Boycotters rally for immigrants |

Boycotters rally for immigrants

Shane Macomber/Vail DailyProtesters march through Avon as part of the nationwide "Day Without Immigrants," meant to show the impact immigrants have in the Vail Valley.

AVON ” Alvaro De Loera, a native of Mexico, said he is lucky.

He is now a U.S. citizen, and he will show you his voter registration card and his driver’s license. He’ll show you his business card for the company he owns ” a salty nuts company in Chicago ” and tell you about his six employees.

But his brother Jose, who lives in Edwards and works construction in the summer and at a restaurant in the winter, didn’t have the same luck, Alvaro De Loera said.

“He was not lucky enough to make it through the amnesty,” Alvaro De Loera said. “I’m here to support him.”

The De Loeras and hundreds of other immigrants rallied Monday in two pro-immigration marches in Avon and Edwards as similar protests took place across the country on the national “Day Without Immigrants.” Marchers wanted better opportunities for immigrants to become legal workers in the U.S.

In the afternoon, a long line of marchers ” many wearing white ” streamed down the recreation path from Avon to Edwards carrying U.S. flags and placards.

Avon police estimated there were 1,000 to 1,500 people at the afternoon march from Avon to Edwards and 650 at the morning march in Avon.

“Let us love your country,” said one sign. “Stop H.R. 4437,” said another, referring to a strict immigration reform bill passed last year by the U.S. House of Representatives that would make illegal workers felons. The Senate is now considering a compromise bill.

“This will show that we’re here and that we exist,” said Ivan Hernandez, 19, of Avon.

Hernandez, who is an iron worker for a construction company, said his employer supported his participation in the march.

“What we want is permission to work legally,” said Luz Gallegos of Edwards, another marcher. “We don’t want to be illegal.”

The day called on immigrants to not go to work, not attend schools and not buy anything in an attempt to show the role that immigrants play in the community and economy.

“If nobody spends one cent today, it’s going to make a big difference,” said Juan Carlos Escobar, 27, of Avon, who works at the Avon City Market and the Capitol Theater in Eagle. He is originally from El Salvador.

March organizer Alonso Varela of Eagle-Vail said the community was coming together to make its presence felt. “A sleeping giant has awoken” was one way he heard Monday’s demonstrations described on TV, he said.

“I think that expresses the message perfectly,” he said.

Many school-aged kids marched with the protesters both in the morning and the afternoon.

“They’re not going to school so they can support the people here,” said a protester named Sergio from Avon who didn’t give his last name.

Juan Martinez of Avon said protesters want to see just immigration reform.

“We’re not against reform,” he said. “We just feel like what’s going on now isn’t the best for immigrants.”

Martinez said some people were afraid to skip work or protest in public as illegal workers.

“But you have to overcome fear to help the rest of the community,” he said.

“Yes we can!” the marchers chanted in Spanish. They also chanted, “A united people cannot be defeated” and “A quiet people cannot be heard.”

Janet Wright of Eagle watched the morning march from a parking lot in Avon.

“It’s their right,” she said. “They’re just sticking up for themselves. … It’s very interesting that they’ve pulled together like this.”

Police estimated 400,000 people marched through Chicago’s business district. In Los Angeles, there was no announced count, but one law enforcement official put it at about 300,000. Tens of thousands more marched in New York, along with about 15,000 in Houston and 30,000 more across Florida.

Smaller rallies in cities from Pennsylvania and Connecticut to Arizona and South Dakota attracted hundreds not thousands.

An estimated 75,000 people marched to the state Capitol in Denver.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14623, or

Vail, Colorado

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