Immigrant Contributions Positive, House Votes On Education Monday
As the Colorado House considers whether to support in-state tuition for undocumented youth, a recent study says immigrants make positive contributions to the economy. According to the Colorado Center on Law and Policy, undocumented workers produce 91,000 jobs and generate 4.7 billion in taxable income in the state yet some want to take their anger over budget cuts out on undocumented youth. Meanwhile, young people throughout Colorado are anxious to see what future law makers have in mind for students Monday when the House votes upon the measure. The law has already passed the Colorado senate.
Colorado has taken a severe view on undocumented immigrants. The state forbids undocumented workers from owning businesses, registering a car, or having a driver’s license and denies them access to nearly all state services including health care unless the immigrant’s life is in imminent peril. Governor Ritter signed the Secure Communities agreement marrying police data bases with immigration and customs enforcement (ICE) computers. Rep. David Balmer (R. Centennial) proposed all law enforcement adopt the secure communities marriage or lose tax funding.
Rep. David Balmer (R-Centennial) proposing anti-immigrant legislation
The immigrant community now fears reporting crimes including sex crimes, which leaves perpetrators on the street. The students of undocumented workers, innocent of even the administrative violation of crossing the border without inspection because they were too young to know the difference, are some of the most tragic victims of a broken immigration system. After growing up “American” many students find they they lack the necessary social security number required to get into college.
The discussion regarding undocumented workers in the Colorado media has been mostly framed in terms of the costs incurred to the system without considering the benefits. A similar argument was used in Arizona to garner support for passage of SB 1070 in 2010, the most vicious anti-immigrant law in the history of the US passed to that date. Subsequently, an estimated 200,000 undocumented workers and their US citizen family members fled Arizona along with their taxable incomes and billions of dollars in buying power. In contrast, a slew of anti-immigrant laws were defeated this year in Arizona after the business community intervened on behalf of the immigrants.Continued on the next page