By Tegan Hanlon08/01/2012
The Denver Post
Esmeralda Garcia recounted the time police pulled her over. It was back in 2009 and her husband sat in the passenger seat. Police asked if he was legally in the U.S., and he didn't have any documentation.
Jesus Dominguez , 35, was detained in the Denver County Jail for six months, time during which, Garcia said, their now 8-year-old son, George, attempted to commit suicide — twice.
"I am his voice and this is his story and the story of many immigrants who don't have the guts because they're afraid to come out," Garcia, from the Denver-based group Padres & Jóvenes Unidos (Parents and Youth United), said Tuesday afternoon.
She spoke, nearing tears, on the steps of the Colorado State Capitol backed by a crowd of more than 50 who came to support the UndocuBus multistate tour. Many waived signs reading "Standing on the Side of Love" and "Please Don't Separate our Family."
The UndocuBus carries 30 men and women — most undocumented — who say they're tired of living in fear of deportation.
The caravan's motto: "No papers, no fear."
"Fear is one of the things that stops people," Garcia, a U.S. citizen, said. "When you're undocumented you're afraid of a lot of things."
The bus tour left Sunday night from Phoenix, with a six-week plan to weave across the country, making stops in states including Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee. But their status leaves them vulnerable.
Legislation in many states, including Colorado's SB-90, requires sheriffs to report certain arrestees to immigration authorities.
"We definitely think it's a possibility," Tania Unzueta , one of the organizers and UndocuBus riders, said about confrontation by law enforcement. "We don't really know how it's going to be."
The group hopes to reach Charlotte, N.C., by Sept. 3 in time for the Democratic National Convention.
The riders say President Obama hasn't kept his campaign promises, noting the record-high deportations under his administration.
Daniela Cruz , 21, is an undocumented rider. She traveled from Mexico to the U.S. with her mother 10 years ago.
"I always lived in a very white, rich area of Phoenix. So I was always very ashamed about my status. I never came out, I would never say that I was undocumented. I would make up stories on why I was here," she said.
Cruz became an activist two years ago when the DREAM Act went up for vote in Congress, but soon decided she had more to fight for.
"I realized that it's bigger than the DREAM Act. It's bigger than just us. It's our parents, it's our uncles, our sisters, our brothers," Cruz said. "So it's a bigger fight for our rights."
She was arrested four months ago after participating in a sit-down protest against Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio who faces accusations of ethnic profiling.
Cruz will ride on the UndocuBus for about two weeks until her trial. New Mexico is the next state where the bus will stop before moving on to Austin, Texas.
"I'm very excited because we get to show others who are still hiding, who are still in the shadows, that they can come out. And when we have an organized community we can do big things like what we're doing," Cruz said. "We have no fear.