DENVER, CO– The House Judiciary Committee today advanced a bipartisan bill to prevent the extortion of undocumented immigrants. The bill was approved by the committee unanimously.
“Everyone in our communities, regardless of citizenship status, should be protected from extortion,” said Rep. Kerry Tipper, D-Lakewood. “A gap in current law has left immigrants vulnerable to a particular type of extortion that befalls workers and victims of domestic and sexual violence. This bill would change that and allow us to advance the cause of justice in our communities.”
“This bill will give prosecutors a critical tool to combat instances of extortion against victims of crime that we know are happening in our communities,” said Rep. Dylan Roberts, D-Avon. “A victim is a victim, and it is good for public safety in our communities if our laws protect everyone from being further victimized – regardless of their immigration status.”
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.