DENVER (CBS4) – Some state lawmakers in Colorado say if Congress won’t reform the immigration system, they will.

(credit: CBS)

A bill sponsored by State Rep. Dan Pabon, a Democrat, would make Colorado the first state in the country with its own legal work permit.

The legislation, which would create a Colorado “purple card”, is being considered at the state capitol on Tuesday. It 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.

Gov. John Hickenlooper (credit: CBS)

“I think a purple card has a lot of problems, or there would be a lot details to work out,” Gov. John Hickenlooper said in February.

He said the state may be better off enforcing current laws.

“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.