An open letter to Senators Bennet and Hickenlooper

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Dear Senator Bennet and Senator Hickenlooper,

My name is Chris Romer and I’m President/CEO of Vail Valley Partnership. Vail Valley Partnership is the regional chamber of commerce, with over 870 members throughout Eagle County who collectively represent over 80% of the local workforce. We are the largest Chamber of Commerce between Colorado’s Front Range and Salt Lake City and are dedicated to the community and economic vitality of the mountain region and thus understand the importance of immigration to our economy and our communities.

I am reaching out today in support of the immigration reform framework being discussed by Senators Thom Tillis and Kyrsten Sinema, which would provide much-needed, long overdue fixes to our broken immigration system that support our communities and economy.

We need to secure our border, and as prices, inflation, and job openings rise while available workers shrink, our workforce and economy need repair. We must tap into all available resources and opportunities to fix these issues, including enacting long-overdue immigration reform.

This compromise would be critical step toward controlling and ending the crisis at the border and providing a narrow, fair compromise to allow some undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children to earn permanent legal status. I ask and hope that you will support these important reforms.

This is the best opportunity for Congress to take a step forward to secure the border in the near future. If passed, the border security components of the framework would be the largest act of border reform in many years. This is a chance for you to continue to lead on this issue by increasing funding for border security measures and enhancing the asylum process by ensuring swift removal if individuals are denied and increasing funding for processing centers for those seeking asylum through an orderly, fair, and timely process.

In addition to enhancing security at the border, the narrow provisions to allow Dreamers to earn legal status are also welcomed. The average Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient came to the U.S. when they were just six years old. To earn legal status, individuals must not only have come to the U.S. as children, but they must also pass thorough background checks, pay fees, be working and in school, and be up to date on their taxes. Today, there are approximately 600,000 DACA active recipients and more than 400,000 people eligible for the program who are currently blocked by a court order. If renewals are halted, 1,000 DACA recipients will lose work authorization—and thus be forced out of their jobs—each and every single business day for the next 24 months.

The proposed framework would also provide long-needed adjustments to the legal immigration system to recapture unused green cards, and ensure green cards are not wasted in the future—which will help employers fill and create jobs and bring down inflation.

The current immigration system has failed. That’s why Americans of all backgrounds support change. In fact, more people than ever are ready to see an improved and expanded immigration system that allows those willing and ready to contribute to our country the ability to do so. The right thing to do — and the best thing for America’s economy and workforce — is to secure our border and provide narrow, fair opportunities for young undocumented immigrants to contribute.


Chris Romer


Vail Valley Partnership