Crossing the aisle: Bennet, Gardner sponsor plan to protect ‘Dreamers’

WASHINGTON -- Colorado U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner co-sponsored the Dream Act of 2017 on Tuesday.

“The Dream Act offers a promising solution amid a time of uncertainty for hundreds of thousands of young immigrants around the country -- especially in light of the president’s decision today to rescind DACA,” Sen. Bennet, a Democrat, said in a statement.

"Supporting Dreamers boosts our economy, strengthens our national security, and aligns with our values. Congress must move quickly to pass this legislation."

“I’m proud to join with Senator Bennet and co-sponsor the Dream Act to provide certainty to the thousands of law-abiding Coloradan Dreamers and demonstrate bipartisan leadership on this important issue," Gardner, a Republican, stated.

This is a major shift for the Republican.

“Children who came to this country without documentation, through no fault of their own, must have the opportunity to remain here lawfully,” Gardner stated.

The Dream Act of 2017 would grant conditional permanent residence followed by lawful permanent residence to young people who arrive in the United States before they turn 18; graduate from high school or obtained a GED; pursue higher education, work lawfully for at least three years, or serve in the military; pass security checks; and demonstrate proficiency in English and a knowledge of U.S. history.

At the state level, lawmakers are also considering legislation to protect DACA recipients if Congress fails to act.

State Rep. Dan Pabon proposed legislation allowing the state to issue work permits.

"The state can do something and the state will do something because we have thousands of people who have work permits in the state of Colorado who are about to go unemployed," Pabon said.