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Niyakko Rush: Can You Help Make Refugee Soccer Team's Dream for Wheels Come True?

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The Niyakko Rush in brand-new uniforms, as seen on their Facebook page.
This week's cover story, "A Sporting Chance," traces the rise of the Niyakko Rush, a grassroots youth soccer club made up primarily of refugees living in a single apartment house in Aurora. Many of the players have come from countries ravaged by political and military upheaval, including Myanmar, Somalia and Nepal -- Niyakko is a Burmese word for "brother" -- and their journeys to the United States have been long and arduous, involving dangerous border crossings and years in makeshift relocation camps.

But it's a trip that can be measured in minutes that the group is primarily concerned about these days. Without reliable motorized transportation, Niyakko's scheduled games have been somewhat limited this past summer (they've been known to jog a mile to their practice field) and could well dwindle further in the coming bad weather.

See also: These Young Refugees Know All About Winning and Losing -- They Just Want to Play


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These Young Refugees Know All About Winning and Losing -- They Just Want to Play

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Anthony Camera
Goalie NiDoh and midfielder Ne Taw play for the Niyakko Rush Soccer Club.
Like a lot of newcomers, Jason Hicks was a bit flummoxed by his first visit to the Shadow Tree apartments last year. The complex, just a short stroll off East Colfax in Aurora, is home to a growing number of refugee families, relocated from places like Nepal and Burma and Somalia. It's a population that remains largely invisible to most metro-area residents, a cluster of otherness separated from the larger community by barriers of language and culture and the thick walls of I-225, which runs like a concrete curtain right across the street.

Hicks, a 33-year-old electrician and former PE teacher, had come to Shadow Tree to check out a program he'd heard about through his church; volunteers had been scrounging bicycles for the refugee kids and showing up regularly at the apartments to repair them. Hicks thought that sounded cool. But when he first entered the Shadow Tree complex, he felt like he was crossing an international border.

See also: Meet the Players of the Niyakko Rush

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Jaime Leon Rivas, Undocumented Teen, Locked Up by ICE After Visiting Brother in Custody

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Jaime Leon Rivas at his high school graduation this past May. Full photo below.
Nineteen-year-old Jaime Leon Rivas, whose immigration case we wrote about this past spring, is back in the custody of federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement. His crime? Going to visit his older brother at the GEO detention facility in Aurora, which houses undocumented immigrants detained by ICE.

Although Leon Rivas was granted a one-year "stay of removal" back in April, allowing him to remain in the United States while he applied for immigration relief, it appears as though ICE revoked that stay. His fiance, Jenny Martinez, says she was told that the revocation didn't occur until Leon Rivas walked through the doors at GEO to see his brother.

See also: Jaime Leon Rivas, Undocumented Teen Immigrant, Released From Detention

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Non-Citizen Drivers License Story Prompts Brutal Immigration Comments

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More images and a video below.
If you were wondering why immigration reform has been so difficult to achieve, the response to a recent story on CBS4 should quell your questions. The story, about a snafu that resulted in 524 non-citizens, "including some illegal immigrants," receiving improperly marked drivers licenses has resulted in an explosion of comments on both the station's website and Facebook page -- and almost all of them are virulently negative toward the concept of giving such people more opportunities for citizenship.

See also: Photos: Immigration Activists Deliver Valentines to ICE Detainees

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Pot-Related Immigration Hell the Subject of New Movie, Kickstarter Campaign

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Hap Cameron in Colombia on one of his many global adventures.
When Amanda Cameron met her now-husband, Hap Cameron, on the beach in Mexico in 2006, she didn't have the slightest clue that the nice guy from New Zealand would eventually become her husband -- or what she'd have to go through to get his green card. That story is being turned into a film, Loving In Limbo, and the Camerons are hoping to raise enough cash by Monday, August 11, to pay for the film's post-production and cover a few festival entry fees. Get details and see a video from the project below.

See also: Marijuana: Twelve Updates About New or Changing Recreational Dispensaries

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Protesters ready to line up against Ted Nugent

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Ted Nugent's remarks about the president and gun control have some calling him a patriot and others calling him a bigot.
Ted Nugent used to be known for iconic guitar riffs and songs about getting laid, but now he makes headlines with his extreme political views -- often peppered with vulgarity. Nugent's remarks about certain Democrats and hot topics like immigration have made him a divisive figure (to say the least) and you can expect some heated dissent at his concert tonight at the Gothic Theater.

See also: "Ted Nugent called Hillary Clinton a "toxic c*nt"...eighteen years ago"

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Immigration court on children's day: Nicole Castaneda imagines a better future

Categories: Immigration

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Nicole and her mother, Kelly.
Sixteen-year-old Nicole Castaneda had one request of the supporters who gathered in front of the Denver immigration court before her hearing: to sing John Lennon's "Imagine" because, as an advocate explained, Nicole wanted them to "imagine a world where kids could just be kids, without fear of deportation."

Nicole was one of dozens of children, some as young as eleven, whose cases were heard Thursday as part of the immigration court's juvenile docket. Many, like Nicole, had been caught at the border.

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Jaime Leon Rivas, undocumented teen immigrant, released from detention

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Jaime Leon Rivas.
Update: Jaime Leon Rivas, a nineteen-year-old undocumented immigrant who we wrote about last week (see below), has been released from detention, where he was awaiting deportation. On April 2, a week after his friends and family held a vigil outside the GEO immigrant detention center in Aurora on the occasion of his nineteenth birthday, federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) granted his request for a "stay of removal." Leon Rivas will be allowed to remain in the U.S. for a year while he continues to fight his deportation case, his lawyer says.

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Jaime Leon Rivas turns 19 in ICE detention as loved ones fight to stop his deportation

Categories: Immigration

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Jaime Leon Rivas.
Jaime Leon Rivas turned nineteen years old yesterday. But he didn't spend his birthday with his girlfriend, his friends or his family. No, the Summit County resident spent it inside the GEO immigrant detention center in Aurora, where his girlfriend says he's the youngest person in the custody of federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. At 6 p.m. last night, his loved ones -- including staff from Snowy Peaks High School in Frisco, where he was set to become the first member of his family to graduate high school this spring -- held vigil outside the hulking building.

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Alejandra Lamas on how surviving the Aurora theater shooting helped her get documented

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More photos below.
At first, Alejandra Cardona Lamas couldn't have imagined that a single good thing would come out of July 20, 2012.

She was among the hundreds of fans gathered for the midnight screening of The Dark Night Rises at the Century 16 multiplex in Aurora. And she was there for the mass shooting that killed twelve innocent people, including her friend A.J. Boik.

Lamas was among the seventy people shot and wounded.


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