Welcome to FindLaw's coverage of existing Colorado legislation and rules related to individuals' immigration status. However, it is important to be aware of the relationship and tension between state and federal law when it comes to subjects involving immigration. Below you will find information on what, if any, rules Colorado has regarding immigration checks by law enforcement, educational institutions, and employers, as well as the existence of E-Verify requirements, restrictions on public benefits based on an individual's immigration status, and more.
Law Enforcement and Immigration in Colorado
Although immigration and enforcement are typically matters dealt with by federal immigration authorities, an increasing number of local and county law enforcement officials are starting to assist with, investigate, or pursue suspected immigration-related offenses. Also, under a federal program known as "Secure Communities", all individuals arrested are fingerprinted and run through a database which checks their immigration status. However, some states are considering and sometimes passing legislation permitting local governments to "opt out" of such programs.
Under federal law, employers must verify prospective employees' authorization to work in the United States. For more information, refer to federal employment eligibility verification rules and the requirements for Form I-9.
Colorado E-Verify Requirements
Colorado law requires government contractors to use E-Verify to very the employment eligibility of all employees and prospective employees prior to taking state contracts. State agencies are prohibited from entering into contracts with any contractors who knowingly employ undocumented immigrants. Although legislative efforts have been made to require that private employers use E-Verify, those efforts have not yet resulted in such a law, although private employers may voluntarily use the system.
Driver's License/ID Requirements
In order for an applicant to receive a Colorado driver's license or state ID, they must establish proof of name and identity, age, and lawful presence in the United States. Colorado's Department of Revenue provides a helpful chart and list of documents that can be used to prove the requirements.
Public Benefits Restrictions
Under federal law, illegal immigrants are prohibited from receiving public benefits, although they are allowed to receive emergency services, health care, and other programs that have been identified as "necessary to protect life and safety."
Colorado law formerly prohibited undocumented immigrants from receiving the in-state tuition rate, as well as financial aid benefits. That law was repealed in 2013.
Voter ID Rules
Colorado law requires identification at the polling booth but is less restrictive than some states in that the state's law permits the use of a non-photo ID to establish identity. Some examples of acceptable non-photo ID's include a copy of a paycheck, a recent utility bill, a bank statement, and more. If unable to provide acceptable identification, the voter can cast a provisional ballot and later verify their identity with proper authorities. Recent legislative efforts to require Colorado voters to provide photo ID's have fallen short, but voters may want to check their election paperwork or contact election officials to verify the ID requirement.
Housing Ordinances and Immigration
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When you are trying to figure out how to best handle an immigration issue in Colorado, it is always important to know the laws and how they pertain to your specific legal issues. A local immigration attorney can do just that and even help you prepare for an immigration proceeding, should you have to go. You can learn more with a free immigration attorney match in your area today.
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