By Mike Kaplan, President/Chief Executive Officer, Aspen Skiing Company
Araceli Velasquez, who lives and is raising kids in the in the Roaring Fork Valley like I do, would probably have been killed by the widespread violence in home country had she not left El Salvador in 2010 to seek asylum in Colorado. If she’s sent back, her life will be in danger. She and her husband, Jorge, are raising three United States citizen children: Jorge Jr. (6), Christopher (4), and Kevin (2). Her previous lawyers did not sufficiently prepare her asylum defense; ICE denied her stay application in 2017; and current law does not allow her to stay.

What shall we, as citizens, neighbors, and parents do about this? Do we let the broken process remain, or do we work towards a legal fix, one that honors the best traditions not just of our nation, but of our religious practices and personal ethics?
I think the answer is obvious. The company I run and the communities we do business in and where our workforce lives rely on and are made up of immigrants. They are our workers, our professionals, our students, our customers, our friends, and our future. That’s why Aspen Skiing Company has endorsed the People’s Resolution, which calls on the Colorado delegation, the Colorado legislature and the Governor to take practical steps to revamp our immigration system to be just, efficient and transparent. Yes, immigrants should follow the law. But right now, people like Araceli can’t find a legal path to asylum that will protect her family from harm, despite the fact that she is a respected neighbor and friend, and contributes economically and culturally to our country.
"I think the answer is obvious. The company I run and the communities we do business in and where our workforce lives rely on and are made up of immigrants. They are our workers, our professionals, our students, our customers, our friends, and our future."
This is a time when we have to be willing to step up and do what’s right. Inaction in Congress places more than a hundred thousand Coloradans in limbo. Our economy and communities suffer as a result. Both parties in Washington have benefited from inaction on this issue, riling their bases when they could be focusing on common sense solutions that are good for business and Colorado.

Aspen Skiing Company, working with the American Business Immigration Coalition, is at the table with conservative and liberal business leaders. We are committed to creating a transparent and efficient path to status for dreamers, Temporary Protected Status holders and 9 million other community members. Even major conservative voices are stepping up to argue the importance of immigration reform for the economy.
When Aspen Skiing Company endorsed the People’s Resolution, we also felt it laid out a roadmap for the success of Colorado’s outdoor recreation economy, expanding on a long history of bringing together different languages and cultures, first with agriculture and ranching, and now through tourism.

Our company caters to an international customer base, and we search for employees that can meet their needs. We are also based in rural Colorado where healthy immigration is critical to business — this winter we were short staffed all year in all our restaurants, and all over our ski hills. In many outlets, we struggled to keep the doors open due to our staffing shortages. Immigration reform isn’t just moral — it’s essential.
"Our company caters to an international customer base, and we search for employees that can meet their needs. We are also based in rural Colorado where healthy immigration is critical to business — this winter we were short staffed all year in all our restaurants, and all over our ski hills."
The People’s Resolution defines the conversation we need to have in our state house and across the nation to honor the personal and economic contributions of our immigrant community. Our company believes Congress can do better by them and by us. It’s time their actions match the needs and values of our community. Passing the People’s Resolution at the Colorado legislature is the first step.

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