For all families and communities to thrive, state and local officials must utilize an inclusive approach to family economic security as we push toward a post-pandemic Colorado. Unfortunately, current state law requires verification of legal presence when determining eligibility for public benefits. This prevents undocumented entrepreneurs from holding a business license that would allow them to participate fully in our economy. These businesses would create jobs and increase access to services like child care. Colorado families are struggling to find affordable and safe licensed child care, yet undocumented immigrants have been unable to access licensed jobs for 15 years. Illuminate Colorado is proud to be a member of a statewide coalition working to advance policies to remove barriers to public opportunities and boost family economic security.
Senate Bill 21-199 Remove Barriers to Certain Public Opportunities is a crucial step for our state to open the door for immigrants to apply for occupational and commercial licenses in Colorado, opportunities to apply for grants, contracts and loans, as well as access to basic public support services at the state and local level if funds are available. The bill gives local communities the authority to offer more resources to our immigrant and undocumented neighbors. While it does not mandate access to resources, it paves the way for cities and counties who have expressed interest in providing licensing, grants, and support services to their immigrant residents.
If passed, Senate Bill 21-199 will remove barriers for undocumented Coloradans:
- Provide occupational and commercial licenses in Colorado.
- Opportunities to apply for grants, contracts, and loans.
- Access to basic public support services at the state and local level if funds are available.
- Prohibit the use of immigration status as an eligibility factor in issuing benefits across the state.
Illuminate Colorado supports SB21-199, as hurdles to family financial security, public benefits, and child care must be overcome to secure a foundation for families and communities to thrive.
SB21-199 passed the House State, Civics, Military & Veterans Affairs Committee May 27th and is moving on to House Appropriations. Thank you to the Colorado Statewide Parent Coalition for leading these advocacy efforts.
Review the 2021 Policy Agenda
Download the 2021 Illuminating Policy Agenda.
Especially as the legislative session draws to a close, use the Illuminate Colorado Bill Tracker to stay up to date on the progression of bills this session related to strengthening families.
Stay up to date on policy that prevents child maltreatment and the 2021 Illuminating Policy Agenda by subscribing to Illuminate’s blog.