Arturo Jimenez served on the Denver School Board representing Northwest Denver for eight years, and he’s been an immigration attorney for more than 20. Now, he’s written a new book about immigration policy in the United States and, while it’s a national topic, he believes it has a real impact on North Denver, where he’s lived nearly his entire life.
“The reason I went into government for eight years was to affect policy change, especially for children,” Jimenez said. His immigration work, he said, is the same — he’s spent much of his career helping minors attain legal status in the U.S.
His book, “DREAMers Nightmare: The U.S. War on Immigrant Latinx Children,” walks readers through decades of immigation policy in the Clinton, Bush, Obama and Trump administrations, and also tells the stories of several Denver residents and their journeys to become citizens or permanent residents. If readers are looking for a partisan read, this isn’t it: Jimenez doesn’t find either major political party faultless in what he sees as years of failed policies.
Jimenez says the most recent challenge has been a systematic dismantling of asylum laws. On a recent trip to the Mexico-U.S. border, he talked with asylum seekers from numerous countries — not just Central America, but also Africa, who are facing constantly changing rules under President Donald Trump and the Attorney General’s office.
Jimenez talked at length about tens of thousands of children, many unaccompanied, who are left to navigate the legal process on their own. Jimenez, who makes a living as an immigration attorney, would like to see a process that puts him and his colleagues out of work: he suggests creating a system not unlike the public defender’s office, in which immigrants would have representation and help navigating the legal system. He believes such a system would actually save money over the bureaucracy of the current immigration courts.
Jimenez is revising the book and hopes to have distribution through bookstores soon; in the meantime, the early release version is available online at ArturoJimenez.com. Physical copies are available, but he recommends the Kindle version, which includes links and data for readers who want more information.
Photos courtesy of Arturo Jimenez.