DENVER, Colorado — On the steps of the Colorado State Capitol, a group of people came together on the 20th anniversary of the Department of Homeland Security to call on President Biden to close ICE detention facilities.
The rally Wednesday was held in conjunction with a number of non-profits including Alianza NORCO, American Friends Service Committee, Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, Mountain Dreamers and Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network (RMIAN).
"We are here to stand together against hate and to fight against a system that tears families and communities apart," said Monique Sherman with RMIAN. "Today and every day, we demand an end to civil immigration detention."
The Department of Homeland Security opened its doors on March 1, 2003 after what the group called an "overreaction" to the events of 9/11.
"We incarcerate people in for-profit facilities, whether private corporations or local law enforcement agencies where they make hundreds of dollars for every person in ICE custody," said Liz Jordan, who works on asylum and other immigration cases.
Two people spoke about their time in the ICE detention facility in Aurora, saying it was life-changing and difficult.
"For my children and for us, it was a very significant trauma that we had to live with for many years, with the fear," said Lupe Lopez, who spent four days in the detention facility and was separated from her children, who are U.S. citizens.
"We were for days locked up and inside. It was horrible for me. It was an eternity. (It felt) like a year, seeing so many people inside the detention facility. Women were crying for their families," said Lopez.
The group believes the billions of dollars to keep people in ICE custody would be better spent on housing, education and other opportunities.
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