Open Letters | News &Updates | Press Releases
September 16, 2020
Colorado Congressional Delegation
United States Capitol
Dear Honorable Colorado Congressional Delegation Members,
We proudly write you today to introduce the Colorado Business Coalition for Immigration Solutions (CBCIS). This statewide group of more than 45 businesses, chambers of commerce, and trade organizations across industries have come together with a common goal: addressing the critical and immediate need for commonsense federal immigration policies.
As our state, and the nation, continue to grapple with the economic ramifications of the response and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, what binds CBCIS firmly together is our tangible understanding of the role that our immigrant and refugee communities have played on the frontlines of this pandemic —as healthcare workers, educators, small business owners, and as critical workers in our food supply pipeline — and will continue to play as our economy recovers. Now, more than ever, the economic imperative of addressing this country’s broken immigration system is clear. Our businesses navigate this flawed system daily, and directly feel the impact of a system that lacks the capacity to reliably provide individuals a pathway into our workforce; an immediate challenge as we begin the long and hard work of recovery.
Further, it is worth noting that immigrants are not only essential members of our workforce, but also taxpayers, consumers, business owners, and students who are graduating into economically critical fields like healthcare and STEM. In 2018, immigrants paid $5 billion in federal, state, and local taxes, and held $14.2 billion in spending power, according to New American Economy.
Members of CBCIS align with the broad tenets of the Colorado Compact, and all members are signatories to this bipartisan agreement issued in 2012 and reaffirmed in June 2019. We also believe in a data-driven approach to decision making, and to that end we are powered by the economic research of New American Economy (NAE), a bipartisan research and advocacy organization.
While the recent tone and tenor in both Washington, D.C. and across our country has been political and partisan, we believe that addressing the issues facing our immigration system can and must be a bipartisan effort. Focusing on and securing our economic future through a strong immigration system is a solid, and critical, position for both parties to embrace. We understand what will work and what will fail, and we stand ready to provide you with real-life Colorado examples and feedback on proposals that Congress will consider. Further, we humbly offer to assist you in crafting legislative solutions that will provide for real and meaningful reform.
We urge you to come together with your Congressional colleagues, and your fellow Colorado Delegation members, to lead the way in this important debate. The time is now. Our economy cannot wait.
We look forward to engaging with you on this important issue and will follow up to schedule time with you while you are in Colorado. Should you wish to contact us in the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact our coalition director, Brock Herzberg.
Associated General Contractors
Aurora Chamber of Commerce
Boulder Chamber of Commerce
Chamber of the Americas
Colorado Association of Homebuilders
Colorado Association of Mechanical and Plumbing Contractors
Colorado Bankers Association
Colorado Business Roundtable
Colorado Competitive Council (C3)
Colorado Contractors Association
Colorado Dairy Farmers
Colorado Farm Bureau
Colorado Hospital Association
Colorado Hotel and Lodging Association
Colorado Livestock Association
Colorado Realtors Association
Colorado Restaurant Association
Colorado Ski Country USA
Colorado Technology Association
Colorado Wool Growers Association
Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce
Economic Developers Council of Colorado (EDCC)
Ft. Collins Area Chamber of Commerce
Global Chamber Denver
Greeley Area Chamber of Commerce
Hispanic Chamber of Metro Denver
Loveland Chamber of Commerce
National Onion Association
Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance
Pueblo Chamber of Commerce
Rocky Mountain Farmers Union
South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce
Vail Valley Partnership
Westminster Chamber of Commerce
Jerry Glick, Columbia Group LLP
News & Updates
Op-Ed: How Colorado's Office of New Americans Can Help Immigrant Entrepreneurs
September 6, 2021
Authored by Javion Blake, Founder of Jus Chill, CBCIS Member
OPINION: Our Farmers Need a Reliable Labor Source. Congress Needs to Pass the Farm Workforce Modernization Act Now
The Fort Morgan Times
March 26, 2021
Authored by Cathy Shull, Executive Director of Pro15, CBCIS Steering Committee Member
GUEST COLUMN: Colorado Ag producers are scrambling for workers
Colorado Springs Gazette
October 9, 2020
Authored by Sara Blackhurst, President of Action22, CBCIS Steering Committee Member
Interview with Brock Herzberg, CBCIS Director
The Barn Radio Network
September 21, 2020
Romer: Trump’s visa suspension further damages Eagle County economy
August 13, 2020
Authored by Chris Romer, President and CEO, Vail Valley Partnership, CBCIS Member
Why Immigrants Are Good for Colorado’s Economy and Soul
August 2, 2019
Op-Ed: Congress Needs to Create a Guest Worker Program for Dairy Farms
July 20, 2019
Club 20 wants a fix for immigration system
The Daily Sentinel
July 7, 2019
Sen. Gardner and Attorney General Weiser urge support for Colorado Dreamers
June 30, 2019
Colorado AG says he's 'disappointed' SCOTUS will hear DACA case, calls for support of Dreamers
June 28, 2019
DACA Supreme Court case worries Colorado Dreamers; Gardner seeking congressional action
June 28, 2019
Colorado Among 16 States Advocating For Dreamers Before Supreme Court
June 28, 2019
AG Weiser, Sen. Gardner discuss Dreamers, DACA at Colorado Compact on Immigration
June 28, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 16, 2020
More than 45 Colorado Business and Industry Leaders Announce New Coalition Calling for Immediate Federal Immigration Solutions
Research from New American Economy finds that immigrants contribute $1.5 billion in Colorado state and local taxes, and play a sizeable role in key industries from STEM to construction
DENVER, CO — Today, a diverse coalition of business and industry leaders from across the state formally launched the Colorado Business Coalition for Immigration Solutions (CBCIS). The coalition, whose mission is to advance the principles of the Colorado Compact within the state and in Washington DC, was announced with an open letter to the Colorado congressional delegation articulating that modernizing the country’s immigration system must be a priority for elected officials, and that solutions are achievable now.
“As our state, and the nation, continue to grapple with the economic ramifications of the response and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, what binds CBCIS firmly together is our tangible understanding of the role that our immigrant and refugee communities have played on the frontlines of this pandemic —as healthcare workers, educators, small business owners, and as critical workers in our food supply pipeline — and will continue to play as our economy recovers. Now, more than ever, the economic imperative of addressing this country’s broken immigration system is clear. Our businesses navigate this flawed system daily, and directly feel the impact of a system that lacks the capacity to reliably provide individuals a pathway into our workforce; an immediate challenge as we begin the long and hard work of recovery,” the letter stated.
The coalition represents more than 45 diverse organizations across Colorado’s industries and regions, including the Colorado Association of Home Builders, the Colorado Dairy Farmers, the Colorado Technology Association, the Colorado Hotel and Lodging Association, and Club 20, among others.
Read about the Coalition and see its full list of members here.
Going forward, CBCIS will be a leading voice of the business community in conversations around immigration in the state and in Washington, and will continue to champion an immigration system that recognizes the critical role of immigrants in Colorado’s economy.
This new coalition has formed as data from New American Economy’s Map the Impact shows how immigrants add to Colorado’s economy and workforce. In 2018, immigrants paid a total of $1.5 billion in state and local taxes and held $14.2 billion in spending power. Furthermore, immigrants are instrumental in driving some of Colorado’s most critical industries, such as construction (46.2 percent of the industry’s workers) and STEM (13 percent). Immigrants also contribute to the state economy by starting new businesses. There are 36,444 immigrant entrepreneurs who employ 102,298 Coloradans.
“Nearly every industry—hospitality, construction, manufacturing, finance, tourism, and health and wellness—has trouble getting the employees they need,” said Chris Romer, President and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership, which represents 900+ local businesses in Eagle County. “I’ve heard stories from companies in various industries that indicate they’ve simply stopped bidding on projects because they don’t have enough people to get the job done. And they can’t afford to import workers from Denver.”
“It’s clear that the need for high-skilled workers in our country continues to grow. The data shows it,” said Frannie Matthews, President and CEO of the Colorado Technology Association. “Our current immigration policy is antiquated, limiting our ability to grow and innovate. Congress must act, and soon.”
“Colorado farmers are suffering from a crippling labor crisis, and it has been getting worse for years. We simply don’t have the skilled workers we need to sustain a healthy, robust agriculture industry in the state for the long term,” said Chris Kraft, Chair of the Board of Colorado Dairy Farmers. “In order for the dairy industry to continue supplying the country and world with nutritional products, Congress must act; the future of our industry depends on it.”
“Today a group of dynamic business leaders has come together to voice how policies that attract and retain global talent are critical to ensuring the vibrancy and vitality of Colorado’s economy,” said Mo Kantner, Director of State & Local Initiatives at New American Economy. “These leaders are speaking up just as the COVID-19 pandemic and recent federal actions to further restrict work visas threaten Colorado’s long-term recovery and resiliency.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 28, 2019
Colorado Business Leaders Strengthen Commitment to Colorado Compact and Call for Immigration Reform
DENVER, CO — Today, a bipartisan coalition of Colorado business, civic, academic, and faith leaders came together to promote the Colorado Compact on Immigration, a set of key principles outlining the need for smart immigration policies at the national level that will ensure the future growth and stability of Colorado’s economy. Initially introduced in 2012, the Colorado Compact on Immigration is signed by more than 120 prominent business, academic, faith, and civic leaders from across the state, including Western Union, Club 20, the University of Colorado system, and Vail Resorts, along with many of Colorado’s largest Chambers including the Denver Metro Chamber, Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC and Greeley Chamber, and most major industry associations.
The press conference at MSU Denver’s St. Cajetan's Event Center featured Senator Michael Bennet, who spearheaded the original Colorado Compact, U.S. Senator Cory Gardner, Hikmet Ersek, CEO of Western Union, and Colorado Business Roundtable President Jeff Wasden, among other business and civic leaders who recognize the integral role of immigrants in Colorado’s economy and future.
The Colorado Compact on Immigration and a discussion on the need for immigration reform
U.S. Senator Cory Gardner
U.S. Senator Michael Bennet (video remarks)
Hikmet Ersek, CEO of Western Union
Jeff Wasden, President of the Colorado Business Roundtable
Kelly Brough, President and CEO, of Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce
Don Shawcroft, President of Colorado Farm Bureau
Ted Leighty, CEO of Colorado Association of Homebuilders
Hanna Siegel, Managing Director of New American Economy
Friday, June 28 from 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM
St. Cajetan's Event Center
101 Lawrence Way
Denver, CO 80204
The Colorado Compact is a bipartisan initiative to advocate for common sense federal immigration reforms that strengthen Colorado’s economy. With unemployment in the state hovering near three percent, Colorado employers need a modern immigration system to address worker shortages and long-term labor needs. Signers of the Compact are committed to supporting legislation that prioritizes families, safe communities, and business needs while protecting the interests of American workers.
“Creating an immigration system that is responsive to business and economic needs, and includes seasonal work visas, is an important step to ensure that Colorado’s economy can continue to grow and support recreation-related industries like the ski industry,” said Melanie Mills, president and CEO of Colorado Ski Country USA.
“Colorado business leaders understand the importance of advancing a balanced, commonsense approach to immigration. As one of Colorado's leading business organizations, Colorado Business Roundtable recognizes and celebrates the contributions of our immigrant community and the critical role they play in fueling innovation, diversity of thought, and invaluable expertise for business growth and competitiveness," said Jeff Wasden, President of Colorado Business Roundtable. "We need an immigration system that is modernized to recruit and retain top talent. Immigrants are workers and taxpayers who make contributions to our everyday lives and communities. Addressing our broken immigration system with policies that reflect our values, is flexible and responsive to the needs of business and the changing workforce will ensure Colorado companies have the talent and workforce necessary to grow and compete globally."
“Colorado’s leaders know that welcoming immigrants is a key piece of the state’s future success. Take, for example, the 26,000 DACA-eligible residents in Colorado who pay nearly $76 million in taxes and have $420 million in spending power to contribute to the state’s economy,” said Hanna Siegel, Managing Director, New American Economy. “Immigrants are integral to the future of Colorado and that’s why more than 120 leaders have chosen to put politics aside and demand a real conversation about smart immigration reform.”
The Colorado Compact on Immigration comes as new data from New American Economy (NAE)’s Map the Impact shows the outsize contributions of immigrants to Colorado’s economy. According to NAE’s analysis, immigrants in Colorado paid $1.2 billion in state and local taxes and held $12.9 billion in spending power in 2017. Immigrants also support Colorado’s key industries. Nearly 39 percent of construction workers are immigrants, and immigrants make up a quarter of all workers in the tourism industry.
Colorado is one of five states to recognize the importance of State Compacts on immigration this year. Since February, Florida, Iowa, Texas, and Utah business and community leaders have all launched or reaffirmed their commitments to Compacts on Immigration in their state, demonstrating a strong, bipartisan imperative to welcome immigrants and advance sensible immigration policy.
New American Economy (NAE) is proud to support the 2019 Colorado Compact on Immigration.