Immigrant Rights Coalition opens Montrose office today

The Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition is opening an office today in Montrose, the first for the Denver-based group to appear on the Western Slope.

Karen Sherman Perez, the group’s Western Slope coordinator, will run the office at 300 N. Cascade Ave. in downtown Montrose. She said the coalition is trying to reach out to as many Coloradans as it can to educate them about immigration issues.

The group began in 2002 during the height of an anti- immigration movement, and the issue continues to be debated statewide and in Congress. Sherman Perez said the main point behind the group is to show that immigrants, legal or not, should be treated fairly and with dignity.

She said the group is aware some communities on the Western Slope may not be as friendly to immigration issues as some Front Range cities, and that’s the point of opening the office.

“In the Denver metro area, there’s a whole slew of organizations that defend civil liberties and immigrant rights,” she said. “Over here, there’s not much. People who are in a bind or just need information or support, they don’t have anywhere to go. We’re trying to change that.”

Although the office isn’t designed as a service provider, Sherman Perez and her volunteers will provide suggestions on where immigrants can go to receive the aid they need.

Beyond that, the group plans to hold more events to raise awareness among people from Durango to Craig about immigration issues.

“The important part of our work is to realize this is a human issue,” she said. “We’re not talking about cattle. We’re talking about human beings, and we’re all treated equally. We’re trying to remind people of that.”


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