Defend Colorado Now

What the original Defend Colorado Now
amendment would do

More information:
History of the 2006 initiative
Language of the 2006 initiative
What the amendment would do
What the amendment would not do
2006 Legislative summary

Questions and Answers about Defend Colorado Now

What was the purpose of the original Defend Colorado Now amendment?

The amendment would ensure non-emergency taxpayer-funded public services go only to those lawfully in Colorado. Persons not lawfully in the United States will be prevented in Colorado from receiving public services other than those directly related to public safety or life-threatening emergencies, and K-12 education. Citizens and persons who are in the country lawfully will not be affected by this amendment.

What public services would be addressed?

Non-emergency public services at any level of government, if not mandated by federal law, are prohibited under this amendment. Emergency services include police and fire protection services, and medical services in hospital emergency rooms are mandated by federal law.

Would this amendment cost taxpayers money or will it save money?

This amendment will save money by reducing unauthorized expenditures.

Why doesn't the amendment list all the services that will be restricted?

This would have been possible in earlier, less complex times, but today the government is so intertwined in our lives that a list of non-emergency public services would be almost endless. After the initiative is approved by the voters, the General Assembly will have constitutional, plenary power to define emergency services that are exempted from this restriction and enact reasonable and appropriate provisions to implement this amendment.

How would this amendment affect illegal aliens attending Colorado institutions of higher education?

The amendment would prevent them from getting in-state college tuition.

What about in-school programs funded by State taxpayer funds, such as school-based vaccinations and after-school reading programs?

K-12 classroom instruction and activities related to instruction (such as school counseling and athletic programs) are exempt because they are mandated by federal law. Health-related school-based services may be allowed if defined as emergency services by the enforcement legislation to be enacted by the General Assembly.

What about emergency room medical services? If an illegal alien is injured in an automobile accident, can he get medical services?

Yes. Emergency medical services are mandated by federal law and would not be affected by this amendment.

Would police and fire services be available to illegal aliens under this amendment?

Yes. All law enforcement and fire suppression services are emergency services required to maintain pubic safety and security, and as such are not included in the restrictions.

Would the amendment restrict services provided by private agencies using state monies, such as organizations operating under grants or contracts?


Would the amendment restrict services using federal funds but not mandated by federal law?


Would the amendment include "quasi-governmental" institutions that receive public funds?


Would individual public employees be held liable for violations of the intent of this amendment?

No. State agencies may be sued by any citizen to assure enforcement, but individual civil servants are not liable in a civil suit for violations. However, as is the case with any provision of the law, public employees may be held accountable administratively for willful and deliberate non-performance of their sworn duties as public servants.

Would the amendment restrict the County Clerk's recordation of the transfer of real property?

Yes. Persons not in the United States lawfully should not be allowed to own real property in Colorado.

Would the amendment include services provided by home-rule municipalities?

Yes. It includes all municipalities and all political subdivisions and special districts.

Did the amendment intend that persons "lawfully present in the United States" include persons on tourist visas, student visas, a work visa, or other temporary visa?

Yes. Any person who entered the country in a lawful manner is by definition here lawfully- whether a student, tourist, airline pilot, conference attendee, or simply visiting a sick relative.

Did the restriction apply to persons who entered the U.S. on a legal visa but whose visa has expired?

Yes. If the visa has expired, they are here unlawfully unless an extension has been granted.

How would state, county or municipal employees know who is entitled to services and who is not?

House Bill 1224 [C.R.S. 24-72.1] passed by the General Assembly and signed by the Governor in May 2003 sets standards for secure and verifiable identification documents that may be accepted by state agencies providing services to the public. Each agency may establish reasonable standards and procedures for the programs it administers within the limits, guidelines and definitions established by the General Assembly.