In a June 2016 file photo, Eleazar Rios is seen showing off his naturalization certificate to Deb Schaffer, citizenship program coordinator at the Littleton Immigrant Resources Center at Bemis Public Library. Rios attended classes at the center to prepare him for his naturalization interview with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officers.

This story first appeared in a Colorado Community Media newspaper. Support CCM’s neighborhood news. The Colorado Sun is an owner of CCM.

The future of Littleton’s only affordable resource center for immigrants seeking citizenship has been uncertain for years. But following a recent City Council budget meeting, members appear poised to pull funding from the center by fall of 2022.

On Sept. 11, the city council voted 5-2 to move ahead with cutting the Littleton Immigrant Resources Center’s roughly $150,000 in annual funding.

Councilmembers will formally vote on the move in October.

Councilmembers Patrick Driscoll, Carol Fey, Pam Grove, Mark Runicki and Mayor Jerry Valdes all supported defunding.

Mayor Pro Tem Scott Melin, who sided with Councilmember Kelly Milliman in support of funding the center, said he is disappointed with the council’s decision.

“This is a program that’s in place right now to make our community more diverse and more inclusive. It’s an important symbol,” Melin said in an interview with Colorado Community Media.

The center has for years helped hundreds of legal green-card holders take the final step toward U.S. citizenship through offering low-cost civics and English lessons, test preparation and help filling out forms.

Read more at coloradocommunitymedia.com.

Robert Tann

Special to The Colorado Sun