Illegal Immigrants And Supporters Rally In Denver
Denver Post has story and photos. Also some raw video footage of the crowds disrupting traffic:
An estimated 50,000 people marched in front of the state Capitol on Saturday and packed Civic Center, waving Mexican flags and signs urging Congress to defeat a bill that would make illegal immigration a federal felony.Colorado's businesses and economy, however, managed to get through Saturday without a problem. Much more nonsense about "undocumented workers" doing jobs that Americans won't do, and the difficulty for farmers who need day laborers.
With prompting from speakers using microphones, the crowd chanted "Sí, se puede," or "Yes, we can," a saying popularized by César Chávez, the late human-rights activist and farm labor leader.
"It's just incredible," yelled rally participant Polly Baca, a former state legislator, as a large Mexican band played music at "The Time Is Now Rally."
"You can see that a day without these people working would be devastating for Colorado's economy," she said.
9NEWS has video.
CBS4 has video.
Michelle Malkin has a national roundup, and WELCOME TO RECONQUISTA.
Instapundit has a roundup as well.
Plus, more on last week's illegal immigrant trafficking story:
WIGGINS - The traffic in illegal immigrants and northeastern Colorado's resident Hispanics, some of whom may be illegal immigrants themselves, blend together into one population in the eyes of people who live and work along Interstate 76 in Morgan County. . .Information on the crashes here and here and the legislation appearing in Colorado to deal with some aspects of illegal immigration and trafficking:
. . .The interstate's role as a conduit for illegal immigrants was highlighted last week when four vehicles carrying Mexican workers crashed near Brush, on the east side of the rural county 90 miles from Denver. Two other wrecks involving illegal immigrants, who were quickly flown back to Mexico at taxpayers' expense, occurred in eastern Colorado in the aftermath of the same storm, which turned roads dangerous to drivers inexperienced in driving on snow and ice.
Law enforcement officials and local residents regularly see vehicles that they suspect are ferrying illegal immigrants to points east and west.
"With the need for agricultural workers beginning to increase, there will be more travelers in the next few weeks," Morgan County Sheriff Jim Crone said. "If we went out and focused on the interstate, I think we could get two or three loads of people a day, with anywhere from 10 to 25 people in a load. And that would overtax our jail."
The vehicles usually used for human transport are late-model vans, SUVs and extended-bed pickup trucks with camper shells, the sheriff said. They are usually white, silver or another neutral color. Sometimes, the windows are tinted. The vans usually have no pinstriping, custom wheel covers or anything else that would make them distinctive.
Meanwhile, two bills concerning illegal immigration passed out of committee on Monday. The bills would substantially increase penalties for smuggling and trafficking illegal immigrants.Four accidents and two traffic stops, in one day, yielded 70 illegal immigrants. This is but a sliver of the 500 state patrol encounters per week--probably less than a quarter of the total number--that pass through Colorado each day. Their reward? A free plane ride back to Mexico. . .
Sen. Peter Groff, D-Denver, said he wants to make human smuggling a violation of state law (Senate Bill 206) because he said federal immigration authorities haven't been enforcing the federal law against it.
Another measure (Senate Bill 207) would make human trafficking a violation of state law. That's when people are sold or forced into indentured servitude or sex. Currently, only children are protected from that under state law; Groff's proposal would add anyone 16 and older.
Each week state troopers came across more than 500 illegal immigrants during their patrols. That includes an average of four vanloads of immigrants smuggled into and across this country, according to a recent survey by the State Patrol that was released last week by Senate Democrats.
The measures are aimed at the smugglers and the traffickers themselves, not the immigrants they profit from. However, another proposal (Senate Bill 90) from Sen. Tom Wiens, R-Sedalia, would require that law enforcement agencies notify federal immigration officials about any illegal immigrants they arrest.
Just going after and imprisoning six smugglers a year has an estimated pricetag of $2.6 million over five years. State law requires that any new crime has to carry with it a five-year plan for building and operating new prison beds. Legislative analysts base their estimates on two people being convicted under the new law and four others charged with other crimes also being charged and eventually convicted of smuggling.
Groff said the aim is to make smugglers afraid to cross Colorado.
"If anyone thinks this is going to solve the problem of illegal immigration, they'll be disappointed. But certainly it's going to make a substantive impact," Groff said.