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Colorado immigration reform advocates applauded Friday’s passage by the U.S. House of the Build Back Better budget bill for its protections against deportations and access to work permits during a period of severe labor shortages in the state and across the country.
Marissa Molina, Colorado State Immigration director for the tech-backed immigration reform advocacy group FWD.us, grew up in Glenwood Springs and is a former DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipient who now has her green card. Molina issued the following statement over the weekend:
“The House of Representatives’ passage of the Build Back Better Act, including votes of support from Colorado Representatives Joe Neguse, Diana DeGette, Jason Crow, and Ed Perlmutter, will help ensure 100,000 eligible undocumented Coloradans and seven million undocumented immigrants nationwide have access to work permits, deportation protections, and the ability to stay safe and together with their loved ones. This welcomed and long overdue relief will help boost our economy, increase tax contributions, and support Colorado communities and families. While a pathway to citizenship is still needed, I thank Colorado’s Democratic representatives in the House for supporting this legislation and encourage Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper to urgently pass the Build Back Better Act. Colorado immigrants, including myself, are counting on it.”
The $1.85 trillion Build Back Better bill contains massive new spending on Democratic priorities ranging from climate change mitigation to health care expansion. It also marks the most significant immigration reform since the 1980s, and immigration advocacy groups have been pushing hard for its passage.
The bill faces a much tougher path in the Senate, where two moderate Democrats — Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona — have been blocking its passage for months. Senate rules also may prohibit inclusion of immigration reform, although the Senate can override the unelected parliamentarian.