AURORA, Colo. — Those who want ICE abolished, and others who support the federal immigration agents, were divided by a human police barricade on Saturday outside the ICE processing facility in Aurora.
Immigration advocates gathered at Denver’s City Park around 10 a.m. Saturday. They made their way to Colfax Avenue and moved toward Aurora— arriving at the ICE processing center just after 2 p.m. For more than seven miles, protesters could be heard chanting, and demanding change from our political leaders.
“Its a hike,” said Abdur Rahim Ali, with Northeast Denver Islamic Center. “But it’s well worth it, because the stakes are high.”
It’s something Ana Vizoso, who was at Saturday’s protest, knew all too well as a kid.
“I’m an immigrant myself. I came from Argentina at the age of 11 and I was undocumented for many years—and I lived in the shadows.”
Vizoso became a U.S. citizen back in 2009. The 28-year-old says she can’t imagine re-living any of that in 2019.
“The consequences were the same before," Vizoso said. "We are just seeing the racism and discrimination really arise now.”
Attorney Travis Gasper says he had planned to be inside the ICE facility, to meet with his client today but couldn't due to the protest.
“I flew in yesterday morning and when I got to the detention facility, there were signs saying ‘no visitations on Saturday.’ And I clarified and said it was a legal visit and I was from out of town, and it was not something to easily reschedule—and was told no visits whatsoever, legal, or otherwise,” he explained.
Instead, Gasper joined the ICE protest Saturday, to get his message across.
“There is no way that the leaders that run Aurora GEO ICE facility can say that they are providing access to counsel, when they are not allowing detainees to meet with or even talk over the phone with their attorneys,” he told Fox31.
Visitation is expected to open back up on Sunday.
The events, witnessed by FOX31 crews, were nonviolent. There was, however, yelling on both sides.
Dozens of protesters on both sides dug deep into what they believe is best for America.
“I don’t understand these people [who] want to just have open borders and let everybody in,” a pro-ICE demonstrator said.
Those who want to abolish ICE say they are just as patriotic as the other side.
“We have a system that is structurally set up to hurt people of color,” argued an anti-ICE demonstrator.
There were Native American ceremonial demonstrations, passionate political activism and a huge police presence. Aurora police officers were prepared for thousands of protesters.
In the end, people on both sides seemed relieved that their First Amendment rights were protected and serious violence was averted.
-- Laura Wilson contributed to this reportAlertMe