat,” Garcia related. “I had to be mom to my cousins and support my aunt while she worked. I had to be the strong one for the family.”
A proposed immigration reform bill passed in the U.S. Senate 68-32 last month, and is now before the House where members, including Tipton, will likely vote in the coming weeks. It would create a 13-year path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million people Alvarado referred to who are now in the U.S. illegally.
Garfield County Commissioner Tom Jankovsky, a part owner and general manager of Sunlight Resort, also attended the Monday press conference but did not speak at the event.
In a short interview with the Post Independent afterwards, Jankovsky expressed his support for immigration reform, as long as it includes provisions such as stepped-up border security and English language instruction as part of the citizenship process.
“When 30 percent of our residents in Garfield County are Latino, and much of that community living in the shadows, it is an issue that needs to be addressed,” Jankovsky said. “A pathway for these people to become documented citizens makes sense.”
Asked if he would consider introducing a resolution of support for immigration reform to his fellow county commissioners, he said it’s a conversation he’d like to have.
“I would need to get one more vote,” Jankovsky said. “But I know for me as a commissioner, it is an important issue.”
Glenwood Springs immigration attorney Jennifer Smith called on Tipton to take a firm stand on the issue and to support immigration reform when the vote comes up.
“Immigration reform is central to the growth of our economy,” she said. “We need to get that message out that our representatives should enact common sense reform.
“This is an opportunity to speak with our pocket books and show our representatives how important this issue is for us,” Smith said.
Participating businesses are also asked to lobby Tipton to support the legislation. While supportive of recent efforts to give relief to young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children and who have attended schools here, Tipton has not publicly stated his support for the immigration reform measure now before the House.
Similar press conference events announcing the buy-cott campaign also took place Monday in Grand Junction, Denver and Pueblo.
A list of participating businesses locally and elsewhere in the state can be found on the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition website, at http://www.coloradoimmigrant.org.
For more information about the campaign, contact Sophia Clark with CIRC, at (970) 948-0963 or email@example.com
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