AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – A mother from Aurora has been an outspoken advocate for immigrants in Colorado who, like her, are facing deportation. Supporters of immigration reform are using her story to turn up the heat on Colorado’s congressional delegation.
The people at a rally held Wednesday are hoping to get the representatives attention. They say 23 percent of all deportations are parents with children who are U.S. citizens. One of those parents — Jeanete Vizguerra, an Aurora mother — could be deported as early as Friday.
Supporters picketed all night outside immigration offices, and on Wednesday a familiar face in Colorado joined their struggle.
“Immigration reform is a human rights issue, we should all care about human rights,” singer Hazel Miller told the demonstrators.
Miller brought the celebrity factor to the push for immigration reform, but she will say the real stars are women like Vizguerra.
CBS4’s Shaun Boyd first met Vizguerra two years ago. She’s a mother, business owner and community activist. Vizguerra has been a leading voice for worker and immigrant rights for more than a decade. Now she’s the one who needs help as she faces deportation.
Supporters have held rallies, petitioned U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and even staged a hunger strike outside the federal holding facility — but Vizguerra’s appeals have now run out.
“She’s always been a strong leader in our community and that’s why we’re here,” Judith Marquez said.
Marquez says her friend came here from Mexico City to escape violence. She has three young children and a husband with health problems.
“I feel it is completely unjust to separate a mom from her beautiful children,” Marquez told the crowd
But Vizguerra is hardly alone. Among those fighting are mothers like her who worry they will be next.
“These women are brave, these women sacrificed all,” Miller said.
Many like Vizguerra will say it was worth it — for their children, their future and their hope for a better life.
“If Congress is not going to do anything today we’re going to be here next month, next year pushing and pushing. They’re going to have to address this issue sooner, rather than later,” Marquez said.
The U.S. Senate passed a bill that would increase border security and provide a path to citizenship, but so far the House, which is controlled by Republicans, has refused to take up the legislation. The GOP says it will draft its own reform.
Of Colorado’s four Republican representatives only Rep. Mike Coffman has said he supports a path to citizenship.