Undocumented Immigrants Flee AZ for Colorado
According to the American Friends Service Committee more than a dozen families have arrived in Colorado in the past weeks. The single mother of three, Elia, who does not want to give her last name for fear of being deported, said she left Phoenix about two weeks ago. Back in Phoenix she left behind the job she held for 6 years and most of her belongings for fear of being identified on the highway by authorities. She made the 19-hour trek to Denver without any bathroom breaks and put a disposable diaper on her youngest, 6-year-old boy. She wants to make it up to him by buying him a toy, but for a single-mother with no work there is little money for that.
Elia ran into another fleeing family at the laundry with a 6-month-old baby and invited them to stay with her. They are all now crammed in the small one-bedroom apartment with barely any furniture. The irony in the situation is that in previous years Colorado lawmakers have passes immigrations laws a lot like Arizona’s. Former Congressman Tom Tancredo of Colorado, now running for governor, who doesn’t understand the financial constraints undocumented immigrants like Elia face. ‘The fear of what?’ Tancredo asks. ‘The only thing that can happen is that they can be identified as being here illegally and perhaps, at worst, actually be deported because that’s the law.’
Tancredo thinks that someone in the same position as Elia should just go back home and apply to move here legally. Elia says that could take years and the financial pressures she faces to support her family keep her here.