The momentum for winning immigration reform in 2013 seems to be growing every day. Yesterday, Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) announced he was “more optimistic today” about passing significant reform than before the election.
And he should know. Not only is Sen. Bennet a member of the bipartisan Gang of 8 Senators who are crafting a legislative proposal for immigration reform, but he also led a recently launched bipartisan set of principles from leaders in Colorado.
This new effort, the Colorado Compact, boasts the broadest possible support for reform across the political spectrum. Co-chairs Senator Bennet and former Senator Hank Brown secured signatures for the Compact from some of the most conservative political leaders in the state, including Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck (also Bennet’s opponent in the 2010 Senate race) and Attorney General John Suthers.
This is one more sign that new leaders, both Republican and Democrat, are coming to the table with real proposals to move immigration reform forward.
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 COMMON SENSE 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.