New immigration law in effect

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Colorado residents must now prove they're legal residents before receiving state benefits, according to rules from a new law that went into effect Tuesday.

The Legislature passed House Bill 1023, a law that dictates anyone receiving public benefits such as welfare or in-state tuition must have proof of lawful presence.

Acceptable forms of identification include a valid Colorado driver's license or identification card, a U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Mariner card or a Native American tribal document.

Proponents of the bill have called the new legislation a means to keep illegal immigrants from receiving benefits.

"That's what we're trying to make sure isn't happening, because that's what the legislature told us to do," said Diane Reimer, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Revenue. "It's an opportunity for people who are receiving benefits to prove they should lawfully be here."

Under emergency rules, several other forms of identification are acceptable, including a certificate of citizenship, valid immigration document, birth certificate, order of adoption or certificate of naturalization.

If someone is unable to produce required documents, he or she may try to demonstrate residency through a waiver process.

Joshua Roberts can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or jroberts@craigdailypress.com.

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