Support the Agriculture Worker Bill of Rights
Posted: April 22, 2021
The Farmworker Bill of Rights, SB21-087, could be voted on in the senate tomorrow! This means we are in crunch time for making our voices heard! Even if you’ve already sent a letter, please send a second one with this new template. Your senator needs to know you support the bill so they’ll vote for […]Take Action
Pledge to Mobilize for Immigration Reform!
Posted: January 19, 2021
As we begin 2021, we will begin organizing our network to demand immediate action for immigration reform. We urge every Coloradan to add their name pledging to join us as we mobilize for immigrant rights.Take Action
Immigrants in Colorado and across the country have endured years of fear, uncertainty, and pain as a result of our broken immigration system. Now it’s time for bold change –– and congress knows it. Here are some of the national immigration reform bills currently being considered:
- The US Citizenship Act
- The Farmworker Modernization Act
- The Dream and Promise Act
- The Citizenship for Essential Workers Act
The US Citizenship Act is based on President Biden’s immigration reform plan. It offers an eight year path to citizenship for most undocumented immigrants, and an accelerated path for essential workers and DACA and TPS recipients. It has several harmful measures, such as significant criminal carve-outs and increased funding for border surveillance. However, out of all the current national immigration bills, this bill would provide the most inclusive pathway to citizenship.
This bill would…
Create a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants
If the bill passes, any undocumented immigrant currently in the US who arrived before 1/1/21 could be eligible for this pathway to citizenship. This bill would allow immigrants to apply for temporary legal status, then apply for a green card five years later. Immigrant farm workers, as well as DACA and TPS holders, could apply for a green card immediately.
Strengthen labor protections for immigrants
The bill would protect workers who are victims of workplace retaliation from deportation. It would give workers who suffer serious labor violations and cooperate with worker protection agencies greater access to U visas. It also includes penalties for employers who violate labor laws.
Make some parts of our immigration system more efficient and more fair
The bill would get rid of the deadline for asylum claims, increase funding for asylum processing, clear backlogs and reduce wait times. The cap on U visas would also be raised to 30,000 visas. The bill would expand training for immigration judges, improve technology for immigration courts, remove the unfair “3 and 10 year bars” rule, and give judges more freedom to review cases and grant relief.
Protect against some injustice in the immigration system
The bill would prohibit discrimination based on religion or sexuality. It would also limit the power that presidents have to issue bans. In addition, it would institute reforms to address misconduct in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Provide support to immigrants currently in the US
The bill would expand family case management programs, fund school districts educating unaccompanied children, and re-institute the Central American Minor's Program to reunite children with US relatives. It would also create a Central American family reunification parole program to unite families with approved family sponsorship petitions.
Decrease the need for people to undergo dangerous travel to immigrate to the US
The bill aims to fund a $4 billion four year plan to reduce migration by increasing assistance to Central American countries. It would also set up centers throughout Central America to process displaced people for resettlement either to the US or elsewhere.
Increase harmful surveillance at the border and in the workplace
The bill would increase DHS funding and provide funding for a “smart wall” at the border, which would mean more surveillance in and around border communities. Because of systemic biases in our law enforcement, immigration enforcement, and criminal justice systems, over-surveillance leads to people of color being disproportionately targeted and jailed. The bill would also increase “employment verification,” which hurts workers and their families instead of the unethical employers who hire and exploit them. Increased surveillance and employment verification don’t make us safer, they just harm our communities and punish people excessively for small mistakes or for making the only choices available to them.
Continue and expand many criminal exclusions to legal resident status
Although the bill leaves the possibility for certain previous criminal exclusion rules to be lifted, it would maintain many of the rules barring people with certain criminal convictions from receiving legal status. It would also introduce some new rules shutting even more people out. Criminal bars like these are pointless and unfair. If a US citizen is convicted of a crime, they will serve their sentence or pay their fine, and then be done. But many noncitizens are punished twice: once by the criminal justice system, and then again by the immigration system blocking them from legal status or citizenship.
The Farmworker Modernization Act (FMA) offers a difficult, limited pathway to citizenship for farmworkers. Other bills, like the U.S. Citizenship Act, offer farmworkers a better pathway to citizenship without violating their human and labor rights. Therefore, CIRC does not support the current form of the FMA. We will be working with our representatives to attempt to amend the harmful parts of this bill.
The Farmworker Modernization Act would…
Expand temporary worker programs, which hurt our communities
This act grows the H-2A guestworker program and creates another similar program. Temporary worker programs have a history of abusing the participants and exploiting their labor, so much that the American Friends Service Committee calls them “akin to Human Trafficking.” Although they contain labor protections, inspections are rare and ineffective. This is no surprise given the programs were built to provide companies with as cheap labor as possible.
Require E-verify, which punishes workers and their families instead of unethical employers
The FMA would require all agriculture businesses to use the E-verify system to check any current and future employee’s immigration status. Businesses would not be allowed to employ anyone found to be undocumented. Experts estimate this could force hundreds of thousands of workers to lose their jobs, punishing them and their families instead of the employers who exploit their labor.
Exclude past workers or anyone unable to work 8+ years in agriculture
The act’s pathway to citizenship requires immigrants to work a minimum of eight years in agriculture. (People who have already worked in agriculture for 10+ years will have to work for four more years, and everyone else will have to work for eight more years to qualify for a green card.) This means that anyone who gets sick or injured due to the physically demanding labor could be unfairly excluded from the pathway to citizenship.
The Dream and Promise Act is a bill that would create a pathway to citizenship for DACA and TPS (Temporary Protected Status) recipients. It has already been passed by the House! Unfortunately, the house added several harsh “carve-outs” that would exclude thousands of people from the pathway to citizenship. Now, we’re calling on the senate to pass a clean version of the DREAM Act –– a version that doesn’t include the harmful criminal carve-outs that the House version has.
QUICK FACTS: The Dream and Promise Act would…
Provide conditional permanent resident status to some immigrants
If you are a DACA recipient, to be eligible, you must have:
- Come to the US before you were 18
- Lived full-time in the US since then
- Earned or be in the process of earning a high school diploma or an equivalent in the US
If you are a TPS holder, you must have:
- Lived full-time in the US for at least three years before the date the bill is signed into law.
- Demonstrated your eligibility for TPS on or before September 17, 2017
- If you are a DED recipient, you must have had DED as of January 20, 2021.
The bill would allow people who meet these criteria to apply for permanent resident status -- if they can pass a background check and pay an application fee.
Stop certain DACA recipients from accessing the pathway to citizenship
While this bill would grant conditional permanent resident status for some immigrants, individuals with past criminal records may be barred from a pathway to citizenship. For instance, immigrants who have engaged in sex work would be ineligible. Immigrants who have committed simple misdemeanors or many other trivial offenses would also be ineligible.
The bill states that the Department of Homeland Security could “provisionally deny [an] application if the alien poses a danger to public safety.” This phrase gives DHS the authority to deny applications based on the vague standard of “posing a danger.” As a result, it would block many immigrants from a fair chance at citizenship.
Lastly, people who receive the conditional resident status may lose their residency if they commit a serious crime. This is deeply unfair. Anyone convicted of a crime will already be punished by the criminal justice system. There is no reason that undocumented immigrants should be punished doubly by also losing their legal status.
Provide legal counsel to applicants seeking judicial review
The Dream and Promise Act would ensure that applicants whose cases are denied can seek judicial review and be represented by a lawyer. To fund court-appointed counsel for applicants, the Treasury will establish an “Immigration Counsel Account,” funded by the application fees and an additional $25 surcharge. Applicants who have proven that they would be exempt from paying application fees would not have to pay the surcharge either.
Cancel or pause deportation proceedings for DACA and TPS holders who are eligible
This bill would pause deportation proceedings for DACA recipients who meet requirements for conditional permanent resident status and prevent deportations of DACA recipients under the age of 18 if they meet all requirements except for being enrolled in high school or equivalent. Deportation proceedings for any TPS holders with DED who are eligible for legal permanent resident status would also be canceled under this bill.
Let TPS or DACA recipients who were deported or left the US apply from abroad
The Dream and Promise Act would allow eligible Dreamers deported under the Trump administration to apply for relief from abroad. The bill also allows TPS recipients who were deported or have voluntarily left the US on or after September 17, 2017 to apply for legal permanent residence if they meet certain requirements, including having lived in the US continuously for at least three years before their departure.
This bill would give undocumented essential workers the chance to become US citizens. As it passes through Congress, we must make sure it doesn’t include any unfair barriers blocking some essential workers from qualifying.
QUICK FACTS: The Citizenship for Essential Workers Act would…
Give non-citizen essential workers Legal Permanent Resident status
Under the Citizenship for Essential Workers Act, any non-citizen worker in one of several kinds of service, domestic care, medical, and agricultural, and construction service industries could apply to immediately receive permanent resident status. Undocumented people who worked in these industries but lost their jobs or left due to COVID-19 would also qualify for this program. Finally, the family members of any undocumented essential worker who died from COVID-19 would also be able to apply for permanent resident status.
Get rid of the three- and ten-year bars for re-entry
The three- and ten-year bars came from the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immgrant Responsiblity Act. They ban undocumented individuals from returning to the US for either three or ten years if they voluntarily departed after being in the US for an extended period of time. The Citizenship for Essential Workers Act would get rid of those bars, which would help to keep families together and respect individual rights to freedom of movement.
Coloradans Expose Stories of ICE Abuse and Call For Action on Biden’s 100th Day in Office
April 30, 2021Press Release
To mark President Biden’s 100th day in office, the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition joined with organizations across the country to conduct their own, independent Truth and Accountability Forum on the country’s immigration enforcement arm. Nine community members from across Colorado who have been personally impacted by ICE gave eyewitness accounts on Friday to the agency’s […]
Our Vision for Federal Immigration Reform: 9 Demands
April 12, 2021What's New at CIRC
This is our moment to create bold, lasting change. We must fight for justice for all immigrants, and that fight must be based on the hopes and needs of Colorado’s immigrant communities. Working with our directly impacted members, we’ve come up with nine demands for immigration justice:
Press Release: Advocates call for more just and inclusive path to citizenship as CO reps sign essential workers bill
March 25, 2021Press Release
Denver, CO – Last week, the Citizenship for Essential Workers Act was introduced in the House of Representatives by Reps. Castro and Lieu, and in the Senate by Sens. Padilla and Warren. The legislation would put up to 5+ million undocumented essential workers on pathways to citizenship. This week, Senator Hickenlooper joined Senator Representative DeGette […]
Statement: Trump Administration Attempts to Intimidate “Safe Cities”
September 30, 2020Press Release
For Immediate Release Press contact: CO Rapid Response Network is prepared, calls on Senate to support localities, restrict ICE’s funding Denver – Colorado (September 29, 2020) This week, the Washington Post reports Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reports will supposedly detain and harass people in jurisdictions with policies that limit collaboration between ICE and local […]
Statement on DHS Funding Deal & Border Wall Negotiations
February 14, 2019Press Release
Denver CO – CIRC issued the following response as more details emerge about the Congressional deal to fund DHS and Trump’s border wall: Nicole Melaku CIRC Executive Director said: “We are saddened and deeply angry to hear that a deal has been reached on the backs of immigrants and working families across the country. The […]
Support the Agriculture Worker Bill of Rights!
April 22, 2021
The Farmworker Bill of Rights, SB21-087, could be voted on in the senate tomorrow! This means we are in crunch time for making our voices heard! Even if you’ve already sent a letter, please send a second one with this new template. Your senator needs to know you support the bill so they’ll vote for it once it hits the senate floor!
CIRC’s Nine Demands for Immigration Reform
April 14, 2021