One of 27 Actions Around the Country, Leaders Remind Gardner What’s At Stake for Him and His Party if They Continue Blocking Immigration Reform
Greeley, CO – It’s been nearly a year since the US Senate passed the bipartisan immigration bill, and during that time, House Republicans have used nearly every excuse in the book as to why they can’t finish the job and pass comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship.
Today, more than 50 leaders, including United Farm Worker members from California and DREAMers and supporters from across Colorado, came to deliver one message to Rep. Cory Gardner: your future and the future of the Senate is at stake. You have only a few weeks left to pass immigration reform and if you don’t, you will be blamed for blocking the best chance in decades to pass real immigration reform that will help thousands of Colorado families.
Today’s action marks the one-year anniversary of the House’s only action on immigration so far – a vote on an amendment that would have resulted in the deportation of DREAMers. Cory Gardner joined most of his Republican colleagues in voting ‘yes’ to deport DREAMers. Franco Gutierrez, a DACAmented DREAMer from Lafayette, Colorado, who sat in inside of Gardner’s office said, “Congressman Gardner has voted against me, my friends and family. Now, we’re asking that he pick up the phone and call Speaker Boehner to give us a vote on immigration reform now.”
At the rally and action today, 11 participants went in to Rep. Gardner’s office and shared their stories with staff. After the short meeting, the immigration supporters were asked to leave, but responded that they planned to stay until Rep. Gardner had made a call to Speaker Boehner demanding a vote on reform. Gardner’s staff then called the police and many of the protesters left; however, Linda Marquez, resident of Longmont, Colorado, remained in Gardner’s office throughout the day. She and other participants spoke via phone to the Congressman, when he told them he cannot support HR 15, the bipartisan immigration reform bill currently awaiting a vote in Congress, because it did not have the votes to pass.
Linda Marquez, said of her day-long sit in at Gardner’s office: “I am American born and raised in Colorado. But because of discrimination I’ve seen in the past, I wanted to speak out for others who could not. This issue dividing in our country and it’s time for Cory Gardner to be bold and to show leadership. He wants to be Senator, but he’s not showing what it takes to be a leader.”
“There is no day that goes by when I’m not faced with the brokenness of our immigration system. It’s in our faces every single day.” said Rhonda Solis, Greeley resident, who participated in the action. “I would like Rep. Gardner to be champion for immigration reform. If he doesn’t like the bills that are out there right now, then he should write his own.”
When the Senate bill was first released last year, Rep. Gardner told the Greeley Tribune it was “a good start,” but since the responsibility to pass reform has moved to House Republicans, Gardner has completely reversed his position and is now blocking any reform bill from passing. As he seeks to expand his appeal to voters statewide in a bid to unseat Senator Mark Udall, Rep. Gardner will have a major problem with the growing number of Latino voters in Colorado.
Pastor Nathan Soule-Hill, of Family of Christ Presbyterian Church in Greeley, another participant in the action said, “I witnessed a lot of courage and bravery today on the part of men and women, for whom this issue means so much. They’re energy gives me energy and I’m hopeful that this is the first action of many that will ultimately bring about just immigration reform. I’m disappointed that I did not witness that same courage and bravery on the part of Congressman Gardner.”
Today’s action falls in conjunction with a series of other actions targeting 27 other House Republican offices across the country.