Colorado — with an estimated 180,000 undocumented immigrants — has created a compact on immigration, following Utah’s lead of a few years ago, which itself was in response to Arizona’s draconian legislation. According to the Greeley Tribune, the Colorado Compact arose out of 200 meetings throughout the state. The need for immigrant labor is most acute among the state’s farms, which “like many others nationally, have lost workers to the better-paying jobs of the oil and gas field, while also struggling to find local residents willing to do agriculture’s physical labor….Signers of the Colorado Compact span faith organizations, law enforcement agencies, the business community, immigrant-rights advocates and institutions of higher education, as well as agricultural interests.”
The Colorado Compact:
The Colorado Compact is an effort to convene and promote a reasonable conversation on immigration in Colorado that could lead to real and lasting federal reform. The Compact brings together leaders and community members of diverse backgrounds and politics who are committed to fostering a more rational and collaborative approach to immigration policy than exists today. We believe that the growing consequences of a broken immigration system must be addressed in a bipartisan effort that considers the principles outlined in this compact.
Immigration policy is a federal issue between the U.S. government and other countries. We urge the Colorado congressional delegation to work to enact immigration policy at the federal level that improves our immigration system, keeps our communities safe, and protects our borders.
STRENGTHENING OUR ECONOMY
Colorado is best served by a free-market philosophy that maximizes individual freedom and opportunity. Our immigration system must be flexible enough to address the needs of businesses while protecting the interests of workers. This includes a visa system that is both responsive and effective at meeting the demands of our economy. It should also acknowledge the beneficial economic contributions immigrants make as workers, taxpayers, and consumers.
ENSURING OUR NATIONAL SECURITY
We believe that maintaining the safety and security of the United States is an utmost priority. Our immigration system must ensure the protection of our communities and national borders.
Strong families are critical to developing successful individuals and cohesive communities. Our immigration policies, where possible, should prioritize keeping close families together in order to ensure the most supportive home environments for all children across our state.
We support a law enforcement strategy that focuses on public safety, targets serious crime, and safeguards witnesses and victims. We further urge a reasonable and predictable regulatory environment that considers the interests of, and unintended consequences to businesses, workers, and consumers. Furthermore, the broader reform effort should eventually include a way to accurately, reliably, and affordably determine who is permitted to work, ensuring an adequate labor force for a growing economy.
A COMMONSENSE APPROACH
Immigrants are part of our communities across Colorado. We must adopt a commonsense approach to this reality that reflects our values and recognizes the critical role immigration has played in our nation's history and economy. Our immigration policies must provide a sensible path forward for immigrants who are here without legal status, are of good character, pay taxes, and are committed to becoming fully participating members of our society and culture.