Q&A with Erin Kelley

Salida resident Erin Kelley is running for Colorado House District 60, a seat held by Rep. Jim Wilson since 2013. The District encompasses Chaffee, Park, Fremont and Custer Counties. She represents just one of the many younger women nationwide who have decided to run for office in 2018. Kelley is currently the secretary/treasurer for the …

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Eye on the Fifth

By Daniel Smith

Until the recent horrific tragedy in Charlottsville, Virginia, brought renewed attention to issues of race, diversity and white supremacist groups’ self-empowerment to demonstrate their hateful, devisive agenda, Salida had been in the national news over a shocking immigration incident.

At the end of July, eight German exchange students headed for residents’ homes in Salida, as other students had in previous years, were stopped at Denver International Airport by immigration authorities, detained overnight in holding cells away from the airport and deported back to Germany the next day.

Pressed for reasons for the unprecedented action, immigration officials insisted the student were coming in and “taking work away from U.S. citizens” – illegal since they had no work visas.

Susan Masterson, who has coordinated the exchange program for a number of years, was quoted saying she reached out to State Rep. Jim Wilson, Fifth District Congressman Doug Lamborn, Governor John Hickenlooper and Senator Michael Bennet. No one could stop the unceremonious deportations of the students.

Immigration officials said they were trying to enter on tourist visas, which was illegal, but it’s unclear just what “jobs” the students would take from U.S. citizens while here for just four weeks. It was the first time any such complication had arisen in the rewarding exchange program here.

Masterson was quoted as saying she felt the student’s treatment was definitely a result of the Trump administration’s contentious rulings regarding illegal and legal immigration. She said Lamborn’s staff did all they could, to no avail.

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