Unburdened by former President Donald Trump's threats against "sanctuary states," Colorado is moving confidently to provide financial relief and legal protections to people who entered the country unlawfully.
What's happening: Gov. Jared Polis signed first-of-its-kind legislation in April to grant state taxpayer-funded housing benefits, such as loans and vouchers, to families regardless of their immigration status.
- A separate bill would go even further to remove other prohibitions from a 2006 Colorado law (supported by top Democrats at the time) to allow more state and local government aid and professional licenses to people living in the U.S. illegally.
Earlier in the year, Polis signed legislation granting a tax break in the 2020 tax year to people without a Social Security number — a year earlier than planned.
- Two more new laws removed the term "illegal alien" from public contracts and made extortion related to one's legal status a crime.
What's next: Other legislation pending at the state Capitol would:
- Issue grants to nonprofits that provide legal assistance to avoid deportation.
- Prohibit the state from sharing information about a person's immigration status.
- Provide unemployment payments to workers regardless of their lawful status.
What they're saying: Sen. Julie Gonzales, a Denver Democrat and leading immigration advocate, said the assistance will help thousands of children who live in mixed-status households amid the pandemic and beyond.
- "Even if just one member of the family was undocumented, the entire family was barred from accessing the critically important rental assistance resources," she said.
The other side: Sen. John Cooke (R-Greeley) objected to using state dollars on people living here illegally, the Denver Post reported.
- "They need to get in line and come in to this country legally, like millions of other people have," he said. "Taxpayer money shouldn’t be funding these people staying here.”
Of note: Democratic Attorney General Phil Weiser announced Tuesday that the state won a lawsuit initially filed against the Trump administration for requiring immigration enforcement as a condition of a $2.7 million federal grant.
- A federal judge ruled in the state's favor in April 2020, and the Biden administration decided not to continue an appeal of the case.
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