Colo. students protesting Ariz. immigration law
Associated Press Writer
DENVER – Hundreds of Colorado high school and college students walked out of class Friday and marched to the state Capitol to protest Arizona’s new immigration law.
The students, holding handmade signs and U.S. and Mexican flags, cheered when passing cars honked. Music blared from a speaker on the Capitol steps before a rally began.
Some students yelled “Stop racial profiling,” referring to the Arizona’s law requirement that authorities question people about their immigration status if there’s reason to suspect they’re in the country illegally.
“This didn’t come from any organization,” said Julie Gonzales of Reform Immigration for America. “This really came from the young people themselves.”
Marta Alvarez, 17, from Thomas Jefferson High School in Denver, said she and other students got the word about the protest by text messages and a Facebook page. A few students from the school walked out of class and took the light rail downtown.
“I feel like we need to support people against (the law) so we don’t get that here,” Alvarez said.
Sabrina Duran, 14, said teachers at the Denver School of Arts were supportive of student participation. She described the Arizona law as “making racial profiling legal.”
Denver Public Schools is treating the absences like any other. If the family contacted the school, the student was excused.
DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg announced a ban Thursday on employees taking district-sponsored work trips to Arizona, saying the community was “outraged” by the state’s new immigration law.
Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter, who isn’t seeking re-election, has said he would veto any new laws like the one in Arizona. Scott McInnis, the GOP frontrunner in the governor’s race, would support a similar law.
Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet have both signed letters calling for comprehensive immigration reform this year.
“The new Arizona law has him (Udall) very concerned because it puts the burden of immigration enforcement on local police and raises significant concerns about racial and ethnic profiling, which is not the American way,” said Tara Trujillo, a spokeswoman for Udall.
Two men from a Denver veterans’ home at the side of the crowd were the only visible counter-protesters. Carrying an Army flags, they held signs that read “Illegal is still illegal.” Alan Maurer said he doesn’t “necessarily support the Arizona law” but that people who want to live and work in this country should go through the legal channels.
Students participated in protests in Colorado Springs, Boulder, Pueblo, Fort Collins and other Colorado towns. Some chose different means of showing thei