FWD.us Colorado State Director Hails Introduction of Expanded Professional Licensing Access Legislation

DENVER, CO — FWD.us Colorado Immigration State Director Marissa Molina issued the following statement today on the introduction of SB 21-077. If passed, the bill would allow all Coloradans – regardless of immigration status – to earn professional licenses for in-demand professions, such as nursing, childcare and teaching:

“SB 21-077, introduced by Senator Julie Gonzales (D-Denver) and Representatives Adrienne Benavidez (D-Adams) and Cathy Kipp (D-Larimer), would give thousands of Coloradans regardless of immigration status the chance to use their skills to support their families, communities, and the entire state.

“Currently, the requirements from the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) for professional license applicants prevents many immigrants from obtaining a professional license despite having the desire and knowledge to do so. Even DACA recipients who have work authorization, are unable to obtain more than 300 professional licenses from DORA. This includes immigrants seeking to contribute to vital roles, such as nursing, childcare and teaching which are experiencing employee shortages in the midst of the ongoing pandemic. By expanding licensing access to individuals who are Coloradans in every way but on paper, we can meet Colorado’s healthcare and education challenges, making our state safer, healthier and more economically competitive.

“Not only is expanding access to professional licenses for all Coloradans – regardless of immigration status – crucial to our COVID-19 response and long-term success, but it would hasten our nation’s economic recovery by driving increased state revenue and tax dollars, filling essential roles, and expanding the economic contributions of immigrant communities, which will benefit all Coloradans.

“We commend the introduction of this critical legislation and look forward to partnering with sponsors Senator Gonzales, and Representatives Benavidez and Kipp as well as the Governor’s office to ensure its passage and guarantee that no career is off-limits due to a Coloradan’s immigration status.”

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