Sep 7, 2017

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CCLP’s 2024 legislative wrap-up, part 2

CCLP's 2024 legislative wrap-up focused on expanding access to justice, removing administrative burden, supporting progressive tax and wage policies, preserving affordable communities, and reducing health care costs. Part 2/2.

CCLP’s 2024 legislative wrap-up, part 1

CCLP's 2024 legislative wrap-up focused on expanding access to justice, removing administrative burden, supporting progressive tax and wage policies, preserving affordable communities, and reducing health care costs.

Statement: Trump’s DACA order is cruel and unnecessary

by | Sep 7, 2017

The following statement is by Claire Levy, Executive Director of Colorado Center on Law and Policy.

Less than one month ago, Colorado Center on Law and Policy issued a statement decrying the animus behind the violence in Charlottesville. The abdication of moral leadership from President Donald Trump caused CCLP and countless others to condemn in the name of basic decency the racism and antisemitism on display in the streets.

Once again, a moral vacuum compels a response. This time to the heartless action of President Trump in throwing the futures of over 17,000 young Coloradans and hundreds of thousands of others across this country into turmoil and subjecting their fate to the uncertainty of whether Congress is able, at long last, to do what is right and just and good.

What should become of the Dreamers is not a complex or difficult issue. Thousands of children have come to the United States of America with their parents — many of them before they could even talk –and they now attend school, serve in our armed forces and in public safety jobs, or work in essential roles in our communities. Many of their parents fled violence, poverty or political repression. To find a better life, they left their native countries and, in many cases, they left extended families, cultural heritage, and all that is familiar. They have endured indignities and the isolation of not speaking the dominant language and being allowed to participate fully in civic life. They came nevertheless so that their children could have a better future.

Years have passed with promises of Congressional action, years in which those with the power to allow these children to emerge from the shadows and succeed have expressed compassion and good intentions yet failed to act. Generations have already grown up and have been stymied in their ability to achieve their innate potential because of the lack of legal status. Many careers of innocent children have been thwarted because of the political impasse.

Had President Obama not created the program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), how many more generations of children would have had to grow up unable to work legally, subject to exploitation with their futures stunted while Congress continued to dither?  The Executive Action that created DACA was the product of this impasse and at last allowed futures to blossom.

In creating DACA, our government said to hundreds of thousands of young people, “Trust in your government. Give us your names. Tell us who you are and you will be able to live your dreams.” Almost 800,000 did so. No doubt many thousands of others chose not to trust such a slender thread as presidential action and continue to live in the shadows.

Now all is in doubt.

There is no need to recite the stories of those who have proven what they are capable of; the facts and figures about the number of jobs held, taxes paid, and income generated; the statements of legions of economists and business leaders calling for this educated motivated labor pool; or the tales of sacrifice these young people have already made in service to our country. As compelling as all of that is, I am speaking out in the name of CCLP because of the moral depravity of the President’s action.

I am heartened that Colorado’s Senators and members of the House of Representatives from both parties have called for action – perhaps a more permanent legislative solution for these Dreamers.

Now is the time to rise to the occasion and provide a genuine path to citizenship for all the children who were brought to this country by their parents in search of a better life.

-By Claire Levy

Recent articles

CCLP’s 2024 legislative wrap-up, part 2

CCLP's 2024 legislative wrap-up focused on expanding access to justice, removing administrative burden, supporting progressive tax and wage policies, preserving affordable communities, and reducing health care costs. Part 2/2.

CCLP’s 2024 legislative wrap-up, part 1

CCLP's 2024 legislative wrap-up focused on expanding access to justice, removing administrative burden, supporting progressive tax and wage policies, preserving affordable communities, and reducing health care costs.

HEALTH:
HEALTH FIRST COLORADO (MEDICAID)

To maintain health and well-being, people of all ages need access to quality health care that improves outcomes and reduces costs for the community. Health First Colorado, the state's Medicaid program, is public health insurance for low-income Coloradans who qualify. The program is funded jointly by a federal-state partnership and is administered by the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing.

Benefits of the program include behavioral health, dental services, emergency care, family planning services, hospitalization, laboratory services, maternity care, newborn care, outpatient care, prescription drugs, preventive and wellness services, primary care and rehabilitative services.

In tandem with the Affordable Care Act, Colorado expanded Medicaid eligibility in 2013 - providing hundreds of thousands of adults with incomes less than 133% FPL with health insurance for the first time increasing the health and economic well-being of these Coloradans. Most of the money for newly eligible Medicaid clients has been covered by the federal government, which will gradually decrease its contribution to 90% by 2020.

Other populations eligible for Medicaid include children, who qualify with income up to 142% FPL, pregnant women with household income under 195% FPL, and adults with dependent children with household income under 68% FPL.

Some analyses indicate that Colorado's investment in Medicaid will pay off in the long run by reducing spending on programs for the uninsured.

FOOD SECURITY:
SUPPLEMENTAL NUTRITION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (SNAP)

Hunger, though often invisible, affects everyone. It impacts people's physical, mental and emotional health and can be a culprit of obesity, depression, acute and chronic illnesses and other preventable medical conditions. Hunger also hinders education and productivity, not only stunting a child's overall well-being and academic achievement, but consuming an adult's ability to be a focused, industrious member of society. Even those who have never worried about having enough food experience the ripple effects of hunger, which seeps into our communities and erodes our state's economy.

Community resources like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps, exist to ensure that families and individuals can purchase groceries, with the average benefit being about $1.40 per meal, per person.

Funding for SNAP comes from the USDA, but the administrative costs are split between local, state, and federal governments. Yet, the lack of investment in a strong, effective SNAP program impedes Colorado's progress in becoming the healthiest state in the nation and providing a better, brighter future for all. Indeed, Colorado ranks 44th in the nation for access to SNAP and lost out on more than $261 million in grocery sales due to a large access gap in SNAP enrollment.

See the Food Assistance (SNAP) Benefit Calculator to get an estimate of your eligibility for food benefits.

FOOD SECURITY:
SPECIAL SUPPLEMENTAL NUTRITION PROGRAM FOR WOMEN, INFANTS AND CHILDREN (WIC)

Every child deserves the nutritional resources needed to get a healthy start on life both inside and outside the mother's womb. In particular, good nutrition and health care is critical for establishing a strong foundation that could affect a child's future physical and mental health, academic achievement and economic productivity. Likewise, the inability to access good nutrition and health care endangers the very integrity of that foundation.

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) provides federal grants to states for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition information for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding postpartum women and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk.

Research has shown that WIC has played an important role in improving birth outcomes and containing health care costs, resulting in longer pregnancies, fewer infant deaths, a greater likelihood of receiving prenatal care, improved infant-feeding practices, and immunization rates

Financial Security:
Colorado Works

In building a foundation for self-sufficiency, some Colorado families need some extra tools to ensure they can weather challenging financial circumstances and obtain basic resources to help them and their communities reach their potential.

Colorado Works is Colorado's Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and provides public assistance to families in need. The Colorado Works program is designed to assist participants in becoming self-sufficient by strengthening the economic and social stability of families. The program provides monthly cash assistance and support services to eligible Colorado families.

The program is primarily funded by a federal block grant to the state. Counties also contribute about 20% of the cost.

EARLY LEARNING:
COLORADO CHILD CARE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (CCCAP)

Child care is a must for working families. Along with ensuring that parents can work or obtain job skills training to improve their families' economic security, studies show that quality child care improves children's academic performance, career development and health outcomes.

Yet despite these proven benefits, low-income families often struggle with the cost of child care. Colorado ranks among the top 10 most expensive states in the country for center-based child care. For families with an infant, full-time enrollment at a child care center cost an average of $15,140 a year-or about three-quarters of the total income of a family of three living at the Federal Poverty Level (FPL).

The Colorado Child Care Assistance Program (CCCAP) provides child care assistance to parents who are working, searching for employment or participating in training, and parents who are enrolled in the Colorado Works Program and need child care services to support their efforts toward self-sufficiency. Most of the money for CCCAP comes from the federal Child Care and Development Fund. Each county can set their own income eligibility limit as long as it is at or above 165% of the federal poverty level and does not exceed 85% of area median income.

Unfortunately, while the need is growing, only an estimated one-quarter of all eligible children in the state are served by CCCAP. Low reimbursement rates have also resulted in fewer providers willing to accept CCCAP subsidies.