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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Colorado Dems Say No To Arizona Immigration Laws

Colorado Takes Leadership Role

The State of Colorado took a leadership role in immigration reform by not passing draconian measures which near by Arizona passed.  The credit goes to Democratic senators who refused to buy into the right-wing rhetoric of the Republican legislature.  The laws proposed by Republicans would have made immigrants a second class community and forced an estimated 170,000 people to flee the state, presumably along with another 300,000 people who are legal citizen family members.  After each vote, I talked to some of the Republican senators and got no where.  They did not really want to have the discussion in the first place.  More than that, they were bent on passing draconian measures which they know are likely unconstitutional or which would have cost the state a mint in legal challenges.  Meanwhile, the law makers would earn big headlines.


colorado senate

Until we can elect leadership which is sincerely interested in what is best for the state, rather than what will get their fat mugs in the newspapers, we will never be able to effect meaningful immigration reform.  The problem is complicated, it requires a sincere look at what is real and practical, and it requires compromise.  Republicans have no interest in reality or compromise but they are very happy with getting their names in the media.


The following article was originally printed as Colorado Says No To Arizona Style Immigration Laws on Technorati by Tim Paynter

Colorado took a leadership role on immigration reform Wednesday, February 16th, 2011, by defeating two severe anti-immigrant laws.  Senate bill SB-54 was a copy cat law which followed Arizona SB 1070, the toughest anti-immigrant law in the history of the US. Colorado’s version of the bill would have granted police officers probable cause to arrest any person they suspected of being undocumented.


The bill was silent as to what an undocumented person looks like, which left detractors concerned about racial profiling. Senate bill SB-129 was a Mandatory E-Verify law for every Colorado business. It was a back-door effort to make Colorado a difficult place for those who are currently working in Colorado to make a living.


Betty Boyd, Rollie Heath, Bob Bacon

The issue of what to do with Colorado’s share of undocumented workers weighed heavily on all of the law makers from both sides of the isle. At the end of the day, a close Democratic majority in the Senate State Veterans and Military Affairs Committee decided Colorado should not go down the same path as Arizona in immigration reform.

As for SB 054, witnesses voiced concerns about having 30,000 beds in jails for eleven million immigrants making the arrest and detention of existing undocumented immigrants unworkable.  There is fear immigrants would not report serious crimes perpetrated against them for fear of deportation.  Law makers were concerned about the cost of potential law suits.  Law enforcement said they preferred to concentrate on violent crime rather than taking on the responsibility for federal immigration enforcement.  Then there was the potential fall-out to the Colorado tourist industry as a result of a boycott. Proponents for the bill testified they were tired of all the “illegals” taking their jobs and attending public school.


Regarding e-verify, witnesses told the senate the e-verify system is flawed and complicated to operate, especially for small businesses.  False positives cost people who are desperate for a job critical revenue pending resolution of the problems.  Even if the program is free, the cost of implementation and compliance with the system is an added burden. Witnesses who testified for the law indicated they were tired of the “illegals from taking our jobs”.


Both measures were voted down in a party line vote. Hans Meyer, policy director of the Colorado Immigrant’s Rights Coalition (CIRC) issued a statement after the hearing:

“We are proud of the members of the Senate State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee, especially Senators Rollie Heath, Bob Bacon, and Betty Boyd, who decided that Colorado does not need an Arizona style immigration enforcement system or a mandatory employment verification system…The economic costs of implementation would be staggering, and exacerbate the already severe budget deficit which is forcing the Governor to cut education and other worthwhile programs.”


senator r cadman

Senator Bill Cadman (R-Colo)

Thursday, law makers will consider a bill which will grant in-state tuition to undocumented youth if passed.  Currently, the children of undocumented immigrants must pay out-of-state tuition and don’t qualify for scholarships and financial aid. If the bill passes, qualifying students would get in-state tuition hence added needed revenue for schools, but the students still won’t get financial aid or scholarships.


Let’s hope Colorado continues down the road of rational decision making towards the immigrant population.  There are good and solid solutions to the immigration problem, but it is not to turn eleven million people into second class citizens as happened in Nazi Germany not so long ago.


1 comment:

  1. what a shame to American Citizens who do not value the labor of undocumented workers, they pay taxes and are never refunded, they leave the cities gains and deputies, mayors and senators wasted on stupid laws that only serve to make final appear on radio or television with new laws polemics, better devote themselves to solving the problems of society, and invest that money where they really need, schools, hospitals, health of children and the elderly, keep in good repair and maintain streets clean and not think about where to get more money to continue wasting, growing as American society, not as racist naciz