By Shaun Boyd
DENVER (CBS4)– With the federal government on course for another shutdown, lawmakers in Colorado sent Washington a message.
Speaker of the House Crisanta Duran introduced a resolution urging Congress to protect Dreamers, immigrants brought to the country illegally as kids, “Tearing families apart is not the American way.”
Democrats have said they won’t pass a budget bill without a path to citizenship for dreamers. Republican leadership is pushing for a budget extension to buy time to come up with an immigration compromise the president will sign.
“Promises made have not been promises kept,” said Duran, “This should not be a republican and democratic issue. There are republicans and democrats alike who support dreamers. It’s time to put rhetoric into action.”
Marissa Molina among more than 17,000 dreamers in Colorado. Her parents are legal residents and her siblings are citizens.
She was at the state Capitol as the resolution was introduced and couldn’t help but wonder if Congress would act in time to protect her, “Listening to republican leadership say this is not urgent, (protection) doesn’t expire tomorrow and for me, I’m thinking about August. I am thinking about what happens when my employment authorization expires. How do I look at my parents… and say I don’t know if I can continue to be in this country and fight for the dream that you brought me here to live out. It’s infuriating to hear that people don’t understand that sense of urgency.”
Colorado’s U.S. Senators are part of a small group to put politics aside and reach a compromise, because of dreamers like Molina.
Democratic Senator Michael Bennet spoke about her and another dreamer on the floor of the Senate, “A wise administration would recognize in Marco and Marissa the best qualities of America – hard work, family, perseverance and service.”
Bennet says he will vote against any spending bill that doesn’t protect dreamers. Colorado’s Republican Senator Cory Gardner says shutting the government down is not the answer but he too is increasingly frustrated, “To Marissa and to the kids in Yuma and across the state of Colorado, we’re working to find a solution. We’re working as fast as we can to bring a solution that has the support of the president; that has support of republicans and democrats because this what makes Colorado great and this is what makes America strong.”
Molina says she’s not losing hope, “I continue to believe leaders like Senator Cory Gardner and Senator Bennet will lead us through hopefully the next hours and maybe the next couple weeks. I have to believe that God has a plan for us and I have to believe that there are good people and people who are courageous enough to stand in Washington DC and do the right thing by the people of this country and I have hope in that.”