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2/27 CO: Inmates to replace immigrant farm workers
Released 05 March 2007  By Rocky Mountain News

Inmates to replace immigrant farm workers

By Rocky Mountain News
February 27, 2007,1299,DRMN_15_5382036,00.html

State prison inmates may soon be working the farm fields of Colorado as immigrant labor becomes more difficult to find due to tightening down of immigration laws.

The Pueblo Chieftain today reports that a pilot project would operate under the Department of Correction’s Correctional Industries Program that helps inmates find work while in prison so they can learn a skill at the same time.

DOC executive director Ari Zavaras said the program fits in the emphasis he and Gov. Bill Ritter have on reducing recidivism, which, in turn, cuts down on funding needed to build new prisons.

State Rep. Dorothy Butcher, D-Pueblo, started the idea with area farmers who complained the new crackdown on immigration and stringent documentation rules adopted by the Department of Revenue has made it impossible to find labor for their fields.

The farmers say immigrant workers, whether legal or not, are afraid to come to Colorado because of tougher immigration laws recently passed during a special Legislative session that they say makes it more difficult to get driver’s licenses and state identification cards.

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