Colorado Immigration Issues Take Center Stage This Week


Immigration issues are set to take center stage in Colorado this week, as state and local governments weigh in on several controversial national issues.

On Monday, a coalition of Republican state lawmakers called the Republican Study Committee will discuss the introduction of an immigration bill that closely mirrors Arizona's controversial SB-1070, which makes failure to carry immigration documents a crime, and broadens the authority of police to detain anyone suspected of being in the country illegally.

First reported by the Colorado Independent last week, Republican efforts to push an Arizona-style immigration measure come despite widespread acknowledgment that a bill is unlikely to pass through the Democrat-controlled State Senate.

State Senator Kent Lambert also admitted to that the bill would likely spark a lawsuit if it passed. "The issue is not to try and write a bill in such a way that you can avoid litigation. It will be litigated one way or the other," Lambert told the Independent.

Lambert says the bill will be ready for introduction when the legislative session opens in January.

Meanwhile, the Denver Daily News reports that the Denver City Council is set to vote Monday on a resolution that would support of the federal Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act.

The DREAM act, currently being debated in Congress, would provide conditional residency status to certain immigrant students who complete military service of two years of higher education.

The legislation, which has drawn criticism from illegal immigration opponents like Tom Tancredo, is likely to be voted on within the next several weeks.

Outgoing Governor Bill Ritter is also being praised by immigrants' rights advocates for his stance on the Secure Communities agreement, a controversial federal program aimed at coordinating Homeland Security and Justice Department information to determine whether people arrested for serious crimes are subject to deportation.

Immigrant Rights Groups have been critical of Secure Communities, arguing that the measure would cause immigrants to be reluctant to report crimes for fear they may be deported.

Before entering Colorado in the agreement, Ritter has insisted that the Federal Government provide data on the effectiveness of the program as part of the deal.

Work on the deal could extend past Ritter's term. Governor-Elect John Hickenlooper says he supports the Secure Communities agreement in principle, but would honor the work that Ritter has put into the negitiations before taking a definitive stand on the issue.

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