Easing Requirements to Access Business Licenses in Colorado Would Boost Entrepreneurship Among Undocumented Immigrants

For Immediate Release: 
Monday, June 7, 2021

Statement from Lindsey Vigoda, Colorado Director for Small Business Majority, on the Colorado House of Representatives’ vote today to make businesses licenses and certain professional licenses more accessible to undocumented Coloradans

“The Colorado House of Representatives’ passage of SB21-199 brings us one step closer to eliminating the costly and inefficient requirement of verifying legal status when determining eligibility for public benefits, which would ultimately make it easier for undocumented Coloradans to access business licneses. This would pave the way for Colorado immigrant businesses to thrive and participate in programs that they already contribute to in the form of tax dollars.

Colorado is home to more than 32,000 immigrant small businesses, which employ more than 100,000 Coloradans. These entrepreneurs are key drivers of our economic success; however, existing laws are preventing undocumented, immigrant business owners from establishing legal entities because they must verify their legal status when applying for professional and commercial licenses. What’s more, the statute creates workforce challenges for Colorado small businesses, as it prevents undocumented employees from holding occupational licenses. Ultimately, this inefficient requirement hinders the ability of undocumented entreprenuers to fully participate in our local communities and provide for their families, which in turn will impact our economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The American Dream should be available to everyone, regardless of their immigration status. And our economy should be inclusive, whether someone is a citizen or not. We applaud the Colorado General Assembly for offering more undocumented Coloradans a chance to become small business owners, and we urge Gov. Polis to sign this legislation as soon as possible.”

About Small Business Majority

Small Business Majority is a national small business organization that empowers America's diverse entrepreneurs to build a thriving and equitable economy. We engage our network of more than 85,000 small businesses and 1,000 business and community organizations to advocate for public policy solutions and deliver resources to entrepreneurs that promote equitable small business growth. Our deep connections with the small business community along with our scientific research enable us to educate the public about key issues impacting America’s entrepreneurs, with a special focus on advancing the smallest businesses and those facing systemic inequalities. Learn more about us on our website and follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

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