Governor Polis Commemorates World Refugee Day

More than 3,000 refugees have arrived in Colorado in the past year

DENVERAhead of World Refugee Day on Monday June 22, the Polis-Primavera administration celebrated Colorado’s shared efforts to provide both safety and opportunity to thousands of refugees who have been welcomed to the state.  Since the advent of the U.S. resettlement program in 1980, Colorado has welcomed more than 62,000 refugees.  

“These individuals and families contribute to our thriving economy, support jobs and businesses and are part of the fabric of our communities,” said Governor Jared Polis. “Refugees bring their skills, strengths, ideas and innovative spirit and Colorado is proud to welcome refugees who have fled oppression and love our country as we continue to build a Colorado for all.” 

This year under the Polis-Primavera administration, Colorado has welcomed 3,127 refugees from 44 countries, including 70 Ukrainians and over 2,000 Afghans who supported the U.S. government and military overseas.  

Colorado refugees fuel the state’s economic growth. The economic activity of refugees in our state generated over $611 million in new salaries and wages for Colorado workers, according to the most recent Economic and Fiscal Impact of Refugees in Colorado Report. For every dollar spent on refugees, $1.68 is generated in industry activity throughout Colorado’s economy.

Governor Polis signed new legislation this year to support New Americans through:
  • SB22-140 sponsored by Senators James Coleman and Bob Gardner and Representatives Judy Amabile and Barbara McLachlan which expands use of funds to support English Language Learners in equitable economic recovery through English language learning, who are often left out of career training and credentialing, and/or are not equipped with English skills to support their success
  • HB22-1050 sponsored by Rep. Naqueta Hicks and Senator Janet Buckner which cuts red tape and outlines a path forward to utilize Colorado healthcare workers who are internationally trained to become licensed in the U.S. and Colorado. 

Colorado was the first state in the nation to quickly provide transitional housing and wrap-around assistance to help Afghans evacuated under Operation Allies Refuge resettle into their permanent communities in the U.S.  World Refugee Day is a day to recognize not only the plight of refugees, but their courage, strength and tenacity.

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