Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Colorado ups the ante

"They're all trying to out-Tancredo Tancredo."

This is what U.S. House Representative Tom Tancredo said of politicians in his home state of Colorado who aren't waiting on Congress to alter immigration to the state. Tancredo is one of the most rabidly anti-immigrant Congressman in Washington, so if he thinks someone is trying to out-do him, then immigrants better watch out...

The Colorado State Assembly finished a special five day session by passing some extraordinary measures that go further than any other state in the Union. Some are merely P.R., like the one that bars undocumented immigrants from accessing non-emergency services: Federal law already bars them from doing so and studies show that the undocumented rarely try to access them. It will be interesting to see if some U.S. citizens will be unable to meet the new stringent identification requirements. Immigrants may also take this as a sign to leave or avoid the state, something that will effect the state's economy. Other measures include requirements for employers to certify that they have documented employees and fines for those who don't comply.

Republicans in the State Assembly would have liked for most of the measures to go on the November ballot (what better way to get supporters to the polls?) but Democrats cut them off at the pass and forced a vote. Colorado voters will be able to vote on whether or not the state attorney general can sue the federal government for not enforcing immigration law in the state.

House Speaker Andrew Romanoff told the Rocky Mountain Times "My hope is if Congress is listening that they take a message from what we are doing." Governor Owens, who has 30 days to sign the bills into law, said that he hopes other states will follow Colorado's lead and that Maryland legislators had called within a matter of hours for copies of the bills.

To see a list of the proposed bills, including a HR 4437 clone that would have turned undocumented people into felons, see this List of State Bills.

ACTION STEPS: Call Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff (303-866-2346) and tell him how disappointed you are in his leadership and to leave immigration matters to the federal government.
Call Governor Owens (303-866-2471) and tell him NOT to sign the legislation that was passed by the Legislature. Tell him that signing these harsh laws will send a negative message about Colorado and that they will have a devastating effect on the state's economy.