Jim Griesemer, the Director of DU's Strategic Issues Program, sat down with speakers for one-on-one interviews after their presentations to the 2009 Strategic Issues Panel on Immigration.
List of Speaker Interviews (With Video Links)
- Ann Allott Attorney, Allott Immigration Law Firm
- Phil Alterman Partner, Stern, Elkind, Curray & Alterman, LLP
- John L. Barry Superintendent, Aurora Public Schools
- Roy Beck Executive Director, NumbersUSA
- Josh Bernstein Immigration Director, SEIU (Service Employees International Union)
- Chuck Berry President, Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry (CACI)
- Joe Blake Chancellor of the Colorado State University System
- Erin Brouse Immigration Consul, Canadian Consulate General - Los Angeles
- Ralph W. Christie, Jr. Chairman, President & CEO, Merrick & Company
- Troy Eid Former U.S. Attorney, District of Colorado
- Mark G. Heesen President, National Venture Capital Association
- Brad Hendrick Special Counsel, Caplan and Earnest, LLC
- John Hickenlooper Mayor of Denver, Colorado
- Richard D. Lamm Former Colorado Governor; Co-Director of the Institute for Public Policy Studies at the University of Denver; Professor
- Donald J. Mares Executive Director, Colorado Department of Labor and Employment
- David A. Martin Principal Deputy General Counsel, United States Department of Homeland Security
- Ann Morse Director, Immigrant Policy Project, National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL)
- Ved Nanda Professor and Director of the Ved Nanda Center for the Study of International and Comparative Law, University of Denver
- Deborah R. Norris Vice President of Human Resources, Merrick & Company
- Bill Owens Former Colorado Governor; Senior Fellow, Institute for Public Policy Studies at the University of Denver
- Blake Pendergrass Organizer, FRESC (Formerly the Front Range Economic Strategy Center)
- Bill Ritter Governor of Colorado
- Julien Ross Director, Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (CIRC)
- Peter H. Schuck Author and Simeon E. Baldwin Professor of Law at Yale Law School
- John Stulp Commissioner of Agriculture, Colorado Department of Agriculture
- Steven Summer President & CEO, Colorado Hospital Association
- John Suthers Attorney General of Colorado
Author and Professor Peter Schuck
Professor Schuck describes the 5 key areas for effective immigration policy: enforcement, amnesty or a path for legal status, an effective guest worker program, revamping the green card system to address the need for workers, and the role of state and local governments in enforcing immigration policy.
Colorado Attorney General John Suthers
Colorado's Attorney General John Suthers says that while the U.S. could and should do a better job with border security, our border will never be totally secure. One of the problems he identifies is that U.S. policy is not dealing with the economic reality of the demand for non-citizen workers. The number of work permits allowed currently is "wholly inadequate" which then creates the demand for illegal workers. From a law enforcement perspective, he stresses that ICE and other enforcement agencies need more resources; that Americans need to understand and approve the costs involved in improving border security; and that the public also needs to understand that not all local law enforcement officers have the authority to detain suspected illegal immigrants.
U.S. Attorney Troy Eid
U.S. Attorney Troy Eid stresses the distinction of the types of people who are here in the U.S. illegally. Although they entered the U.S. illegally, the majority of the people working and living in the U.S. illegally are law-abiding. Given the economics of our country, people working here illegally will be here, like it or not. What we need to do from a security and law enforcement viewpoint is identify the people who are here. Identifying people should include a background check which will help ensure that criminals are kept out of the U.S.
Immigration Attorney Ann Allott
"Our legal immigration system at this moment is broken," says immigration attorney Ann Allott. The visa numbers have remained virtually the same since 1952. There are not enough visas issued every year to meet the demand for people to legally come to the U.S. For example, of the 1 million visas issued every year, 250,000 are employment-based. However, let's say an architect is issued a work visa, his wife and children are also issued visas from the work-based pool. One step toward a meaningful solution to the inadequacies of the present system, Ann believes, would be to have a Presidentially-appointed board to determine the visa numbers on a yearly basis.
Colorado Governor Bill Ritter
Colorado Governor Bill Ritter describes the complexity of the issue of immigration. The topic is multi-layered with overlapping effects on our economy, health care system, education system and social policy. He applauds the University of Denver for tackling the issue from an academic perspective. "It's so easy for people to speak ill of illegal immigrants," said the Governor, "without really understanding all these difficult and complicated layers." He addresses the need for a reasoned approach to immigration and expresses looking forward to our panel's recommendations to the state and country.
Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Joe Blake
President and CEO of Denver?s Metro Chamber of Commerce Joe Blake discussed why immigration is so vital to the businesses in Colorado. Our panel, he said, has a historic opportunity to talk about the issue. In a robust economy, immigration drives the economy. Now that the economy has all but collapsed in many sectors, the panel has an opportunity to examine and discuss the topic in a helpful way.
Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture John Stulp
John Stulp, Colorado's Commissioner of Agriculture, addressed the panel on the impact of immigration on the agricultural community. There is a tremendous need for seasonal workers, he said, in Colorado and other states. Colorado needs an estimated 9,000 seasonal workers annually. As fewer Americans work in the agricultural business, agribusiness reliance on migrant workers and foreign workers increases. Working with the Department of Labor, the Colorado Department of Agriculture developed a pilot program to bring seasonal workers to Colorado to try to meet the needs of farmers. The program was inspired by a similar program in Canada. The idea is to bring transparency to the agents that bring seasonal foreign workers to the state, to expedite visa paperwork, and to hold agents accountable for foreign workers to return to their home country after the season, thus relieving the local systems of the costs associated with a new population.