Immigration protestors stop traffic, demand action from both parties

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DENVER -- If the anger voiced by immigration reform advocates is any indication, Hispanic voters appear highly motivated to vote in November's election in higher numbers than they normally do in non-presidential years.

And while the conventional wisdom is that higher Hispanic turnout will help Democrats, the protestors who rallied across the street from the State Capitol Tuesday and staged a sit-in in the middle of Broadway, temporarily shutting down the road between Colfax and 14th Avenue, had plenty of anger for both political parties.

In fact, protestors directed their harshest criticism at two Democrats: Sen. Michael Bennet, who helped author the 2013 comprehensive immigration reform bill that included a pathway to citizenship and drew bipartisan support in the Senate only to be ignored by the GOP-controlled House; and President Obama, whose Deferred Action executive order has spared many of them from the immediate threat of deportation.

Their message, essentially: what have you done for me lately?

"The betrayal of Bennet and Obama is not going to beat us back; we're going to keep on fighting," shouted Jeannette Vizquiera, who's been fighting deportation for five years. "We're going to keep on fighting."

Reform advocates are especially irked that President Obama floated another executive order to grant citizenship to five million undocumented immigrants before announcing that he will wait to take any such action until after the November election.

"Congress will not act. And when the president says he's going to act, he changes his mind," said Alexis Pardo, whose parents brought him to the U.S. from Mexico when he was just 18 months old. "No one wants to act, no one wants to do their job."

Pardo, an accredited electrician and welder, has had to turn down high-paying jobs because he is not a U.S. citizen.

"I don't know the Mexican national anthem. This is my country -- the Star Spangled Banner," Pardo said. "This is my home. This is where I want to raise my son. This is where I pay $600 in taxes a week. And I am being punished for my the consequences of my parents' actions. I face those consequences every day."

Advocates told reporters Tuesday that they met a day earlier with Bennet, who pledged that he remains committed to pursuing immigration reform in Congress.

But pledges, nearly two years after the last election that resulted in promises from both parties to act on this issue, don't mean much to these folks any more.

"If you are a supporter, come out and do it now," one advocate shouted into a bullhorn. "Not say 'that's what I've done in the past'. Because obviously the past is not working."

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