Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Rep. Curry Threatened After Standing up for Decency: Write or Call to Thank Her

After Rep. Bruce made repeated disparaging remarks about immigrants, Rep Curry asked him to address the bill in front of the House, HB1325. Rep. Bruce continued his anti-immigrant rhetoric and was gaveled down (not allowed to speak further) by Rep. Curry. (Details from the Denver Business Journal)

Today, Rep. Curry is under increased protection from the State patrol after receiving numerous calls and mail threatening her. (from the Grand Junction Sentinel)

Send a letter, email or phone call to Representative Curry to:
  1. Thank her and let her know you support her decision to uphold standards of decency and decorum on the House floor.
  2. That while we oppose the bill, if she has decided to vote for the HB1325, then we are counting on her to vote for worker protections amendments in Committee.

HB 1325 is a bill which would create a Colorado specific guestworker program. Many anti-immigrant bills were passed last year during a special session of the house including SB90, which encourages the police to act as immigration agents, and HB1310 which specifically denies State services to those who cannot prove legal residency. These bills sent a message. The message was received by migrant workers who decided Colorado wasn't worth it and didn't come to work.

As a consequence, we are now in our second season of leaving crops to rot in the fields due to labor shortages. For farmers this has been painful and prompted them to pressure the legislature for action. The farmers have not been able to get the necessary workers through the flawed federal H-2A VISA program, so they are asking for our own program in Colorado.

Guestworker programs are historically problematic and exploitative. This bill still represents a guestworker program and has the potential to be equally so. Now the Bill is heading to Committee where the House and Senate will hash out their different versions. There are several amendments on the table which would increase worker protections and make the bill less exploitative, at least on paper.

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