Colorado, National Leaders Intensify Call for Immigration Reform

May 14, 2013

ASPEN, COLO. — With the Senate Judiciary Committee intensely debating the immigration reform bill, Colorado business and law enforcement leaders joined forces today with staff from U.S. Senator Michael Bennet’s office and Dr. Mark Doms, Undersecretary for Economic Affairs at the U.S. Department of Commerce, for a solutions-based conversation on immigration reform.

At a summit co-sponsored by the Aspen Chamber and Resort Association and the Aspen Institute, with the support of the National Immigration Forum, influential leaders gathered to showcase the importance of immigration reform for local Colorado businesses, law enforcement and the country at large.

“Immigration really is a Main Street issue here in Roaring Fork Valley and Colorado,” said Warren Klug, General Manager of the Aspen Square Hotel and Condominiums. “Everyone has contact either personally or in the economy with an immigrant every single day. For our economy, for our communities, we need to move forward on comprehensive immigration reform.”

Business leaders focused on the positive economic effects of immigration reform for Colorado communities, but also emphasized that reform should be a federal priority.

“This bill is sorely needed. As a company and family that is trying to follow the law, we see every day that the system is simply broken,” said Nan Stockholm Walden, Vice President of Farmers Investment Company. “It is heartbreaking on the personal level and it is dysfunctional on a business level. It’s so important for us to have federal comprehensive policy solutions.”

Colorado law enforcement leaders echoed the call and pointed out the direct correlation between immigration reform and better security for Colorado communities.

“My point of view is strictly from the law enforcement perspective: Law enforcement would be greatly aided by comprehensive immigration reform,” said John Suthers, Colorado Attorney General. “We need to know who is coming into our country. Once we know who is coming in, and who is going out, we can then target those who are committing crimes.”

“Continuing to perpetuate our flawed immigration system shackles our economy and sews distrust in our communities,” added Ann Allott of the Allott Immigration Law Firm. “I was so proud to see such an engaged and diverse crowd out in the western part of Colorado to have a solutions-focused conversation on immigration. Colorado leaders are going to be critical for immigration reform in 2013.”

The Monday forum bridged the range of work happening on the ground in Colorado with summits in the Mountain West, Midwest, Southeast and Washington, D.C., where Bibles, Badges and Business leaders from across the political spectrum have gathered for rational conversations on how to move our nation forward on immigration.

“Today’s event sends a strong message: Our nation’s Bibles, Badges and Business leaders are engaged and ready to fight for a commonsense and bipartisan immigration solution,” said Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum. “Immigration reform isn’t just something to debate in Washington. From a sheriff along the southern border to a business owner here in Aspen to an evangelical pastor in South Carolina, all of us understand that our nation sorely needs reform.”