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February 11, 2016

Dreamers Ambush Paul Ryan at Colorado Book Signing (Video)

Protesters confronted Ryan at his book signing. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Protesters confronted Ryan at his book signing. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 12:56 p.m. | THORNTON, Colo. — Immigration protesters ambushed Rep. Paul D. Ryan Wednesday as the Wisconsin Republican signed books at a Barnes & Noble here.

Ryan was confronted by Greisa Martinez, a national organizer with United We Dream. Martinez and three companions bought books and waited in line for Ryan. But once Martinez reached the front of the line, she asked Ryan questions about the lack of congressional action on immigration.

“I do not understand why you want to deport me and my mother? Why didn’t your party pass immigration reform when you had the opportunity,” she loudly questioned, mentioning the deferred action for childhood arrivals program. “Rep. Ryan, My name is Greisa Martinez I am DACA-mented and I am hear to stay!” One of her cohorts unfurled a banner and the store manager asked her to leave.

Ryan told her he wasn’t taking questions, and initially kept interacting with other book buyers, but ultimately ducked into a back room until police came and escorted Martinez out of the store.

The confrontation lasted about 10 minutes; all the while Martinez knocked on the door of the room to which Ryan had retreated. Police also whisked away two protesters who tried to ask Ryan questions later.

Ryan told CQ Roll Call he sees similar outbursts in states with major political contests, such Florida and here in Colorado. The Senate race between Republican Rep. Cory Gardner and Democratic Sen. Mark Udall could decide control of the chamber, and is rated Tilts Democratic by The Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

“I didn’t get it in Texas; I didn’t get it in Oklahoma,” Ryan said in an interview after the signing. “In Florida, you’ve got huge governors race there, so I see it where there is a lot of agitated political activity.”

Ryan was the 2012 vice presidential nominee and his nationwide tour promoting “The Way Forward” could be seen as laying the groundwork for a future presidential bid.

After the book signing, Ryan said President Barack Obama would make it more difficult for Congress to tackle an immigration overhaul if he acts alone with further executive actions on the deferred action program.

“I think he will poison the well if he goes it alone,” Ryan said. “He should follow the Constitution. It’s just that simple to me.”

Activists also went after Gardner on Wednesday, with 30 people occupying the lobby of the office building where his Greeley, Colo. office is located.

Gardner “has voted against me, my family, my community and we are not going to put up with that,” said Juan Juarez, a DREAMer who hails from Longmont, in Gardner’s congressional district.

Police eventually cleared the lobby after no one answered the congressman’s door. But protesters moved to a patch of grass in front of the parking lot of the building, which also houses a bank.

The Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition helped organize the protest. The activists have been pushing Gardner to clearly state his position on the issue of immigration. They contend that he has spoken generally on the issue, but has yet to satisfactorily reach out to the community.

“I feel like being in office since 2011 and him representing this area, which is heavily dependent upon agriculture, dairy, small business, mixed-status families, this should be a top priority for him,” said Sonia Marquez, CIRC’s north region organizer, who was born and raised in the district.

The advocates contend Gardner is unfriendly to their community, even though he opposed a GOP proposal that passed the Republican-run House in July seeking to end the deferred action program.

Ryan dubbed the contest one that “could be the race to determine the Senate.”

“Colorado is a closely divided state,” Ryan said. “I’ve campaigned a lot here. … It could go one way or the other. I really think Cory has got what it takes to be a great Senator. I think he’ll win. I feel good about his race. I hear great things about his race. But this is a really important race.”

For his part, Udall believes the Latino vote is integral to his staving off Gardner’s challenge.

“The Latino vote is very important, 20 percent of the state is Latino, and we know see that 15 percent of the electorate is Latino,” Udall told CQ Roll Call. “It’s very important, but not just for political [reasons], because the culture, and the sensibilities and the world view is woven through what is Colorado.”

Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated the day on which Ryan’s book event took place.


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  • Layla

    None of this would be happening if Congress were enforcing our immigration laws in the first place.

    Replace Congress, Ryan included, with a Congress who will.

  • New Old School

    Just finish the wall, deploy guards where necessary, process applications quickly and efficiently, give people proper papers when approved, and move on. WTF? An 8th grader could manage this situation. Is this some kind of game? I don’t get it. We never would have restored Europe in 1945 with the leadership we have today.

    • Jack Everett

      With the leadership we have today WWII would have been a loss not a victory.

  • Warrior93

    “Dreamers Ambush Paul Ryan at Colorado Book Signing”

    Wrong. The title should be Illegal Immigrants Ambush Paul Ryan at Colorado Book Signing. The political messaging of the president, members of his party, the media, and their supporters is pathetic and won’t change that fact. Although they won’t call a spade a spade, others and myself will.

    • Jack Everett

      Your racism only shows your losing stupidity.

      • Warrior93

        When you don’t have an argument be a liberal and scream racism. It’s a time honored practice and tradition of your type. The fact of the matter is that it changes nothing. These people are illegal immigrants. Facts are inconvenient and stubborn things for people on your side of the issue.

    • sangsue

      So someone who was brought to the US at such a young age that they don’t even realize they’re illegal immigrants should be deported? It’s not their fault.

      • Warrior93

        You are correct. It’s their parents fault. If it weren’t for them their children wouldn’t be in the position that they are in. And if the federal government would have secured the border 30 years ago when comprehensive immigration reform passed, they wouldn’t be either. Unfortunately, business and political interests have proven to be more important to elected officials than enforcing the law. That is wrong and is the reason why we have 11-20 million people here illegally. And what is the solution of the president, his party, and some republicans? Repeat the mistakes of the past and encourage more illegal immigration. No thanks. Intelligent individuals learn from failures, stupid ones repeat them.

  • Warrior93

    “The president has determined to take the kinds of common sense steps that are required to address the worst problems of our broken immigration system.”

    “The administration has reportedly been considering granting deportation relief and work permits to as many as 5 million people here illegally.”

    So, considering granting deportation relief and work permits to 5 million people here illegally is the definition of common sense to the president, his administration, and party? What has happened to our country the past six years? I thought things were bad during Bush’s presidency. The circus really came to town since the current guy in the White House arrived in 2008. Awarding those who have broken the law is far from common sense. It will
    only encourage more illegal immigration. Of course, that is what the president and his supporters want. They then can scream “crisis” every 30 years and demand a path to citizenship for those who have broken the law.

    • Jack Everett

      No difference in Bush and Obama they both support illegal immigration just like Reagan did.

      • Warrior93

        Did either Reagan or Bush use executive orders to give legal status to and defer deportations for millions of illegal immigrants? No. They understood the importance of separation of powers and that congress is our country’s lawmaking body; not a president who thinks he can take it upon himself to rewrite laws in his own image and only enforce the ones he likes. Such as the current guy.

  • heviduty

    Send ALL ILLEAGLES back, NO EXCEPTIONS. Vote out all who oppose.

    • Jack Everett

      Maybe like Reagan did lol.

  • Another Clinton Is Nuts

    So what?

    Amp up conservative groups and send annoying and staged trackers to Democrats.

    Make even.

  • GJ Marlowe
  • Tom Smith

    I think Americans should ambush illegal aliens
    and ask them why they’re in our country illegally?
    Better yet, shove them in you car and escort them to the border.

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