Colorado Considers Immigration Reform


Earlier this week Colorado agricultural officials discussed possible changes to the state’s immigration rules. At a meeting of the Colorado Farm Bureau, Agricultural Commissioner John Salazar recommended that Colorado pass legislation similar to Utah’s recent guest worker bill.

The Utah legislation would allow illegal immigrants to apply for guest worker pass good for two years. In order to be eligible, potential applicants would have to prove that they resided in Utah, would need a clean criminal record, and would be required to pay a $2,500 fine. In exchange, applicants would be able to work legally in the state for up to two years.

Salazar and supporters of a similar Colorado bill argue that expanding guest worker programs could be a great boon to the state’s agricultural industry. In recent months, events across the country have reinforced the importance of immigration to American agriculture.

In Georgia, for example, a tough immigration law has cost the state over 10,000 agricultural jobs and over $300 million in lost revenue.  While not as severe as Georgia’s labor problem, according to Salazar, Colorado doesn’t have enough workers to fully meet the needs of the agricultural industry.

Opponents of the bill state that Colorado could become a sort of sanctuary state, with illegal immigrants across the country flocking across the state’s borders. They fear that increased illegal immigration could increase the costs of social services.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer