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Colorado expands protections for immigrants

Colorado expands protections for immigrants

Colorado expands protections for immigrants
March 15
13:50 2019

NEW LAW PROTECTS ABUSED AND ABANDONED MINORS

Newsroom/El Comercio de Colorado

Individuals under 21 years of age who live in the State of Colorado and have been the victims of abuse, neglect or abandonment might be classified as special immigrant juveniles. With this, they might be protected by the state and receive help from the Federal Government. The HB19-1042, approved by the Colorado Legislature, expands the jurisdiction of the State Courts and allows to grant parental rights for minor immigrants who comply with certain requisites such as being single or separated from their parents.

The law determines that once the juvenile immigrants are protected by the Colorado courts, there will be a process where the judge in charge will appoint a guardian, will also determine if they can get federal aid and will verify if they can be reunited with their parents, or whether such reunifications is in the best interest of the minor. The court can decide, according to the law, that the minor might not return to their most recent place of residence, even if it is the country where the parents live.

Explained by the promoters

This Bill was promoted by State Representative Serena Gonzáles-Gutiérrez and by State Senator Julie Gonzáles, both democrats, and the support of another 30 legislators. Gonzáles-Gutiérrez explained how this new legislation will grant protection to a segment of the population that is vulnerable. “We are helping guarantee the safety and stability of children and youth immigrants in Colorado,” said the representative. According to USCIS records, about 300 Colorado minors would benefit from this law.

Senator Gonzales explained that Colorado becomes the sixth state in approving this protection. “Currently the courts in Colorado can only protect minors under the age of 18. The protection is now extended to those under 21. With the action of the courts, youth with no immigration status can now obtain assistance in cases of abuse and neglect. These individuals might also be considered as special immigrant juveniles and eventually become legal permanent residents,” she said.

First victory

This is the first bill promoted by Senator Gonzales and Representative Gonzales-Gutierrez that is approved. Both are freshman legislators who were elected in the recent November 2018 elections. They are proud for promoting a bill that favors the immigrant community. In the creation of these law, they had the support of the Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network (RMIAN); the Colorado chapter of ACLU and the Children’s Law Center (CLC).

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EDICIÓN VIRTUAL | #342 | 3 DE JULIO 2019

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