DENVER, CO– The House today passed a bipartisan bill to prevent the extortion of undocumented immigrants by closing a gap in current statute. The bill was passed by a vote of 64-0.
“This simple bill will ensure that everyone in our communities, regardless of citizenship status, is protected from extortion by our laws,” said Rep. Kerry Tipper, D-Lakewood. “The current gap in statutes has left immigrants, especially workers and victims of domestic and sexual violence, vulnerable. By expanding the definition of extortion in our laws, we’re giving prosecutors a crucial tool to make our communities safer.”
“While this bill specifically protects immigrants from extortion, advancing the cause of justice and public safety is a goal we should all work towards together,” said Rep. Dylan Roberts, D-Avon. “The bill we passed today will give prosecutors like me the tools we need to protect vulnerable members of our communities from extortion and hopefully prevent some of these crimes from happening in the first place. I’m proud of the step we took to make our communities safer.”
The current definition of criminal extortion already includes the practice of threatening to disclose a person’s immigration status to law enforcement in order to force them to give up something of value. HB21-1057 expands this definition to include coercing another person to either engage in or refrain from engaging in what would otherwise be a legal act. This expanded definition would address instances of wage theft, domestic violence and other instances where a person’s immigration status is used to deny them what is lawfully theirs.