Immigration to Colorado Myth and Reality, Part Two
Immigration is ever-relevant in the United States and Colorado. Here, our former State Historian continues the history of immigration in Colorado that he began in the pages of our Fall 2020 issue, bringing the story from World War II up to the present.
Immigrants have played an important role in making Colorado what it is. They have been an integral part of Colorado’s political and socioeconomic development. Without immigrants and their descendants settling in the Colorado Territory, it is doubtful that Colorado would have attained the population necessary to become the nation’s thirty-eighth state on August 1, 1876. Besides contributing to this historic milestone, immigrants significantly boosted the Centennial State’s economic growth.
In the nineteenth century, immigrants laid the foundation of Colorado’s development. They extracted the state’s raw materials from the ground, especially gold, silver, and coal. Then they built the road and railway infrastructure required to transport such commodities for local and national consumption.
Despite the many contributions made by immigrants to the country and to Colorado, a nativist movement to end free immigration emerged in the second half of the nineteenth century and reached maturity in the early decades of the twentieth. With the passage of discriminatory immigration laws during the 1920s, nativists were able to limit the number of so-called inferior peoples entering the country. It took World War II and the Cold War to eliminate these prejudicial laws and replace them with fairer ones.
Reforming the Immigration System
The first shift occurred during World War II, when people recognized the incongruity of excluding the citizens of China, a wartime ally, from immigrating to the United States. As a result, Congress passed the Magnuson Bill in 1943, repealing the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and allowing an annual quota of 105 Chinese to enter the country.
The second shift unfolded during the early years of the Cold War. There was growing recognition that the United States’ immigration policy was at odds with its foreign policy, and America needed a policy that proved it was a just nation, one that served as a positive influence on the rest of the world. The United States also realized that its existing immigration policy was inimical to its economic interest since it impeded the movement of people who were essential to its future growth in the emerging global economy. Consequently, Congress passed the McCarran-Walter Act in 1952.
Even though McCarran-Walter continued the inherently discriminatory National Origins system, it ended the exclusion of immigrants on the basis of race. Applicants from the Asia-Pacific Triangle were given a token quota of 2,000. More importantly, the act also ended all racial restrictions on naturalized citizenship.
The third and most significant shift was the passage of the landmark Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, or the Hart-Celler Act. Hart-Celler fundamentally changed the basis of the nation’s immigration policy from an essentially exclusive approach to an inclusive one.
While the United States never returned to the free immigration policy of the eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries, Hart-Celler did eliminate many of the discriminatory features of the Immigration Act of 1917, the Johnson-Reed Act (1924), and the McCarran-Walter Act. It abolished the previous immigration system based on national origins quotas and eliminated references to race in its preferences. In doing so, Hart-Cellar corrected inequities that had limited the number of Southern and Eastern Europeans emigrating to the United States. It instituted a more equitable system that allowed an annual visa limit of 20,000 per country and an overall global ceiling of 290,000 in 1976. Equally important, Hart-Cellar replaced the previous ethnic criteria, designed to keep people out of the country, with a family reunification program and skills criteria designed to attract select immigrants.
While the architects of the Hart-Celler Act sought to make the country’s immigration policy more equitable, the substantial increase in immigration from around the world was unforeseen; proponents of the bill thought that far fewer immigrants would take advantage of the new equal quotas than actually did. Senator Edward Kennedy, who facilitated the bill’s passage through the Senate, did not expect Hart-Celler to change the essential ethnic makeup of the country or enable a meaningful influx from the most heavily populated and economically impoverished countries in the world.
Given America’s history of anti-Asian sentiments and its identity as a predominantly white nation, Hart-Celler supporters thought few Asians would make use of the opportunities that this immigration reform offered. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, for instance, thought that, at most, there would be about 5,000 immigrants from the Asia-Pacific region the first year after the passage of Hart-Celler, with declining numbers afterwards.
The Changing Face of Colorado
Advocates of Hart-Celler were both right and wrong. They were right about the number of Europeans immigrating to the United States, as comparatively few took advantage of the new immigration law. By 1965 Western Europe had largely recovered from the ravages of World War II, so most people there had little incentive to leave home. Among those who did leave were Germans, having fled their defeated country that was subsequently divided into West and East Germany. Because of the Iron Curtain, people in the Soviet Bloc countries of Eastern Europe were unable to leave for America, even though many of them wanted to.
Proponents were wrong about the number of immigrants coming to the United States and which countries they emigrated from. Hart-Celler marked the return of mass immigration to the United States as the total entering the country expanded enormously. While there were 9.6 million immigrants in the country in 1970, there were 44.4 million in 2017, most coming from the developing countries of Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
Equally noteworthy is that the percentage of those foreign-born living in the United States has reached its highest level since 1910 because of Hart-Celler’s “family reunification” provision that awards 75 percent of the visas to the spouses, children, and parents of American citizens. This has become a primary principle of the American immigration system, allowing fortunate family members to obtain “green cards,” become permanent residents, and then become citizens. The provision began as a humane gesture that has enhanced America’s reputation around the world ever since.
Colorado has been a beneficiary of the return to mass immigration. In 1970, immigrants made up only 2.7 percent of the state’s population; by 2000, that number had increased to 8.6 percent. By 2010, about one in ten Colorado residents was foreign-born. And a similar number (9.4 percent) of native-born US citizens have at least one immigrant parent as a result of intermarriage. In 2015, among the top five groups that had immigrated to Colorado, European Germans represented 3.2 percent. The other four groups were from Mexico (43.3 percent), India (4.4 percent), Vietnam (3.2 percent), and China (3.1 percent).
Mexican and Latin American Immigrants
Prompted by the federal government’s Bracero Program, immigration from Mexico has been ongoing since World War II. As American workers joined the armed forces or found better paying jobs in war industries, an average of 200,000 Mexicans came annually as temporary workers to make up for the labor shortage in factories and on farms. Though the program ended in 1964, the demand for low-wage Mexican migrant workers continued unabated.
Hart-Celler made it difficult to meet that demand readily since it imposed a quota of 120,000 in total for the Western Hemisphere, with no more than 20,000 admitted from any one country. The ceiling on admissions encouraged Mexican migrants desperate for work to cross the US southern border without permission, giving rise to the current crisis of undocumented immigrants. Working in the US underground economy, undocumented immigrants are often exploited and always vulnerable to apprehension, detention, and deportation. Between 1965 and 1985, the United States deported more than 13 million immigrants, most of them Mexicans. Though Hart-Celler sought to make the American immigration system fairer for all immigrants, it had the unintended consequence of criminalizing many of them—mainly Mexicans.
Mexican immigrants and members of the broader Colorado Latinx community make up about 22 percent of the state’s population. This is four percent higher than the national average, making Colorado one of just nine states with a Latin American population of more than 1.2 million people. Latinx Coloradans are the largest ethnic group in the Centennial State, representing one in every three Denverites and one in every two residents in the San Luis Valley. By 2040, it is estimated that more than one-third of Coloradans will be Latinxs, up from one-fifth today.
Mexican and other Latin American immigrants are joining Colorado’s long-established Hispano community, which Mexican colonists incorporated into the United States as a result of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848). The first and largest group outside of American Indians to settle in Colorado, many Hispanos had originally been enticed with land grants to settle in what is now southern Colorado. However, the influx of land-hungry American colonizers, with the complicity of the American judicial system, appropriated much of these lands through questionable means.
Mexican Coloradans living in the state’s rural south worked as farmers and ranchers. As Colorado became integrated into the national economy through the transcontinental railroad system after 1870, poorer Mexican Coloradans moved north in search of better job opportunities. There they worked in the mining industry, the steel mills, and the beet fields. After World Wars I and II, their numbers were augmented by returning Mexican Coloradan servicemen who moved their families from rural communities in the south to such major cities as Pueblo, Denver, Greeley, and Fort Collins, where they enjoyed big-city amenities and social life.
The city of Aurora is notable for attracting Mexican and other Latin American immigrants. According to recent census data, 28 percent of Aurora’s population is comprised of Latinx Coloradans. Aurora has earned a well-deserved reputation for welcoming new immigrants and refugees with its affordable housing and job opportunities. Besides Front Range cities, Mexican and other Latin American immigrants have also moved to Colorado’s countryside, where they are helping to revive local communities. Indeed, they have been a critical factor in slowing or reversing population decline in many rural areas. In some communities their numbers now approach those of the white population. In 2017, in Fort Morgan in northeast Colorado the population was 48 percent white and 45 percent Latinx. (The remaining population in Fort Morgan included Somalis and other East African immigrants, who made up four percent.)
Mexican Coloradans became an important part of the state’s culture and a powerful political force. Like other ethnic groups, they have supported ambitious politicians emerging from their communities, such as Federico Peña, mayor of Denver (1983–1991); Ken Salazar, US Senator (2005–2009) and US Secretary of the Interior (2009–2013); and John Salazar, US Representative (2005–2010). Mexican Coloradans combined with other Latinx Coloradans currently make up 15.9 percent of the eligible electorate, a figure that will only increase with time, growing to an estimated 34 percent by 2040.
One of the issues most concerning to Latinx Coloradans is immigration. According to one poll, 63 percent of Latinx Coloradans personally know someone who is an undocumented immigrant and 35 percent know someone who has been deported or detained for immigration reasons. In Colorado, 4.9 percent of the state’s workforce is comprised of undocumented immigrants, most of whom are Mexican.
Mexican and other Latin American immigrants have become an integral part of the state’s economy. Many are employed in the construction industry (22.6 percent of all workers); also in administrative and support, waste management, and remediation services industries (20.6 percent of all workers). In short, immigrants from south of the border play a major role in essential occupations in the state.
Under Hart-Celler, large numbers of Asians applied for the visas available to them to escape the economic deprivations and political instability of their homelands. They came with the intention of settling permanently in the United States, taking advantage of the immigration act’s emphasis on family reunification.
For the first time in American history, the country’s immigration policy gave priority to family members. Immediate relatives of American citizens and permanent residents—parents, as well as spouses and children—were exempt from the established ceiling of 170,000 immigrants from outside the Western Hemisphere. Asian immigrants were among the fastest to become naturalized citizens. As soon as they could, Asian immigrants became citizens so that they could bring their families to America, starting a chain migration process that has continued to the present. Family reunification has remained an essential element in American immigration policy and has withstood various challenges from anti-immigration opponents to degrade it or eliminate it altogether.
The effects of Hart-Celler on Asian immigration to Colorado can be seen in the census record. In 1960, Asians constituted only 0.5 percent of Colorado’s population. By 1990, they had grown to 1.7 percent of Colorado’s population; by 2000, to 2.2 percent; by 2010, 2.8 percent; and by 2020, 3.1 percent (or an estimated 169,556 people). In the national context, however, these figures are less impressive. In 1960, Asian Americans comprised less than one percent of the total US population. By 2000, the Asian American share of the total US population had grown to 4.5 percent; by 2010, to 4.8 percent; and by 2020, to about six percent.
Compared to other immigrant groups, old and new, the percentage and number of Asian immigrants in the country is low. This is due to past discriminatory laws, which prevented most Asians from replenishing their community with fellow immigrants, or from founding families and producing a second generation born in America. Asian Americans are now making up for lost time.
Significantly, Asian immigrants coming to Colorado are no longer just Chinese and Japanese but instead comprise a diverse group that more or less mirrors the demographic distribution of Asians throughout the Interior West and the nation as a whole. Indeed, recent Asian immigrants are among the most varied ethnically. They include immigrants from East, South, and Southeast Asia, as well as various parts of the Pacific. In the 2010 decennial census, the Chinese, the state’s oldest Asian group, are once again the most numerous; Japanese, the state’s second oldest Asian group, are now the fewest. Between them are four other groups, with slightly more Vietnamese and Koreans than Asian Indians, and slightly more Filipinos than Japanese.
Decades after Hart-Celler, Asian immigrants are now the fastest growing racial group in the nation and in the state. As one of America’s “new growth” states, Colorado has attracted large numbers of them. By 2010, the Asian population increased more than four times, growing by 43.3 percent while the rest of the country grew by only 9.7 percent. According to a Pew Research Center study, the number of Asians immigrating to the United States had surpassed that of Latinxs by 2012. By that year, an estimated 136,882 Asians lived in Colorado, which was markedly more than before World War II.
Some of the Asians coming to America and Colorado are refugees seeking asylum rather than immigrants seeking economic opportunities—political refugees who have come to America as a result of the Cold War, as well as the hot wars fought in Korea and Vietnam. Most of the recent refugees have come from Southeast Asia, fleeing Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos in the wake of America’s 1975 defeat in the Vietnam War. By 2000, Colorado was home to 15,457 Vietnamese, 1,451 Cambodians, and 2,156 Laotians, along with 3,000 Hmong, who had fought alongside American troops in Southeast Asia. Together, these Southeast Asians represent a very small part of Colorado’s population, 0.5 percent. Less visible are many other, smaller Asian ethnic groups such as the Burmese and Bhutanese, who constitute a large proportion of refugees to the country in the early twenty-first century. They fled their native lands to escape oppressive rulers, civil wars, or government violence. They have come to Colorado for protection, but with little or no idea what the future may hold for them.
Asian immigrants and refugees can be found geographically throughout the state, though most live in the urban Denver metropolitan area and Colorado Springs. Even though they still prefer to gather in ethnic neighborhoods like other immigrant groups, they are no longer restricted to segregated ethnic enclaves. One popular place is the city of Aurora, which has been a magnet for Asian immigrants ever since it began expanding in the 1950s. According to the latest census data, Asians comprise 5.5 percent of the city’s population. Aurora’s diverse Asian population is also reflected in its schools, where Asian/Pacific Islander students make up 5.1 percent of the student population and speak approximately 38 different Asian/Pacific languages.
Among the various pull factors that have shaped Asian migration to Colorado, economics continues to be the most significant, offering a higher standard of living for families and better educational opportunities for children. Asian Coloradans are no longer restricted to low-wage occupations and can be found across the entire economic spectrum of the state.
Colorado’s information technology industry, which has developed rapidly in recent decades, is a major draw. As early as 1998, about 84 in every 1,000 Coloradans worked in the high-tech industry, making Colorado the state with the highest per capita number of technical workers in the country. Because the demand for qualified personnel outstripped the domestic supply, the IT industry sought a skilled labor force abroad in countries like India, with its extensive system of technical colleges.
This need for technical expertise became particularly acute when Colorado’s high-tech industry needed systems analysts, engineers, and scientists able to perform a wide variety of tasks related to the “Y2K” problems expected in the year 2000. Companies using computers (and that meant most of them, large and small, including the government) were concerned that the existing software was unable to differentiate dates at the end of the millennium, potentially resulting in the wholesale failure of their computers and the collapse of the country’s computer-dependent infrastructure. To remediate this unprecedented disaster, companies began hiring large numbers of computer specialists.
Asian Indians were prime candidates for recruitment because many of them had the necessary computer training and most spoke English to a certain extent, which gave them a decided advantage over other skilled foreign workers, including other Asians. Consequently, many Asian Indians were given H-1B visas reserved for highly skilled workers, allowing them to work in the United States. Indeed, the Immigration and Naturalization Service reported that almost 48 percent of all H-1B visas issued from 1998 to 2000 went to Asian Indians. This opened a path to citizenship for many; an estimated 40 percent of H-1B visa recipients sought green cards as a preliminary step to becoming naturalized citizens.
By the twenty-first century, previously denigrated racial groups arriving in Colorado were instrumental in building and maintaining the state’s technological and physical infrastructure and sustaining its crucial agricultural sector. Now, Asians and Latinxs work in all types of occupations and are part of all levels of society. They are also raising the next generation of Coloradans who can be expected to play a part in the ongoing development of the state’s economy and culture.
Contributions of immigrants to the development of the country in general and Colorado notwithstanding, recent years have seen a resurgence of anti-immigration sentiment reminiscent of the 1920s. This phenomenon has been closely identified with President Donald J. Trump, who made opposition to immigration a central policy initiative. Both the issue and policy are metaphorically associated with his promise to construct a 2,000-mile wall preventing Latin American emigrants from entering the United States. Trump sought to capitalize on what many Americans considered the most important problem facing the nation: immigration.
Trump’s policy was a reactionary one that would, at the very least, have aimed to maintain the extant racial hierarchy in which people of color are subordinate. The administration’s policies were largely shaped by Trump’s longest-serving aide, Stephen Miller, an anti-immigration hardliner responsible for masterminding such policies as separating thousands of children from their Central American parents at the US-Mexico border. Former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper aptly called the Trump administration’s family separation policy tantamount to “kidnapping.” The Southern Poverty Law Center added Stephen Miller to its “Extremist Files” for his far-right white supremacist ideas, rhetoric, and actions.
As we have seen, historically anti-immigration politicians and their supporters are often driven by fear. In this case, President Trump, Miller, and their supporters may have feared the inexorable demographic change set to make America a “majority minority” nation by 2045, and the concomitant loss of power and privilege that comes with being the majority population. Consequently, nativists have called once again to minimize or exclude the entry of certain groups, notably those coming from non-European countries. Predictably, they have used the same tired arguments, alleging that these groups pose a threat to American society or are a financial burden on the country.
Since Trump’s anti-immigration agenda was thwarted by a gridlocked Congress unable to create more restrictions, he resorted to the expediency of issuing executive orders to accomplish this in piecemeal fashion. One example of this was his June 2020 executive order to suspend H-1B and other temporary work visas for skilled workers such as the Asian Indians who were recruited to work in Colorado’s high-tech industry. He issued his order ostensibly to protect American jobs lost during the ongoing pandemic, but the order would hinder businesses competing in the global economy, and the American workers who are part of it.
Unsurprisingly, high-tech industry leaders pushed back. As the case of Colorado has shown, the H-1B visas have proven useful in filling positions not easily found in the American workforce, and industry heads have been advocating for an increase in H-1B visas so they can recruit highly skilled immigrants. In 2019, US companies submitted more than 201,000 applications for just 85,000 spots.
President Trump also banned H-2B visas for seasonal nonagricultural workers and J-1 visas for cultural exchange programs. Banning these two visas adversely affected such sectors of the economy as landscaping and winter tourism. The H-2B visas allow landscape companies to hire foreign workers willing to do the kind of physical work—shoveling gravel, digging trenches, planting trees—that most Americans are unwilling to do. The J-1 visas allow ski resorts to recruit foreign students as resort staff—operating ski lifts, working in restaurants and hotels, and serving on maintenance crews. In 2020 Colorado employed more than 11,100 of these seasonal workers.
Fortunately for Colorado’s agricultural sector, Trump’s executive order did not apply to H-2A agricultural workers such as the Latinx laborers working in the state’s fruit and vegetable fields. (Interestingly, the executive order also exempted medical workers combating the coronavirus and scientists involved in Covid-19 research. Many of the health care workers are Asians and Asian Americans. Even though they are estimated to be about six percent of the country’s 2020 population, they represent 18 percent of the country’s physicians and 10 percent of its nurse practitioners.) Ending Latin American immigration would have a devastating impact on Colorado’s agricultural economy. As Harry Talbott, the patriarch of Talbott Farms, the largest peach operation in the state, has observed, “Without [them], we would not have a peach harvest in Colorado...Period.” For Colorado’s peach growers and other farmers, the future looks bleak due to the diminishing number of migrant workers available to do the onerous field work. According to the American Farm Bureau, there were only 243,000 workers in the country on temporary visas in 2018 to fill 2.4 million farm jobs. The bureau found that 40 percent of farmers were unable to hire enough workers in the previous five years.
While the number of Mexican migrant workers has declined, many Central Americans from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador are looking for work and presumably willing to perform the intensive labor required on America’s farms. If the past has taught us anything, the newest immigrants are hardly a threat and will more than pay their way through taxes and other means. And as with previous generations of immigrants, they are likely to work their way into the fabric of US society and become as American as the immigrants who preceded them.
Some of Trump’s executive orders were deemed inappropriate and even illegal by US courts—the only branch of government able to prevent him from carrying out his anti-immigration agenda. Perhaps the most emotion-laden part of this scheme was his effort to rescind the Obama administration’s DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program to protect young undocumented immigrants without citizenship or residency status (usually referred to as “Dreamers”) from deportation by granting them temporary legal status. In June 2020, the US Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration could not arbitrarily end DACA because it failed to provide adequate justification for doing so. If the Supreme Court had supported Trump, it could have resulted in the deportation of an estimated 14,000 young Coloradans, de facto Americans by their upbringing. Equally unjust, it would have forced many of them to live in the shadows of what they considered their own country to avoid deportation to a foreign one.
Trump’s anti-immigration policies were out of step with the sentiments of most Americans. Weeks before Trump decided to ban the H-1B and other visas and when the US Supreme Court ruled against his attempt to end DACA, a Gallup poll reported a seismic shift in American attitudes toward immigration. According to a poll conducted between May 28 and June 4, 2020, 77 percent of Americans surveyed agreed that immigration was good for the country. Further, 34 percent of Americans actually wanted to see immigration increase—the first time that Gallup respondents had favored expanded immigration. This was the highest support for increased immigration since 1965, when the country traded its discriminatory immigration system for an equitable one.
Ironically, the desirability of more immigrants was expressed by none other than Trump’s former acting chief of staff, Mike Mulvaney, two months earlier. According to the Washington Post, at a private gathering in February 2020 Mulvaney said, “We are desperate—desperate—for more people. We are running out of people to fuel the economic growth that we’ve had in our nation over the last four years. We need more immigrants.” (Emphasis added.)
Upon becoming president, Joe Biden sought to reverse his predecessor’s policies restricting immigration through executive actions and with an immigration reform bill to modernize the immigration system. Using his presidential powers, Biden halted border wall construction between Mexico and the United States, ended the ban that restricted travel from fourteen predominantly Muslim countries, and issued an executive order directing the federal government to maintain the DACA program. Biden has also sent to Congress one of the most comprehensive immigration reform measures since 1986, the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021. Among other things, the bill provides a pathway to citizenship for undocumented workers and employment-based visas and green cards.
Predictably, there was pushback from the conservative members of Congress who wanted to retain Trump’s more restrictive policies, calling Biden’s policies a massive amnesty program for illegal immigrants. Given Democrats’ narrow control of Congress, the odds of Biden’s immigration bill passing are slim. As a political strategy, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives has passed the Dream and Promise Act and the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, two components of Biden’s larger immigration reform bill, with hopes of Senate passage.
In an April 5, 2021, video message to newly naturalized citizens, President Biden thanked them for coming to the United States. “You all have one thing in common—courage,” he said. “The courage it takes to sacrifice and make this journey. The courage to leave your homes, your lives, your loved ones, and come to a nation that is more than just a place but rather an idea,” in which everyone “is created equal and deserves to be treated equally.”
Anti-immigration hardliners, whether knowingly or unknowingly, implicitly raise perennial questions about who are, and who should be, Americans. Are Americans members of a particular race or ethnic group? Are Americans people committed to a set of values that transcend race and ethnicity? It is the very absence of a definitive and widely held answer to these questions that periodically gives rise to nativist anti-immigrant attitudes and actions.
What is unquestionable is that immigrants have been integral to the nation’s economic development and have enhanced it culturally and socially. Certainly, this has proven true for Colorado historically. There is no gainsaying that immigrants have contributed significantly to the Centennial State’s agricultural and industrial growth, enriched its culture, and diversified its society, making it much more inclusive and stronger. They do so today and will continue to do so tomorrow.
For Further Reading
Works referenced include Rafael Bernal, “Trump Says He’ll Sign Order with ‘Road to Citizenship’ for DACA Recipients,” The Hill, July 10, 2020; Chantal Da Silva, “Stephen Miller Makes Southern Poverty Law Center’s List of ‘Extremists,’” Newsweek, July 17, 2020; Michelle Hackman, “How Trump Has Worked to Restrict Immigration,” Wall Street Journal, June 18, 2020; Nancy Loftholm, “In the Age of ‘Go Back Where You Came From,’ Palisade Carries on Tradition of Thanking Orchard Workers Before They Leave,” Colorado Sun, September 10, 2019; Bryan Kirk, “Three-Quarters of Americans Say Immigration Is Good Thing for U.S.: Poll,” Newsweek, July 1, 2020; Nick Miroff and Josh Dawsey, “Mulvaney Says U.S. Is ‘Desperate’ for More Legal Immigrants,” Washington Post, February 20, 2020; Joe Rubino, “Ban on Program Stings Colorado,” Daily Camera (Boulder), July 13, 2020; Mohamed Younis, “Americans Want More, Not Less, Immigration for the First Time,” Gallup, July 1, 2020; American Immigration Council, “Fact Sheet: Immigrants in Colorado,” June 9, 2020; Campbell Gibson and Kay Jung, “Historical Census on the Foreign-Born Population of the United States: 1850 to 2000,” Working Paper No. 81, Population Division, State Demography Office; Latino Decisions, “Hispanic Voters and Colorado Politics,” June 2014; Statistical Atlas, “Race and Ethnicity in Aurora, Colorado.”
Editor’s Note:Part One of this essay appeared in the Fall 2020 issue of The Colorado Magazine. The essay is adapted from “Immigration to the Intermountain West: The Case of Colorado,” presented at the Ninth Annual Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences & Education Conference, Honolulu, January 2020. It has been published in the conference’s online proceedings.
A Big, Complex, and Incomplete Story of the VoteIn the fall of 2018, I started working on plans to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. As we mark this occasion on August 26, what I thought would feel like an ending to this work feels like just the beginning.