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Immigrants Stage Week-Long Boycott in Colorado

Aaron Glantz
OneWorld US
Thu., Mar. 29, 2007

SAN FRANCISCO, Mar 29 (OneWorld) - Immigrant rights activists in Colorado have launched a week-long economic boycott, saying they want to show how big an impact immigrants have on the economy.

"Immigrants have substantial buying power that is often taken for granted," Julien Ross of the Denver-based Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (CIRC) told OneWorld.

CIRC is calling on immigrants to refrain from buying anything but necessities this week. In addition, the group is urging supporters to pull most of their money out of bank accounts and take a week-long break before sending any money to relatives who live outside the United States.

"We need fair and just immigration reform now," Ross said. "Families are being divided and children are being orphaned by immigration raids; women and children are dying in the desert crossing into this country. We have a labor crisis in Colorado where farms cannot find enough workers to tend their crops. By any measure, we have a crisis here."

Last week lawmakers in Washington introduced the so-called STRIVE Act, which would allow undocumented immigrants to obtain legal residency in the United States after paying a fee and undergoing a background check. It would also create a program to allow nearly half a million people to enter the country each year to work low-skill jobs.

Some immigration reform proponents have already come out against the bill, which also includes a slew of measures to ratchet up security along the U.S.-Mexico border.

According to the American Friends Service Committee, "the STRIVE Act offers little to address the root causes of undocumented migration and contains several troubling provisions," including one that would require immigrants to leave the United States and re-enter before qualifying for legal immigration status.

The Nobel Peace Prize-winning organization, which has supported efforts to organize immigrants living in Colorado, said the bill does not meet fundamental standards of human rights.

This week's economic boycott in Colorado comes exactly one year after one the largest immigrant rights demonstrations in U.S. history.

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