EDWARDS, Colorado - Anziel Duarte worries about his mom and dad, that he might come home one day to find one of them gone, deported back to Mexico.
Duarte, a senior at Eagle Valley High School, was one of about 30 people who gathered Wednesday at the northeast corner of the stoplight in Edwards to rally for immigration reform. Waving a combination of professionally printed and hand-lettered signs, the group shouted slogans including, roughly, "the people, united, will never be defeated," and the old United Farmworkers' Union chant of "Si se puede," or "Yes we can."
The group also waved signs asking for U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton's help in passing federal immigration reform in this session of Congress. The local rally was one of many held across the country Wednesday, including a big one in Washington, D.C., that National Public Radio reported drew "thousands" of people to the U.S. Capitol.
The rally was put together with the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition and a local group, the Hispanic Movement of Eagle County.
One of the local group's leaders is Alex Soto, who has been in the country for nearly 20 years. Soto's two children were born in Vail, and attend Gypsum Elementary School.
With Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition representative Brendan Greene acting as an interpreter, Soto said for he and the others standing in the snow Wednesday, the rally was a call to action at the federal level.
"We contribute every day to the country and the county," Soto said. "We hope Scott Tipton hears us."
Soto said he hopes federal legislation will provide a path to citizenship for the roughly 11 million illegal immigrants current in this country.
But Greene said it's just as important to find a way to keep families together, especially those of "mixed status," in which one or more family members is a legal resident or citizen, and others aren't.
Duarte comes from one of those mixed status families. He's recently received "deferred action" immigration status, meaning he can stay in this country for another two years. His parents, though, are here illegally. And, Duarte said, either one of his parents could face deportation because of a simple traffic stop.
"Every day she takes a risk to take me to school," Duarte said.
Alejandra Soto, Alex's 10-year-old daughter, said she also worries that one of her parents might not be home when she returns home from school one day.
In a paper she wrote for school, Alejandra wrote: "I ask the representatives to hear our voice and all of the other kids like me ... and we ask you for an immigration reform for our families."
Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or firstname.lastname@example.org.