Social Policy Team
The Social Policy Team has three main areas of interest. Click on the topic heading to read our position statements on that issue.
Through study and consensus League members throughout the U.S. advocate for certain principles and policies in each of our team's three areas of concern.
- Immigration: We study the rights of noncitizens, including undocumented immigrants, in Boulder County.. To read our findings click here. We continue to press for adequate funding of the immigrant driver's license program to meet the demand. Read about the SB251 driver's license program.
- Meeting Basic Human Needs. Individuals and families "have the right to an income and/or services sufficient to meet their basic needs." We advocate a Living Wage for municipal employees in Boulder County. In 2017 we are focusing our efforts on food security.
- Equality of Opportunity. We are looking at privilege and oppression, and at institutional injustice affecting People of Color in Boulder County. We are looking at diversity and at ways to achieve inclusion in our county and in our League.
We meet on the third Sunday of most months. We meet at Frasier Meadows Manor, 350 Ponca Place, Boulder, in the 2nd floor conference room. Our current focus is Hunger and Democracy in Boulder County. Listen to our KGNU spot here.
Like all League Issue Teams, we welcome new participants! You don't have to be an expert--or even a League member--to attend on of our team meetings and learn more.
Write to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about our agenda.
Read more about our other advocacy efforts below.
Colorado's Immigrant Drivers License Program
We support adequate funding to implement SB251, Colorado's immigrant driver's license law.
Read about the SB251 driver's license program.
Read the SB251 FAQ from the Colorado Department of Revenue.
Read Jesse Paul's report in the Denver Post, "Colorado's driver's license program for immigrants has problems, and they're about to get worse" (July 10, 2017)
Read the Denver Post editorial "Colorado's despicable handling of its immigrant driver's license program" (July 13, 2017)
Our LWV lobbyists supported Colorado's immigrant driver's license bill and helped it become law in 2013. We believe it helps improve public safety—safety on our roads and highways, and safe communities where immigrants are not afraid of reporting crimes.
In 2017 we continue to press for adequate funding to meet the demand. The program was designed to be self-funding, so Colorado's perennial budget crisis is not the problem (for a change). Money not the problem, but politics—what the Denver Post calls the “conservative hardliners” in the Legislature.
In 2016 we examined the rights of noncitizens in six areas. At public meetings in November 2016 we presented our findings in six areas: employment, public benefits, voting, education and mobility (such as drivers licenses).
Here are our findings (PDF, 10 p.)
We also offer a set of 28 PowerPoint slides. Here is the PDF version.
If you would like the original PPT file write to our team co-leaders at email@example.com with your request.
We are following data about deportations and arrests.
LWV does not support deporting unauthorized immigrants who have no history of criminal activity.
Read our position in full.
The pace of deportation in President Trump’s first three months lags behind even the last two years of his predecessor, when then-President Barack Obama ordered his agencies to use more discretion when it came to deporting undocumented immigrants, focusing specifically on criminals.
• Deportations in 2017 show a 12 percent decrease, because more arrests occur in the interior of the country rather than along the border. As a result, people often face lengthy hearings in the nation’s immigration court system.
Arrests and detention have increased.
• Between Jan. 22 and April 29, 2017, ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) deportation officers administratively arrested 41,318 individuals on civil immigration charges, an increase of 37.6 percent over the period between Jan. 24 and April 30, 2016, when ERO arrested 30,028.
• Nearly 75 percent of those arrested this year are convicted criminals, a 20 percent increase over 2016. Just 2,700 of these convictions were for violent crimes, including homicide, rape, kidnapping, and assault.
• Arrests of undocumented immigrantswhose only crime is living illegally in the U.S. have risen by more than 150 percent, from 4,200 in 2016 to around 10,800 this year.
Read an announcement from ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) from May 2017.
Read an interpretation published by The Atlantic online.
MEETING BASIC HUMAN NEEDS
We are working to ensure that (1) everyone eligible for food assistance participates and receives assistance, and (2) these programs meet the needs.
Participation In Colorado, participation in the federal SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly 'food stamps') is woefully low.
For many people, using local programs such as Community Food Share and the numerous food banks carries a shameful stigma. How to overcome it?
Funding Read the analysis of federal assistance programs published by the Colorado Center for Law and Policy (CCLP: "Building a Better Budget" (July 2017): Part One is "Revive Education and Training" and Part Two is "Rebuild Affordable Housing."
This is from Part Three: Stop Hunger in America and addresses issues of both participation and funding:
SNAP participation is shown to reduce hunger, benefit children’s learning ability, improve health, lift families out of poverty and strengthen economic self-sufficiency for women. Furthermore, research from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that every $5 in SNAP benefits generates $9 of economic activity in local communities. . . . Though Colorado has not done a good job harnessing available federal SNAP dollars for its neediest citizens, President Trump’s budget would roll back any progress the state has made.
CCLP recommends supporting a current proposal to require the USDA to make adjustments to account for household size, changes in the cost of a diet and the costs of food in specified areas.
We must all encourage Colorado’s congressional delegation to reject Trump’s budget cuts to SNAP in favor of policies that reduce hunger, increase access to healthy and nutritious food, and invest in Colorado.
Read the whole piece.
In Colorado in August, changes in SNAP rules extended eligibility. Read about this good news for SNAP participants.
What is "living wage"?
In contrast to minimum wage, living wage ordinances establish a wage floor above the state or federal minimum wage. The wage floor is based on the hourly wage that a full-time worker would need to support her family at some multiple of the federal poverty guidelines. The aim is to protect workers by setting minimum wages that exceed the poverty level and to strengthen the local economy.
Boulder City Council has adopted Living Wage in the 2017 city budget. LWVBC began to advocate for Living Wage in Boulder in 2014, and in 2016 joined other county organizations and individuals in the coalition Self-Sufficiency 2016.
Our advocacy is now focused on the Boulder County and the municipalities within Boulder County.
The Self-Sufficiency Standard
The Self-Sufficiency Standard (SSS) measures how much income a family of a certain composition in a given place needs to meet their basic needs adequately, without public or private assistance. For example, the SSS in Boulder County for a family with one adult and one pre-schooler is $56,718 annually ($26.86 hourly.)
What are other people saying? Answer: a lot! Give these a look . . .
• National Employment Law Project
• Colorado Center on Law and Policy
• Center for American Progress Action Fund
• Boulder County TRENDS, published by the Community Foundation of Boulder County