Man Who Is In The Country Illegally Has Been Appointed To The Human Relations Commission

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A view of the entrance to the City Council Chambers.  (credit: Giulio Marcocchi/Getty Images)

A view of the entrance to the City Council Chambers. (credit: Giulio Marcocchi/Getty Images)

BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) – A man who is in this country illegally has been appointed to the Boulder City Council’s Human Relations Commission. Voters approved a rule change back in November and now Jose Beteta is the first beneficiary of the change.

“I think it’s exciting to actually see we changed the rules, and someone applied and took advantage,” City Councilman Tim Plass said during the council’s meeting Tuesday. “We now have someone like Jose who is going to be on our board.”

Beteta, 34, was born in Costa Rica and has acknowledged being in the United States illegally for more than 20 years.

He said an error by a lawyer years ago left him without legal permission to be in the country, according to The Denver Post.

“I’m basically opening the door for others to follow,” Beteta said after his 5-year appointment. “It’s one more opportunity for people to be able to contribute to their community.”

Beteta told the paper that he got the courage to admit being in this country illegally after seeing a play by young Latinos tilted “Do You Know Who I Am?”

“It gave me courage,” he said. “I realize I have nothing to lose because my knowledge and experience, no one can take that away.”

Last year, the Human Relations Commission asked the City Council to place a question on the ballot that would eliminate a requirement for members of volunteer boards and commission to be registered voters. It passed with 62 percent of the vote.

The Human Relations Commission is in charge of promoting diversity and enforcing the city’s Human Rights Ordinance, which prohibits discrimination.

Betata is a small business owner who started a business called LeapTech Solutions in 2008. He is also the president of Boulder’s Latino Chamber of Commerce.

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