Friday, September 20, 2019

Colorado Introduces Arizona-Style Immigration Bill with Notable Differences

Colorado has become the latest state to take on the issue of immigration into its own hands.

This week, Republican lawmakers in the state introduced an immigration enforcement measure mimicking the controversial SB 1070 in Arizona. 

As previously reported in La Plaza, Colorado has recently stepped up its crackdown on illegal immigration by participating in the “Secure Communities” program.  The proposed AZ-like measure is being sponsored by State Sen. Kent Lambert of Colorado Springs.

While Lambert has claimed his legislation, SB 54, is different from Arizona’s in that it does not make it a requirement that law enforcement officers must arrest a person if they have probable cause the person is undocumented, critics say it could still lead to racial profiling.

The language here is permissive,” he said. “It says ‘officers may arrest.’ I think we have to put that on the table and see how many police departments respond.”

Opponents of the legislation are not impressed and feel Colorado should instead take a few lessons from Arizona, and focus on the economy and jobs.

Julien Ross, executive director of the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, expressed concerned and claimed it, “mind-boggling that a handful of Colorado senators would pursue the same divisive legislation that has cost the state of Arizona millions in lost tourism revenue and wasted taxpayer dollars on lawsuit challenges.”

Lambert, a member of the State Legislators for Legal Immigration, an organization that includes legislators from 31 states and claims on it’s website to putting an end to government assistance for undocumented immigrants, remains steadfast in his crusade. 

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper has not said if he would veto SB 54 should it be passed, but he has expressed ambivalent feelings towards SB 1070 in the past saying “the Arizona law poses troubling constitutional issues.”

The question remains whether Lambert’s measure will make it out of the Colorado State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee in the Democratically-controlled Senate.

ABC New 7 Denver

Huffington Post

State Legislators For Legal Immigration

Kent Lambert