Hispanics in Colorado’s 5th District reject border closure 

Con Voz y Voto Hispanics in Colorado's 5th District reject border closure  Hispanos del Distrito 5 de Colorado rechazan cierre de la frontera

VOZ Y VOTO | Jerima King, educator; Gabriel Valle, pastor and builder; Kristiana Huitrón, non-profit organization executive; and Ricardo Novelo, entrepreneur. (Photos/El Comercio de Colorado)


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At a recent event organized by El Comercio de Colorado, Hispanic voters from the 5th Congressional District shared their views on the need for immigration reform in the United States. The opinions of the panelists, Kristiana Huitrón, Gabriel Valle, Jerima King, and Ricardo Novelo, contrast with the anti-immigrant tone of the authorities in El Paso County, where they all reside.

In recent weeks, authorities from these counties indicated that new migrants were not welcome and urged the federal government to close the border immediately and indefinitely. Additionally, the elected Sheriff of that county is suing Colorado to suspend legislation that prohibits them from indefinitely detaining people without immigration status who are detained for other crimes. The Sheriff aims to hand these detainees over to ICE.

Hispanos del Distrito 5 de Colorado rechazan cierre de la frontera

Do you think immigration reform would be beneficial for Colorado’s 5th District?

Gabriel Valle: Absolutely. We need to reevaluate current legislation to include a large community that is currently excluded. If we continue to deny opportunities to immigrants, we will see many families, both Hispanic and mixed, affected. We will see chaos that impacts those who are denied rights and those of us who have rights now. I don’t think the current legislation is the healthiest. It should be reevaluated, and a comprehensive reform based on Christian charity should be advanced.

Should immigration reform include closing the U.S. border?

Kristiana Huitrón: I am not in favor of closed borders anywhere. Borders are not natural; they are political agreements. I believe every human being has the right to migrate. I do think we need an organized way to welcome people that isn’t chaotic. I work with abuse victims, and I know that having a legal path and being documented is powerful.

It is a step towards security and the promise of the American dream. I think many want to maintain chaos to avoid giving power to those migrants. I want reform, and I want people around the world to have the option to come here if they want and to have a better life. I don’t want them to live hidden under the table.

Imagine you have the new congressperson for Colorado’s 5th District in front of you. What would you ask them to include in immigration legislation being discussed in Congress?

Ricardo Novelo: That a clear procedure be established so that people can obtain legal status. There are many Hispanics here who came legally and are doing well. They have been able to establish themselves. Other people with ITIN pay their taxes, rent, or buy their homes. I understand that decision processes take time, years, because time in politics is very slow; it moves slowly. It’s not about letting everyone in. It’s about facilitating access to those who come to work.

Hispanos del Distrito 5 de Colorado rechazan cierre de la frontera

What message do you have for those who currently oppose more migrants entering the U.S.?

Jerima King: I would first like to explain to them that the people coming through the southern border have suffered a lot just to get here, and these people are turning themselves in to authorities to begin the terrible process we have. We have a process that is broken and doesn’t work.

Instead of having so many police officers at the border, there should be more social workers, more lawyers, more judges to help in that entry process because most people come to have a better life. It’s not fair that because there is a possibility of a terrorist entering, we deport thousands of people who came to this country.

Watch the “Voz y Voto” podcast with Hispanic voters in Colorado’s 5th Congressional District

Hispanos del Distrito 5 de Colorado rechazan cierre de la frontera

“VOZ Y VOTO” PODCAST| with Hispanic voters in Colorado’s 5th Congressional District. (Video/El Comercio de Colorado)

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