In wide-ranging thoughts on immigration policy delivered over the weekend on a Denver radio station, Colorado gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez said states should enforce federal immigration law themselves, in the absence of federal action, "as Jan Brewer tried to do in Arizona."
The Arizona law, backed by Brewer, allowing police to detain anyone suspected of being an illegal immigrant, was ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. It's widely believed that the law would have led to harassment and discrimination of legal and undocumented immigrants.
Beauprez said that before he'd take immigration matters in his own hands if elected governor, he'd join with other governors and sue the federal government to "secure our borders."
Beauprez made the comments on KOA 850-AM, a Denver radio station, Saturday in response to a question from guest radio host Doug Kellet, who asked Beauprez about the young undocumented immigrants captured recently along the U.S.-Mexico border.
"I was with a group of people the day before yesterday, and several of them were from our southern cities, Pueblo specifically," said Beauprez on air. "And they said, if buses show up, they will be in the streets to block them. I think you are going to see what happened in California start happening everywhere."
Beauprez also said: "It's going to affect all the states out here, and the President is trying to gloss over it and tell us all the wonderful things we're doing as a nation to accept all these people. He doesn't tell us the impact on the people who are already here and are going to pay the bill."
Kellet didn't ask Beauprez if he'd participate in the street protests himself.
On another radio show Sunday, Beauprez outlined an immigration system he'd back.
"We need to secure the border," Beauprez told KVOR guest hosts Ed Jones and Jimmy Bensberg Saturday. "We need a modern, 21st century legal immigration system, where folks that want here can apply for it. They can get an answer in short order. We can get the kind of help we need and enforce the rule of law. So employers have a system, that they can live within the rules. And people know that if somebody is here illegally, they're going to be found and sent home."
The hosts didn't ask Beauprez if he's favor sending all undocumented immigrants currently in the U.S. back to their countries of origin.
Partial transcript of Beauprez's comments on KOA July 5
Kellet: I want to talk to you about immigration, because on this July 4th weekend we have a serious problem on our southwest border, and it certainly could affect Colorado.
Beauprez: It sure can. It's going to affect all the states out here, and the President is trying to gloss over it and tell us all the wonderful things we're doing as a nation to accept all these people. He doesn't tell us the impact on the people who are already here and are going to pay the bill.
Kellet: Well, I keep on wondering what's going to happen here, sir...
Beauprez: I was with a group of people the day before yesterday, and several of them were from our southern cities, Pueblo specifically, and they said, if buses show up, they will be in the streets to block them. I think you are going to see what happened in California start happening everywhere. Governors on behalf of their states are going to have to be very vocal, very strong, and push back on DC.... You have to face the reality that this is going to be another straw on the back that will fiscally impact states in a big way. It will culturally impact states in a big way. When you don't enforce the rule of law, and this is the bottom line, Doug, chaos breaks out. And this is an example of chaos breaking out...Governors ought to be telling the federal government, do your job, secure our borders, stop this kind of action, send these people back home... They are not political refugees. This is just wrong. Governors ought to be, first of all, demanding it, and then secondly, if the federal government doesn't do it, then sue them and get an injunction against the federal government and force them to do their job in court. This is a responsibility of the federal government. And if they won't do it, states ought to be allowed to do it, as Jan Brewer tried to do in Arizona.