Denver: Community Leaders Outraged by “Secure Communities Program”

From Colorado Indymedia, posted by Russell Bannan

DENVER, CO- Concerned community members, human rights advocates, journalists, clergy, business owners, authors, political activists, labor union leaders, and educators are outraged at Governor Bill Ritter’s Executive Order to introduce Colorado into the federal Secure Communities Program. This program authorizes law enforcement agencies to execute federal immigration laws, creating an environment conducive to racial profiling, harassment and discrimination targeting immigrants and Latinos residing or visiting the State of Colorado.

“This Executive Order is bad social and economic policy at a time when the Latino and immigrant community are besieged by anti-immigrant sentiment and additional funds necessary to implement this order will further strain limited state resources. The Executive Order is a wrongheaded approach to solve the immigration issue in Colorado. The implementation of these policies can hinder rather than attain public safety when it increases community mistrust of the police; the same people we should trust to protect us rather than racially profile us and separate us from our families.” stated Solomon Juarez, President of the Denver Metro Chapter of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA). “The impact of this policy will be felt not just by immigrants but also the broader Latino community.”

“Any legislation that will jeopardize the wellbeing of children and families in Colorado should not be implemented. Governor Ritter’s Executive Order will tear families apart and hurt the social fabric of communities in Colorado. Our communities deserve commonsense legislation that promotes public safety while ensuring the well-being of our children. We reap what we sow and we can do better than policies that leave households without breadwinners and children without their loved ones,” declared Bernadette Jiron, Denver Federation of Paraprofessionals and Nutrition Service Employees President.

Over 30 community leaders signed the Open Letter to Governor Ritter to address their concern of the Secure Communities Program. “We will not tolerate such an undemocratic order which incentivizes racial profiling, condones authoritarianism, and potentially divides our communities,” the letter continues by stating “Allowing the implementation of the Secure Communities Program would send a very troubling message and be viewed, by many, as a sign that state democracy and human rights are not valued or tolerated within Colorado. In our view, this would have negative consequences for the families directly affected, the state of Colorado itself, and the United States as a whole.”

Now more than ever, community leaders urge reversing the Executive Oorder that dishonors the rights and dignity of all people. The well-being and security of our nation depends on it.

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