Manuel Piña knew where to stand. He did not join with either of the large crowds that had gathered on either side of University Boulevard Oct. 3 in …
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Manuel Piña knew where to stand.
He did not join with either of the large crowds that had gathered on either side of University Boulevard Oct. 3 in the hours before the first presidential debate at the University of Denver campus.
On one side were the Romney supporters, and on the other side were the Obama supporters. Both camps were rowdy, shaking their signs and starting up competing chants for much of the afternoon.
But Piña stayed a good half-block back from those folks, in a seemingly random section of the block, by himself. He carried a sign that simply said “UNIFY FAMILIES,” and waited.
Piña is a DU groundskeeper, and said he was proud of the work his department had done to get the campus looking its best in time for the big presidential debate. He said he was very excited when he heard the news about the first debate being held on his campus. Part of that excitement was for a chance to get his message across, “Unify families, and don’t separate them.”
It is a personal plea for Piña.
“It’s been seven years, five months that I’ve been separated from my three daughters,” Piña said.
He became a U.S. citizen seven years ago, and immediately filed paperwork asking for his three Mexican daughters, now all in their 30s, to be able to come and live with him in Denver. So far, the wait continues.
“It’s a terrible thing when laws and immigration separate families,” Piña said.
President Barack Obama’s proposed Dream Act, and his promise not to actively deport young adults who qualify under some of the Dream Act provisions, both earn praise from Piña.
“We call those kids the dreamers. It’s a good, good idea, and I hope Obama has four more years to do it,” he said.
But no matter who wins, Piña said he definitely wants to hear national candidates talking about immigration reform, making it a priority this election. That is why he came down to that corner with his sign, he said.
Then the president’s convoy approached. The long line of vehicles passed by the two competing crowds of supporters, and turned into the DU campus, just where Piña was standing — the man with the only sign in that spot, hoping the man inside the car gets the message.
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