Colorado introduces SB 1070-like immigration reform bill

Spoof of famous “American Gothic” painting in which the farmer couple is showing their citizenship papers.

Coloradans question whether these folks would ever have to show their papers. (Photo Credit: CC BY-ND/Jeff Kelly Lowenstein's Blog)

In the wake of Arizona’s SB 1070, numerous state legislatures have brought copycat bills to a vote, BlogCritics reports. On Jan. 19, the Colorado Senate introduced SB 11-054, which would require police to detain those persons suspected of being undocumented immigrants, ostensibly because such actions will reduce domestic terrorism. However, critics claim that much like SB 1070, Colorado’s bill is an example of racial profiling at its worst.

SB 1070 all over again

Immigration reform in the U.S. remains an issue that the federal government has addressed with rhetoric, while individual states have done the heavy lifting. Before Colorado, the most recent state legislature to deal with an SB 1070-style bill was in Mississippi. Color Lines reports that SB 2179 passed the Mississippi Senate, allowing law enforcement to check a person’s immigration status if they’re pulled over for a traffic stop or are subject to the enforcement of another law.

Colorado style immigration reform

Whereas Mississippi had proclaimed that they would pass a facsimile of SB 1070 via any means necessary, Colorado has been less keen to the idea of singling out undocumented persons, as that is a common code for “people of color.” The standard in Colorado’s SB 11-054 is that so long as a law enforcement officer can demonstrate reasonable suspicion leading up to an arrest, the officer will be immune from discipline for false arrest.

Still, concerns over racial profiling persist. Mixing SB 11-054 with Colorado’s Secure Communities agreement, which gives police permission to check immigration status of an arrested person, the black and Hispanic communities of Colorado believe they will be targeted. At the very least, undocumented immigrants will be too afraid to contact authorities to report crime, for fear they’ll be asked to show their citizenship papers.

Activists claim SB 1070 cost Arizona dearly

Julien Ross, the executive director of the Colorado Immigrants Rights Coalition, points to Arizona 1070 as the reason that state lost “over $253 billion” in tourist dollars and lawsuit challenges.

“At a time when most Coloradans are concerned about jobs and the economy, it is mind boggling that a handful of Colorado Senators would pursue the same divisive legislation that has cost the state of Arizona millions,” said Ross to the press.


Blogcritics Politics

Colorado SB 11-054

Color Lines

8 USC 1201: Issuance of Visas

Why Colorado doesn’t want an SB 1070 (Warning: Possible adult language in Spanish)

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