The state of Colorado has come up with its own solution to the Green Card backlash: the Purple Card.
According to CBS4, some state lawmakers say that if Congress won’t reform the immigration system then they will, by introducing a bill that will allow anyone who has paid state taxes for at least two years and hasn’t had a felony in three years to be eligible for legal status.
For many, the bill would become life-changing.
“It will help me to stay in this country longer,” Llani Duenes, who from El Salvador 18 years ago and will lose her temporary protected status in 18 months under a new federal policy, told CBS4.
The bill would give her and hundreds of thousands of people like her permanent legal status in Colorado.
“It benefits the state because they know who’s working where, and we know for sure they’re paying taxes,” Omar Gomez, who is leading the purple card movement, told CBS4.
“The alternative is two-fold. One, you’re either going to be relying on the social safety net that is going to have a lot of people asking for food banksand all these other things; or you’re going to have folks who are still going to work, but just work in the black market and neither of those is acceptable policy for us in Colorado,” Rep. Dan Pabon, the bill’s sponsor, told CBS4.
Although the bill would make Colorado the first state in the country with its own legal work permit, some are still concerned about the legality of it “because it’s unconstitutional,” Rep. Patrick Neville told CBS4.
“It’s against federal law. We’re a nation of laws and this is nothing more than them politically pandering to those here illegally,” he added.
“I think a purple card has a lot of problems, or there would be a lot details to work out. Anything like that, if it was going to be considered, should go along with much more aggressive enforcement of people paying their workers under the table,” Gov. John Hickenlooper told CBS4.
According to CBS4, under the bill, the state would protect employers who hire those with purple cards from federal penalties, how they will do so is still unclear.
The Colorado Department of Labor would be in charge of developing the program.