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Immigrants gather in resort valleys
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. Crowds of more than 1,000 people turned out in both the Aspen-dominated Roaring Fork Valley and the Vail-anchored Eagle Valley in support of immigrants Monday. Smaller turnouts were also reported in Jackson Hole and Telluride.
Police estimated 1,000 to 1,500 people marched from Avon, at the foot of Beaver Creek, to Edwards, reports the Vail Daily. In addition, police estimated a morning march of 650 people.
"This will show that were here and that we exist," said Ivan Hernandez, a 19-year ironworker from Avon. His employer supported his participation in the March.
"Let us love your country," proclaimed one sign. And another: "Stop H.R. 4437," a reference to the bill passed last year by the U.S. House of Representatives that would make illegal workers felons.
In Glenwood Springs, at the bottom end of the Aspen-dominated Roaring Fork Valley, a crowd assembled that newspapers variously estimated at 1,000 to 2,000. The protestors made a point of declaring their allegiance to the United States, as well as declaring their aspirations to succeed.
One 17-year-old student at Glenwood Springs High School, Heidi Marquez, read a piece she had written that was titled "I Believe in This Country." Brought to the United States while still quite young, she feels part of this country, she said. Her parents arent here to break laws, she reported, although she understands how difficult it must be for native citizens to see their country invaded. As for her dreams, she wants to become a surgeon.
Among those in the audience, reported the Aspen Daily News , was a 34-year-old from Aspen, Jose Zabala, who arrived with two flags. "I love this country. I love this flag. We can make it a better place if they give us the legal right to be here," he said.
Others assembled at a park in Glenwood Springs acknowledged that the immigration flood had also brought drug-dealers and other criminals, but they said the misfits were not in the majority. "Were here to say were not criminals," said Raul Gonzales of Basalt, who arrived in 1989. "Were just hard workers trying to get a better life for ourselves, our kids, so they can go to school."