• September 22nd, 2023
  • Friday, 10:59:20 AM

RMAIN Announces Immigrant Liberty Awardees

The Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network (RMIAN) has announced the honorees for the 15th annual Immigrant Liberty Awards. The ceremony will celebrate the honorees’ extraordinary contributions to Colorado’s immigrant and refugee communities during an evening gala themed “Here to Stay,” to be held in the Seawell Ballroom at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts on Friday, May 1, 2020.

Each year, RMIAN presents the Immigrant Liberty Awards to recognize the unwavering work of exceptional community members to advance the rights and wellbeing of immigrants and refugees in Colorado, allowing them to thrive in their communities. In 2020, the honorees are Jason Crow, U.S. Representative for Colorado’s 6th Congressional District; Araceli Calderón de Weis, Parent Involvement Coordinator for Centennial BOCES; and Marissa Molina, Colorado State Immigration Manager of FWD.us.

Congressman Crow has worked tirelessly with human rights advocates and local government officials to champion the rights of immigrants and refugees by bringing critical national attention to U.S. immigration detention conditions and by increasing oversight of the privately operated facility in Aurora through the creation of the first of its kind ICE Accountability Report in July 2019. This oversight report, written after weekly on-site visits by Crow and staff, provides transparency and accountability to the detention system by monitoring the wellbeing of detained immigrants and refugees and the public health risks to the community. Crow has introduced the Public Oversight of Detention Center (POD) Act to ensure that Congress has oversight access to all detention facilities. He also helped introduce the Refugee Protection Act to support refugees, including setting a 95,000 minimum admission level, update the asylum process, improve the Special Immigrant Visas program, and support immigrant children.

Since before coming to the U.S. in 2004, Araceli Calderón de Weis was a champion for community involvement in policy making in her native Mexico. In her role as Parent Involvement Coordinator at Centennial BOCES, Ms. Calderón de Weis has dedicated her life in Greeley, Colorado to promote the inclusion of immigrant and refugee voices in the spheres of community building and policy setting in northern Colorado. Her work through local educational and cultural programming is a remarkable example of advocacy for immigrant rights through community empowerment.

As Colorado State Immigration Manager with FWD.us, Marissa Molina’s advocacy work was critical to galvanize statewide efforts to expand access to drivers’ licenses for undocumented immigrants in Colorado. Ms. Molina’s leadership continues to be a catalyst to protect the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and advance policies that increase access to opportunities for the immigrant community in Colorado. Her appointment in 2019 as the first DACA recipient to the Board of Trustees at Metropolitan State University of Denver is breaking grounds and a true reflection of immigrant contributions in Colorado.

RMIAN is also thrilled to recognize Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP with the 2020 Pro Bono Service Award. Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP (DGS) has been an invaluable partner with RMIAN for years in providing pro bono representation to individuals in detention and to children in immigration proceedings. In the last year, DGS attorneys have been pro bono champions in responding to the expanding detention of asylum seekers in Colorado. DGS attorneys have been instrumental in representing detained asylum seekers in credible fear proceedings, by taking a leadership role in RMIAN’s Preparing Asylum Seekers for Success (PASS) Program including hosting trainings for lawyers from other law firms. Numerous DGS attorneys have also worked diligently to obtain protection for detained asylum seekers in danger of persecution and torture abroad.

This year’s event will include dinner, a live auction, and an awards ceremony. All proceeds from the event will go towards providing free immigration legal services to immigrant children and to adults in immigration detention.

For information about tickets or how to become an event sponsor, please contact libertyawards@rmian.org or visit www.rmian.org

or call 303-433-2812.

RMAIN offers a hotline for detained individuals & family members: