Locals band together to support Taos Immigrant Allies

By Dawn Franco
Posted 1/16/19

The Taos Mesa Brewing Mothership will be hosting a show to benefit the Taos Immigrant Allies. The show will feature music by Big Swing Theory and David Garver and his band, Bones of Romeo.

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Locals band together to support Taos Immigrant Allies


The Taos Mesa Brewing Mothership will be hosting a show to benefit the Taos Immigrant Allies (TIA) on Saturday (Jan. 19) from 6-9 p.m. The show will feature music by Big Swing Theory and David Garver and his band, Bones of Romeo.

The need

Funds from the benefit will be distributed locally for legal fees and will also be used to purchase supplies for shelters for those recently released from detention centers in Tornillo and El Paso, Texas, and Cuidad Juárez, Mexico.

In the fall of 2016, José Gonzáles reached out to the Taos community for help regarding his nonprofit initiative Sín Fronteras, an effort focusing on immigrants receiving case management for citizenship in Taos County. Five Taos women - Bonnie Golden, Bonnie Korman, Bea Balsamo, Wendy Clarke and Susan McCarthy - reached out to Gonzáles and TIA was formed.

Through donations received by word of mouth and fundraisers at Cid's food market, TIA has raised an estimated $5,000 in 2018. The money was used for medical aid, legal services and provisions necessary for those near the border.

Previously, Gonzáles and TIA have conducted several clinics regarding legal counsel and methods for obtaining documents.

"José arranges legal clinics, usually they come from Santa Fe, the Dreamers [Deferrred Action on Childhood Arrivals organization] and sometimes from Albuquerque," Korman said.

Taos has no immigration attorneys and these legal seminars bring information, predominantly for undocumented immigrants Gonzáles works with in the county. "These are organizations that have attorneys and that's what they do," Korman said. "They offer resources to people so [José] brings them to Taos to do legal clinics where they find out about citizenship, how to get their birth certificates from their country of origin, renew visas and even power of attorney."

Gonzáles has summoned the Mexican Consulate, regional representatives from U.S. Immigration Services and the American Civil Liberties Union to explain procedures for DACA, I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification and visa renewal, as well as helping undocumented individuals understand their legal rights. TIA and Gonzáles have also created legal documents for immigrants establishing power of attorney and protection of property.

"I'm now a notary [public], but before I was we combed the community looking for notaries to donate their time for very disturbing reasons," said Bonnie Golden "We had done it three times, a clinic for immigrant parents to be able to designate someone to take their children who were born here if they were detained by [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] and deported," Golden said. "Also to protect their property, cars and houses," added Korman.

Recently Gonzáles and TIA have sent their first 2019 "Caravan of Love" shipment to those awaiting asylum in shelters near the border. This is the fourth trip transported by Gonzáles in a U-Haul truck with items such as medicines, clothing, detergent, toothbrushes, canned food and more provided through donations from the community and with a portion of funds raised by TIA.

Their work continues for 2019 and the benefit show will be one of other initiatives to support immigrants in Taos County and along the border.

The Lineup

David Garver and Bones of Romeo formed four years ago and this will be a celebratory reunion after Garver has been solo for the past year.

Garver and Bones of Romeo will be bringing a mixture of classic and folk rock to the stage. They will be playing original songs such as "Conquistador," which is about the legend of Kit Carson and his role in Manifest Destiny and the migration to the West, as well as "Create a Stone," which explores the emotional and physiological ramifications of repressed feelings and thoughts.The band will also be performing popular covers.

Garver considers the government's separation of families an "abomination" and says he is anxious to help the cause with his music.

"Playing music for free so people can raise money to help out in any way is the least I can do. It's small, but it's something. Awareness is key," Garver stated in an email.

Garver cautions the audience to prepare iself for a "high-energy, passionate rock 'n' roll show" featuring Marcus Hall on guitar, Dave Koziol playing drums and bassist Sam Lucero.

Also on the bill will be Big Swing Theory. Jackson Price, vocalist and guitarist; drummer Max Moulton; stand-up bass player Conrad Cooper and saxophonist Jeremy Jones have been playing together for nearly 10 years. Their close camaraderie has evolved their music into a more sophisticated style over time, including jump blues and what they call "tickled jazz" played while sporting tailored suits and smooth vocals. They invite people to dance to their originals as well as some familiar cover tunes.

Big Swing Theory is also eager to support the benefit hosted by TIA, the quartet agreed in unison through email. "We are playing this show for the Taos Immigrant Allies because we believe in their cause and feel that if us getting to play music can help even a single person it's worth it to us."

All proceeds from the door as well as funds from a silent auction offering T-shirts, gift certificates and artwork will be donated to various immigrant services. The show will be open to all ages. Tickets are $15, youth 12 and under are free. Taos Mesa Brewing Mothership is at 20 ABC Mesa Road, off U.S. 64 west.

For more information or to donate to TIA's efforts, contact Bonnie Golden at (575) 770-9709, 613-7890 or To contribute to the "Caravan of Love," contact José Gonzáles at (575) 779-6765.


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