Last week, Governor Jared Polis asked the federal government to extend work authorizations for all Deferred Action Childhood Arrival (DACA) recipients whose permits expire this year. The policy grants temporary study and work status to immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children.
Sally Boughton is the Assistant Development Director at Valley Settlement. The organization works with immigrant families in the valley to promote early childhood development and access to community resources.
Boughton said she hopes the Department of Homeland Security will see why it's important to alleviate the stress and strain on DACA recipients during the pandemic.
“We are all together in this incredible, unprecedented crisis,” Boughton said. “As a community, we need these young people, these young workers, especially during this crisis now, but we also need them into the future.”
Boughton said Valley Settlement is grateful the governor has asked for the extension.
“Governor Polis is paying attention to this issue right now,” Boughton said. “He’s thinking about our DACA recipients who are most likely working in essential industries working in health care, emergency services, grocery stores, and in our food supply chain.”
For now, Boughton said her organization is staying alert and waiting to see what happens.
“It's really scary out there right now for everyone,” she said. “And for someone who might be losing their job, not because of the crisis, but because of paperwork, that's a very scary thing.”
It’s estimated that hundreds of people in the Roaring Fork Valley are DACA recipients. In his letter to the Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Governor Polis estimated 15,000 people in Colorado are enrolled in DACA.
“Coloradans face unprecedented challenges to their economic and social lives, and this extension would provide some needed stability to our businesses and residents who benefit from opportunities that DACA provides,” Polis wrote to Acting Secretary Chad Wolf.
To view the official press release and Governor Polis’ full letter, visit the Colorado state website.