Immigration Raids On Hold, Colorado Latino Festival Rescheduled For August

June 25, 2019
Photo: Folklorico dancers -- file
Folklorico dancers perform in this file photo taken Oct. 23, 2015. The Colorado Latino Festival has been rescheduled for August. Organizers were worried over now-postponed raids announced by President Donald Trump and weather when they postponed the event.

Colorado Latino Festival have announced a new date for the festival after rescheduling it last weekend over concerns immigration enforcement raids announced by President Donald Trump could put people there in danger.

The event will now be August 4.

The event was scheduled to take place in Boulder on Sunday — the day the Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids were going to happen, but didn’t — but organizers postponed the event. Rainy weather was also forecast for Sunday. Festival organizer Jose Beteta said it was the combination of “weather and political storms” that forced them to reschedule.

“We are people who like to stand up to these things and put our foot down and say, ‘Hey, we're not afraid,’” Beteta said. “But the weather coupled with the White House announcement and then the emphasis on sanctuary cities which the city of Boulder was one, we decided not to put people in danger.”

Trump announced Saturday the planned enforcement actions across the country were to be delayed. There were no raids, but there were officers doing regular daily enforcement around the Denver and Boulder metro areas, according to Colorado ICE spokesperson Alethea Smock. She said they try to prioritize getting “bad people” out of the community.

“Deportation officers carry out targeted enforcement operations daily nationwide as part of the agency’s ongoing efforts to protect the nation, uphold public safety and protect the integrity of our immigration laws and border controls,” Smock said in an emailed statement. 

Community activist organization, United for a New Economy, said they are more concerned than usual about raids on the new festival date.

“According to ICE’s rules, they say if there is a public gathering or a demonstration that it is typical for them to not to do enforcement in those spaces,” said Celesté Martinez of United for a New Economy. “Although, under the Trump administration, we have seen variations of that not being upheld in the same way that we have seen in the past.”

Martinez notes that rule is department policy, not law.

UNE collects hotline reports of immigration enforcement activity and verifies or debunks those reports.

The organization received six reports of ICE activity over the weekend but was able to determine the incidents were not raids. A lot of their recent calls have been people asking if ICE was collaborating with local law enforcement. Several law enforcement agencies along the Front Range have policies against that.

“There is a heightened sense of awareness in the community of law enforcement activity,” Martinez said. “Whether it’s the local police or sheriffs doing regular enforcement, folks are paying more close attention to that.”

Martinez said the group is hearing a lot of fear from the people they serve.

“Folks are not feeling as safe as they have in other times,” she said.