FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 15, 2017
Salvador Hernandez | firstname.lastname@example.org | 702.353.8979
Immigrant Rights Organizations and Allies Announce the “Colorado Rapid Response Network” in Response to ICE Raids and Rights Abuses
Over a hundred individuals are trained to manage a 24-hour hotline to track, verify, and document abuses in rapid response to ICE raids in immigrant communities
DENVER — Today, immigrant rights and social justice organizations launched the Colorado Rapid Response Network, anchored by a 24 hour hotline at 1-844-UNITE-41 (1-844-864-8341) staffed with over 100 volunteers, who are trained to track, verify, and confirm ICE raids in immigrant communities.
“On this DACA anniversary I am reminded of the power and resilience of our community, which through constant pressure was able to win DACA for so many people, including me,” stated Ana Rodriguez, a DACA recipient and organizer for COPA. “However, in these dangerous times we must continue to use our power to fight for and protect our parents, friends, and neighbors who don’t have the protection that DACA extends. That’s why I was part of developing the Rapid Response network – I know that we are under attack and I am part of the team that is documenting increasingly violent ICE activity, that is defending members of our community, and that is working to stop deportations. While I might not be able to show up during a reported incident, I know as a DACAmented person I have a role in deportation resistance.”
The Colorado Rapid Response Network is a major step in ensuring that Colorado’s immigrant communities have information that is fully verified, access to legal guidance, and an advocacy structure to resist ICE civil rights abuses in Colorado.
“Everyone has constitutional rights, regardless of status.” said Carla Castedo, Colorado state director for Mi Familia Vota. “We have seen the impact that our Know Your Rights trainings have had in our communities and this rapid response network shows that people from across Colorado and from all backgrounds are willing to come together and get trained to defend our community. Information is power and knowing what to do during times of uncertainty could be the key to keeping our families together. People know that ICE is not approved to do the job of local law enforcement and that our PD’s are not going to do the job of ICE. The intention of having this network is to ease the fear in the community by being able to confirm and/or deny activity that is conducted by ICE. Our network is also trained to observe operations, ensure that rights are not being trampled, and stand together against injustices in Colorado.”
Advocates, community members, people of faith, and labor came together to create a resistance network to deportations and to stand with immigrants, refugees, and everyone who has been attacked by this administration.
“We will not stand for ICE agents acting with impunity in our communities and will work together to defend ourselves against the civil rights abuses of a federal agency that has gone rogue,” said Nicole Melaku, executive director of the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition. “When raids occur in our state we will be there to document what is occurring, hold ICE accountable, and support families that get caught up in the immigration dragnet. We call on all residents of Colorado to help support the network by reporting ICE operations in your community. We are confident that together we can ensure that constitutional protections are being upheld for all Coloradans.”
The Colorado Rapid Response Network will respond to ICE activity across Colorado. People who have been trained through the participating organizations will monitor and ensure the rights of the targeted communities are respected, document activities, and support families in determining the right course of action during ICE encounters.
“As injustices continue to impact our communities, heightened by the policies of the Trump Administration, now is the time to act together to demonstrate that no one stands alone,” said Celeste Martinez, a faith organizer with Together Colorado. “I believe that the Colorado Rapid Response Network demonstrates our power as a community to protect and defend one another and keep our families together. We encourage you to call the Rapid Response Hotline when you believe ICE activity is happening in your community so we can confirm, document, and share the most accurate information about what’s happening in our communities.”
This effort is a way to provide a trusted foundation in fighting the out-of-control federal immigration enforcement apparatus and to stop the spread of misinformation in immigrant communities in light of the fear brought on by xenophobic rhetoric.
“I joined the Rapid Response Team precisely because I am a citizen and do not have to fight for my own right to stay in my community 24/7,” said Micaela Miller, a teacher and community member who joined the rapid response team. “I have the privilege and opportunity to join the front lines resisting against ICE in Southwest Denver, and filling vital roles that my friends without documentation cannot fill because it’s too dangerous.”
The Colorado Rapid Response Network is an effort led by the Rapid Response Team of the Immigration Resistance Table, a group of organizations that includes Padres & Jóvenes Unidos (PJU), Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (CIRC), Mi Familia Vota (MFV), Colorado People’s Alliance (COPA), Together Colorado, FRESC, American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), United for a New Economy (UNE), and SEIU, Local 105, among many others.