Members of the Colorado Forum believe that the U.S. immigration system is antiquated, inefficient, and unfair. We encourage a reformed system that does not condone illegal behavior but recognizes the economic benefits of bringing 11 million undocumented workers “out of the shadows”. Immigration reform will drive economic growth by allowing our workforce to be strengthened by individuals who desire to live and work in this country. These reforms are important for Colorado’s businesses and agricultural interests, for family welfare, and for the diversity and skills that new immigrants will bring to our local and state communities.
- We believe that integrating undocumented workers into the fabric of our society by offering these individuals work permits, with or without a path to citizenship, will benefit Colorado and stabilize our workforce.
- We support expanding the H-1B visa opportunities for highly skilled individuals from foreign countries to work in the U.S.
- We believe that an aggressive effort to secure our borders is important.
The Colorado Forum has been engaged for more than a decade as an advocate for immigration reform. We have spent a great deal of time and effort encouraging our elected officials to pass a bipartisan immigration reform package and were pleased to see that work accomplished in 2013 by the U.S. Senate. We urged our Representatives in the U.S. House to move forward with comprehensive immigration reform legislation as well. We met with immigration reform leaders in the White House as well as the U.S. House and Senate during our annual Washington trip and returned with a clear message supporting our passion for action. With 100% consensus, the Forum crafted an “open letter” to our congressional delegation (below) to urge Congress to immigration to the front of its agenda for discussion and debate, with a goal of an immigration reform package to be voted out of Congress and passed into law. We continue to pursue this path as we believe immigration reform is a critical element in the future success of our state and our country.
Colorado Forum letter to our Congressional delegation:
June 5, 2014
The members of the Colorado Forum – with 100% consensus -- strongly urge our Congressional delegation and their House colleagues across the nation to bring immigration reform legislation to the floor of the House of Representatives for a vote this summer. This Congress has an opportunity to fix a system that has been broken for generations and set a productive course for America for generations to come. The time to act is now.
While reasonable minds can debate specific policies and timelines, the economic, national security and moral reasons to pass meaningful immigration reform are clear.
• Immigration reform that addresses the 11.7 million undocumented individuals in the United States, as well as creates a visa system that permits foreigners educated in the United States to stay and work in this country will, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and other independent analyses, grow the U.S. gross domestic product by 3.4 percent in ten years ($700 billion by 2023 in today’s dollars) and 5.4 percent in twenty years ($1.4 trillion by 2033 in today’s dollars). Since this country’s founding, immigration has been integral to America's economic growth, driving productivity, stimulating consumer spending, rewarding entrepreneurship, and adding fuel to America's economic engine. Reform, as it has been drafted in the Senate and through potential House legislation, supports immigration in ways that will drive the U.S. forward in this globalized economy.
• The opportunity for citizenship does not condone or excuse those individuals who came to this country illegally; it rewards people for paying taxes and for bearing the responsibilities as well as the privileges of citizenship. Reforms under consideration in the Senate and House make the path to citizenship rigorous and demand a great deal once citizenship is earned.
• Thoughtful reform enables us to move undocumented neighbors, co-workers, and families from the margins of society into the mainstream, dramatically increasing the likelihood that they can become even more productive members of our communities. Whether one is motivated by pragmatism, humanitarianism, economic stimulus or a combination of those issues, a shift from life in the shadows to engaged economic activity for the benefit of our country is fundamental to this effort.
• Reform is necessary to bring greater and much-needed security to our borders and ports. A concept that articulates a long-term strategic plan for dealing with citizenship but ignores security is not acceptable; nor can a plan work that focuses only on security and defers yet again the question of a broader reform agenda.
We need prudent, thoughtful and courageous statesmanship – on both sides of the aisle – in order to address our immigration challenges. America’s economic health and national security demand no less.
We urge – in the strongest possible terms – that you, as our representatives in Congress, demonstrate political courage and bring this matter to the House floor for a vote before your summer recess. We ask you to honor the needs and expectations of the American people by developing a practical, rational, comprehensive policy on immigration. You have the opportunity to leave a tremendous legacy, not just for Colorado but for the country. We thank you for your service and for your thoughtful consideration.
Members of the Colorado Forum
Cc: The Honorable Mike Coffman, U.S. Representative
The Honorable Diana DeGette, U.S. Representative
The Honorable Cory Gardner, U.S. Representative
The Honorable Doug Lamborn, U.S. Representative
The Honorable Jared Polis, U.S. Representative
The Honorable Scott Tipton, U.S. Representative
The Honorable Ed Perlmutter, U.S. Representative
The Honorable Michael Bennet, U.S. Senator
The Honorable Mark Udall, U.S. Senator