By Shaun Boyd

DENVER (CBS4) – Colorado would have it’s own version of a “green card” under legislation at the state capitol.

It would be called a “purple card.”

(credit: CBS)

Some state lawmakers say if Congress won’t reform the immigration system, they will. Their bill would allow anyone who has paid state taxes for at least two years and hasn’t had a felony in three years to be eligible for legal status.

(credit: CBS)

For Llani Duenes the bill would be life-changing.

“It will help me to stay in this country longer.”

She came here from El Salvador 18 years ago and, under a new federal policy, will lose her temporary protected status in 18 months. The bill would give her and hundreds of thousands of people like her permanent legal status in Colorado.

Omar Gomez (credit: CBS)

Omar Gomez is leading the purple card movement, which he says is good for everyone.

“It benefits the state because they know who’s working where, and we know for sure they’re paying taxes,” Gomez said.

State Rep. Dan Pabon, the bill’s sponsor, says the state has to step in.

CBS4’s Shaun Boyd interviews Rep. Dan Pabon (credit: CBS)

“The alternative is two-fold. One, you’re either going to be relying on the social safety net that is going to have a lot of people asking for food banks and all these other things; or you’re going to have folks who are still going to work, but just work in the black market and neither of those is acceptable policy for us in Colorado.”

The bill would make Colorado the first state in the country with its own legal work permit.

Rep. Patrick Neville says with good reason.

CBS4’s Shaun Boyd interviews Rep. Patrick Neville
(credit: CBS)

“Because it’s unconstitutional. It’s against federal law. We’re a nation of laws and this is nothing more than them politically pandering to those here illegally,” he said.

Gov. John Hickenlooper also has concerns.

“I think a purple card has a lot of problems, or there would be a lot details to work out.”

He says the state may be better to enforce current laws.

Gov. John Hickenlooper (credit: CBS)

“Anything like that, if it was going to be considered, should go along with much more aggressive enforcement of people paying their workers under the table.”

Under the bill, the state would protect employers who hire those with purple cards from federal penalties. Exactly how they would do so is unclear.

The Colorado Department of Labor would be charged with developing the program.

Shaun Boyd is CBS4’s political specialist. She’s a veteran reporter with more than 25 years of experience. Follow her on Twitter @cbs4shaun.

Comments (42)
  1. Lynn Wood says:

    Our structure of government is akin to a marble cake. States can allow non citizens to hold state employment and even to vote in local elections. These are matters not yet clearly resolved through our Federal Judicial Branch.

    We are still trying to determine what Constitutional and Civil rights a non citizens has, or the rights a mortal citizen person has vis a vis a Corporate Person Citizen, ( a unique construction of interpretation of law by our Federals Courts that holds that Corporations have Constitutional and Civil Rights.)

    Have a headache yet?, and now Artificial Intelligences looms. Will mortal beings born of natural reproduction have more rights than other sentient constructs?

    And, let us not even get into the problem of dual, triple, quadruple etc citizenships of other Americans as opposed to Americans who only possess citizenship as an American, or uni citizens.

  2. Clegg Jensen says:

    “The power of Congress “to exclude aliens from the United States and to prescribe the terms and conditions on which they come in” is absolute, being an attribute of the United States As a sovereign nation, through the action of the legislative department, can exclude aliens from its territory is a proposition which we do not think open to controversy. Jurisdiction over its own territory to that extent is an incident of every independent nation. It is a part of its independence. If it could not exclude aliens, it would be to that extent subject to the control of another power. *** The United States, in their relation to foreign countries and their subjects or citizens are one nation, invested with powers which belong to independent nations, the exercise of which can be invoked for the maintenance of its absolute independence and security throughout its entire territory.” — SCOTUS 1889
    >>>>>“If Congress can forbid the entry ***, it can punish those who cooperate in their fraudulent entry.” — SCOTUS 1909<<<<<

  3. Fr.DuffyFighting69th says:

    Colorado has been Californicated.

  4. Joe Campbell says:

    States do not have the authority to grant legal status.

  5. These lawmakers can’t possibly be this stupid. They can’t set immigration law…only the federal government can do that. Who elects these morons?

  6. looks like Colorado is going the route of California

  7. The Colo Dem Church like the national church is losing members. It must beef up its members in order to complete the Californication of the state. Expect efforts to give foreigners the Vote as Ca did. Dem Rule #4: The end always justifies the means.

  8. Put the people responsible for this bill in jail for violations of federal law.

  9. Marc Blixt says:

    supreme court has ruled already on many cases that states have no authority concerning immigration.

  10. Alan Smithee says:

    The states were set up by the Founders to be the experiments with government. However, the rest of the nation doesn’t have to accept, or pay for, Colorado’s experiment.
    Who says federal welfare – or other federal programs – has to accept purple cards? Just cut of the federal funds for illegals… even if purple illegals.

  11. jb80538 says:

    Frankly I don’t think the state has legal authority to grant legal status to any illegal alien. But when did democrats really care about the law?

  12. Thomas Bundy says:

    Can we please get these Democrats out of office?

  13. Jeremy Couts says:

    Glad that the pot thing is working out for Colorado. You are so high at the moment that you think you can grant USA citizenship as a state, 2% of the union.

  14. This is pandering to illegal aliens. It needs to stop. Federal law is always supreme over state law. Arizona learned that during the Obama Administration. The courts have already decided this. This purple card will, in no way, legalize their presence in the U.S.

    This is sad and the Colorado Americans who put up this charade should know better, and more importantly, act like they are Americans who represent Americans.

  15. Sorry, but Federal immigration laws supersede state laws. This is why illegals living in sanctuaries aren’t safe from deportation either despite California passing a “law” making it a sanctuary state. A state simply cannot make up it’s own laws that violate U.S. Constitutional laws.
    Go in and arrest the illegals AND the mayors, governors, judges, cops, politicians and employers helping these illegal aliens.

  16. And of course, allow these criminal illegal aliens to vote. #WhiteGenocide

  17. Does anyone read and obey the Constitution any more? The power to regulate immigration and citizenship is specifically DENIED to the states and reserved for the Federal government alone.

  18. David Alster says:

    It is illegal to employ someone in the country illegally. It is also illegal to use a fraudulent/stolen social security number. States can’t waive federal law.

  19. John Reece says:

    How about if you haven’t had a felony in three years you can buy a gun?

  20. Scott Savage says:

    HAHAHA!!! there is a reason they call marijuana dope, your political leaders have gone from smoking dope to being dopes, their purple card will mean nothing to the feds, other than help them to find the illegals

  21. It would be more appropriate it is was called the Brown Card. They could even say it is in honor of Governor Brown for doing so much for California. Or is that for doing California so much?

  22. Jeff Hall says:

    This is what happens when so much California liberal trash have flooded into the State.

  23. The first thing Colorado ought to do, in order to rewrite immigration laws, would be to tell the U.S. government that they are equally opposed to receiving, and will from now on and forever, refuse to accept ANY federal monetary from the federal government.

  24. This is what you get when you legalize pot. The dumbing down of America. It’s all about allowing illegals to vote democrat. What a miserable bunch.

  25. Michael Cobb says:

    Colorado is a California wannabe..terrible place to live.

  26. Doug Day says:

    Marxist Lawfare…time to react.

  27. Lilith Whyte says:

    I’m all for State’s Rights. If Colorado wants illegals, (and all that entails) more power to them.

  28. So the years I spent getting my daughter her Green Card, were wasted? Purple Card would allow her to enter / depart the USA? H.m.m.

  29. Richard Mugg says:

    “Permanent legal status” in Colorado means nothing. If Arizona can be prevented from implementing state level enforcement of Federal immigration law, this Colorado move is just as unconstitutional as that. As usual, liberals want to have it both ways: no state level enforcement OR cooperation with the Feds, but state supremacy over Federal Law. Ain’t gonna happen.

  30. mm1919 says:

    CO has gotten even more stupid since I left 3 years ago

  31. Just what INS needs…
    Updated contact list to deport people who carry a confession admitting that they are not in the country legally!

  32. Well, nobody said legislators in Colorado were smart. I love Hickenlooper’s understated, “purple card has a lot of problems.” Such as: the Supreme Court would strike it down before the purple ink dries, probably in a 9-0 or 7-2 decision.

    Build the wall, and enforce the law, and we don’t have a problem that needs to be “solved”.

  33. Colorado DOES NOT have the legal standing to violate ANY federal statute. Any public official who supports this action should be indicted, charged, arrested, prosecuted, and imprisoned. This is a democratic republic…NOT a banana republic.

  34. Can someone explain the difference between granting DACA recipients amnesty and allowing the children of bank robbers to keep the stolen loot?

    1. Do they realize that these people will not be allowed to leave Colorado without risk of arrest and deportation? Actually, give them all a purple card. .

  35. Ruby Jones says:

    There obviously should be no time restrictions to forgive felonies. Essentially this allows someone to commit armed robberies, etc., and three years later get a “purple” card.

  36. Federal Law and the US Constitution TRUMPS State Law. Democrats = Morons.

    1. We need to get rid of these lunatic lefties.

  37. Gerald Baker says:

    How stupid can these people be? Federal law always trumps state law (no pun intended). This purple card will, in no way, legalize their presence in the US….smh

    1. Frank Joyce says:

      We must keep in mind the idea a state can nullify Federal Law was what ultimately brought about the US Civil War. The Doctrine of Nullification and the Confederate States of America were both buried in 1865.

      1. you are correct, Frank. That ship has sailed. This bill would be at the SC in a heartbeat. Liberals always think the law doesn’t apply to them. It’s part of their mental illness. You know how they are always telling us how smart they think they are? Delusions of grandeur, I’m guessing.

    2. Alton Crisp says:

      At least ICE wouldn’t have to worry about asking about the status of these people. Anyone with a “purple card” would automatically provide probable cause for ICE to detain them as only those with questionable status would possess one. Nice jobs Dems, you just did the legal citizens you loathe a solid!

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