By Andrea Flores

AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – There’s good news for a new exhibit at the Stanley Marketplace in Aurora. Carne y Arena was closed due to COVID restrictions after it opened in the fall. It reopens to visitors on Thursday. The special Academy Award-winning virtual reality experience puts you through the conditions of immigrants and refugees based on true accounts as they tried to cross the U.S.-Mexico border.

Stanley Marketplace

(credit: CBS)

Based on real-life stories of immigrants and refugees, Carne y Arena takes you on the journey unlike any other. Rep. Jason Crow represents Colorado’s 6th Congressional District and he was instrumental in bringing the virtual reality installation to the Stanley Marketplace. He notes the exhibit is only a few miles away from the ICE Detention Facility in Aurora.

“The exhibit speaks to the human impact of the immigration debate on real people that I represent,” Crow told CBS4’s Andrea Flores. “The vast majority of people that are detained at the ICE facility are asylum seekers. Let me explain that: those are folks that have fled violence and terrible conditions in their own country and have, under U.S. law, presented themselves at the border for asylum. They’re being treated like prisoners.”

Carne y Arena

(credit: Carne y Arena)

Crow hopes the immersive experience will humanize the immigration debate.

“These are men and women who are just as American as I am, or anybody else, but they don’t have the documentation. They’re our friends, they’re our business owners, our colleagues, and our neighbors.”

The lawmaker knows Academy-Award winning director Alejandro Innaritu’s untold story of immigrants will hit home in Aurora.

“I am so proud that I represent one of the most diverse districts in the nation, and the most diverse district in Colorado, where almost 1 out of every 5 people that I represent were born outside of the United States,” Crow said. “Coming, and seeing, and being a part of this exhibit, and participating in it, will allow us to have the conversation that we need to have.”

ICE Public Information Officer Alethea Smock disputes Congressman Crow’s statement about the Aurora ICE Facility.

“Over 90% of the people detained in the Aurora Facility have criminal records and were arrested by ICE. They are not border transfers,” Smock told CBS4. “The information being given here is over a year old.”

“Carne y Arena” runs Jan. 7 through Jan. 30 at the Stanley Marketplace.


Andrea Flores