Westword: Michael Bennet's role in Colorado Compact on immigration caps senator's big week
When John Hickenlooper addressed the Democratic National Convention in early September, he emphasized how Coloradans could overcome party differences to collaborate -- unlike Congress. And Coloradans offered an impressive display of collaboration yesterday, when former Senator Hank Brown, a Republican, and Senator Michael Bennet, a Democrat, unveiled the Colorado Compact on immigration -- capping a big week for Bennet.
More than eighty individuals and organizations have signed on to the Colorado Compact, ranging from liberal to conservative groups, elected Democratic officials to elected Republican officials. Even Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck, who lost the race for a U.S. Senate seat to Bennet, signed on with this:
Today I joined with leaders from across the state to sign the Colorado Compact because I believe the time has come for the federal government to take serious action on the issue of immigration. While people of different political persuasions may not agree on the exact solutions, we need to be willing to have meaningful conversations.
I would like to thank Sen. Michael Bennet for his leadership on this issue.Our immigration system is broken and can't be sustained. The Colorado Compact provides a framework for these important discussions.
An effort more than a year in the making, and inspired by a similar compact in Utah, the Colorado Compact was announced yesterday at the University of Denver. Broad in scope and short on nitty-gritty details, it urges the federal government to reform immigration policy now. Here's the language from the Colorado Compact website, where you can also sign on:
The Colorado Compact is an effort to convene and promote a reasonable conversation on immigration in Colorado that could lead to real and lasting federal reform. The Compact brings together leaders and community members of diverse backgrounds and politics who are committed to fostering a more rational and collaborative approach to immigration policy than exists today. We believe that the growing consequences of a broken immigration system must be addressed in a bipartisan effort that considers the principles outlined in this compact.
Immigration policy is a federal issue between the U.S. government and other countries. We urge the Colorado congressional delegation to work to enact immigration policy at the federal level that improves our immigration system, keeps our communities safe, and protects our borders.
STRENGTHENING OUR ECONOMY
Colorado is best served by a free-market philosophy that maximizes individual freedom and opportunity. Our immigration system must be flexible enough to address the needs of businesses while protecting the interests of workers. This includes a visa system that is both responsive and effective at meeting the demands of our economy. It should also acknowledge the beneficial economic contributions immigrants make as workers, taxpayers, and consumers.
ENSURING OUR NATIONAL SECURITY
We believe that maintaining the safety and security of the United States is an utmost priority. Our immigration system must ensure the protection of our communities and national borders.
Strong families are critical to developing successful individuals and cohesive communities. Our immigration policies, where possible, should prioritize keeping close families together in order to ensure the most supportive home environments for all children across our state.
We support a law enforcement strategy that focuses on public safety, targets serious crime, and safeguards witnesses and victims. We further urge a reasonable and predictable regulatory environment that considers the interests of, and unintended consequences to businesses, workers, and consumers. Furthermore, the broader reform effort should eventually include a way to accurately, reliably, and affordably determine who is permitted to work, ensuring an adequate labor force for a growing economy.
A COMMONSENSE APPROACH
Immigrants are part of our communities across Colorado. We must adopt a commonsense approach to this reality that reflects our values and recognizes the critical role immigration has played in our nation's history and economy. Our immigration policies must provide a sensible path forward for immigrants who are here without legal status, are of good character, pay taxes, and are committed to becoming fully participating members of our society and culture.
When not busy working on the Colorado Compact, Bennet has been meeting with Republican Senator Lamar Alexander to keep the country from going off the fiscal cliff, bringing home education funds to Colorado, and taking on a new role as head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. It's been a remarkable run of accomplishments for Colorado's junior senator, and would only be topped if Bennet could convince former Congressman Tom Tancredo to sign the Colorado Compact.
But we're not holding our breath for that one. In the meantime, you can read more about the Colorado Compact here.