IMG_9322%202_edited.png
 

SINE DIE: IMMIGRANTS WIN BIG IN THE 2021 LEGISLATIVE SESSION

The 2021 Colorado Legislative Session has officially come to a close!


We supported 14 pieces of legislation, of which 13 passed. Almost every immigration-related bill introduced with support from Voces Unidas and other community groups passed this session.


Thanks to the hard work of community organizations and brave lawmakers, undocumented women now get access to contraceptives through a state program. Racist language passed in 2006 has been repealed in 2021. Undocumented entrepreneurs now qualify for state business licenses. Colorado becomes the first state to protect the privacy of state data, blocking ICE from using it to target our community. A new legal defense fund is now a reality for people trapped in immigration proceedings. Agriculture workers in Colorado now have basic labor rights. From top to bottom, Latino and immigrant communities won big!


A monumental legislative win like this should be cause for celebration! Each successful bill represents a victory for our communities.


For being our very first legislative session as a new organization, Voces Unidas had a significant presence at the Colorado State Capitol throughout the session. We joined coalitions. We were at the Capitol physically. We met with lawmakers. We had members of our community advocate for themselves.


Thank you to all who took action and participated in this session. Together, we are making Colorado a better place for all of us.


Below is a breakdown of each bill, including its description and the status:

 

VOCES UNIDAS 2021 PRIORITY BILL TRACKER

SB21-077: REMOVE LAWFUL PRESENCE VERIFICATION

Signed into law by Gov. Polis!

Eliminates the requirement to verify legal status by the Dept. of Education and Dept. of Regulatory Agencies before issuing professional, occupational and business licenses. This includes lice senses for barbers, cosmetologists, medical professionals and plumbers.

HB21-1054: HOUSING PUBLIC BENEFIT VERIFICATION REQUIREMENT

Signed into law by Gov. Polis!

Eliminates the requirements that people prove legal residency to qualify for state housing programs, including those offering vouchers, down payment assistance and home rehabilitation.

HB21-1060: U VISA CERTIFICATION

Signed into law by Gov. Polis!

The bill would create a time frame for obtaining a U Visa by creating a deadline to the process of obtaining a U-Visa to avoid undue delay and facilitate a timely response to avoid deportation for applicants. U-Visa is a type of visa that is granted to immigrants who are victims of a crime, having suffered either physical or mental abuse but are cooperating with law enforcement in investigation and prosecution of said crime.


HB21-1075: REPLACE TERM ILLEGAL ALIEN

Signed into law by Gov. Polis!

Removes the term “illegal alien” from state contracts for services and replaces it with the term “worker without authorization.” The term “illegal” is derogatory and dehumanizing.

SB21-199: REMOVE BARRIERS TO CERTAIN PUBLIC BENEFITS

Passed the House and Senate Floors! Now before Gov. Polis.

Would remove a broad state prohibition on providing state and local public benefits to undocumented people, including housing assistance, welfare and food assistance. It also gets rid of the requirement to prove legal status in order to obtain a professional, occupational or business license.

SB21-009: REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH CARE PROGRAM

Passed the House and Senate Floors! Now before Gov. Polis.

Would use state general fund dollars to pay for birth control and related counseling for low-income immigrants who would otherwise be eligible for coverage if not for their lack of citizenship or legal residency. Services would include a 12 month supply of any contraceptive drug, device, or product approved by the FDA, services for inserting or removing birth control devices and administering or managing birth control and its side effects, and counseling related to birth control and reproductive care.

SB21-131: DATA PRIVACY BILL

Passed the House and Senate Floors! Now before Gov. Polis.

Prohibits state agencies and their employees from sharing a broad range of private personal information for the purposes of cooperating or assisting ICE agents. This bill would also prevent state agencies from collecting information such as birth date, immigration status, except for an agency's official duties including to see if eligible to qualify for benefits. Private personal information would include: birth date, social security, tax ID number, photographs, medical or financial information, home or work address, family or contact information, license plate number or car registration information. Third parties requesting data would be required to promise not to use the information provided to aid immigration agents.

HB21-1150: OFFICE OF NEW AMERICAS

Passed the House and Senate Floors! Now before Gov. Polis.

This bill would create an Office of New Americans within the Dept. of Labor and Employment. The office's purpose would be to serve as a center for immigrant-focused programs, policies and services statewide and tasked with formulating a statewide strategy as well as recommendations for supporting immigrants and their families. The office would work in partnership with nonprofits and community organizations to reduce barriers to employment and help provide assistance and resettlement support to refugees.

HB21-1057: EXTORTION OF IMMIGRANTS

Passed the House and Senate Floors! Now before Gov. Polis.

Prohibits a person from threatening to report an immigrant’s citizenship status for purposes of extortion to authorities.

HB21-1318: CREATE OUTDOOR EQUITY GRANT PROGRAM

Passed the House and Senate Floors! Now before Gov. Polis.

Creates an outdoor equity program that addresses historic systemic, economic and demographic disparities of equitable access to Colorado’s outdoor recreation. It promotes access for racially and ethnically diverse youth and their families.

SB21-087: AGRICULTURAL WORKERS’ RIGHTS

Passed the House and Senate Floors! Now before Gov. Polis.

Would essentially create a Farmworkers bill of rights, affording farmworkers with overtime pay, meal and rest breaks.

HB21-1194: IMMIGRATION LEGAL DEFENSE FUND

Passed the House and Senate Floors! Now before Gov. Polis.

Creates an Immigration Legal Defense Fund to award grants to groups providing legal representation to people who are facing deportation but unable to afford an attorney. Groups helping clients facing deportation would receive 70% of the grant money.

HB21-1266: ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE DISPROPORTIONATE IMPACTED COMMUNITY

Passed the House and Senate Floors! Now before Gov. Polis.

Would identify impacted communities and require outreach by creating an environmental justice action task force.

SB21-200: REDUCE GREENHOUSE GASES INCREASE ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE

Did not pass. Moved to next legislative session 12/9/2021

Would mandate the state begin cutting its climate warming pollution, enforcing the largely voluntary greenhouse gas reduction “Roadmap” passed two years ago.