Breaking: Colorado Says No To Arizona Style Immigration Laws
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”.Continued on the next page