DENVER — On Wednesday, Gov. Jared Polis shared his letter to U.S. Congressional leadership calling for immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for "aspiring Americans."
In the letter, Polis praised the nation's immigrant community as "vital" to the economy throughout the pandemic, filling the essential workforce in a variety of sectors.
"As our country and the state of Colorado works to build back stronger from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical that our nation provides a pathway to earn citizenship for hardworking aspiring Americans who have helped our country step up to the challenges of the last year and a half," Polis wrote.
Polis added he believes the immigration system should be built in a way that's "humane and orderly and rooted in justice and enforceability. A system that we can be proud of includes a pathway to earn citizenship for aspiring Americans because as we emerge from this pandemic, we need every worker, every neighbor, and every friend to help contribute to our nation’s economy and our communities,"
Some feel Polis' letter is just the starting point to advocate for Colorado's immigrant communities.
"We've been asking for this. I am excited that the governor is joining with the chorus of people who've been asking for immigration reform," said Ean Tafoya, co-chair of the Colorado Latino Forum.
Through his work, Tafoya advocates for the advancement of the Latinx community and immigrant rights.
"For us, immigration is natural, climate immigration is natural. People move. It's been happening since the beginning of time. For us, we really just want to make sure it's less expensive, that the times are shorter, that it becomes easier to do it. And of course, getting our children out of the cages," he said.
Congress hasn't passed any major immigration reform in over 30 years, with Republicans and Democrats rarely reaching across the aisle.
Now, Polis' letter comes on the heels of U.S. Congressional Democrats hoping to put immigration action into Biden's domestic agenda for this fall.
"I mean there has to be more done in the community for education about pathways to citizenship," Tafoya said. "It's incredibly costly. It shouldn't cost that much money to ask to live in a place where you're working and contributing to society."