Arizona immigration copy cat laid over until Monday; more bills in the docket

An Arizona copy cat bill Wednesday was given a brief reprieve when it was laid over until Monday in committee. While the sponsor of the legislation called for HB 1107 to be killed in light of considerable constitutional concerns, the bill’s predicted death does not seal the tomb of immigration legislation this session.

A host of immigration rights advocates congregated outside of a house committee room yesterday hoping for the opportunity to speak to HB 1107. While those hopes were dashed when the decision came out that the bill was to be laid-over until Monday, many acknowledged that even if the bill does die, as sponsor Randy Baumgardner, R-Hot Sulphur Springs,  has said it will , they would have numerous opportunities to speak to the subject throughout the session.

Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition Director of Communications Alan Kaplan explained that his group still planned to come out in protest of not only 1107 but  SB 54, which gives police the power to arrest suspected illegal immigrants. His group also plans to stage a rally in upcoming days.

Other groups such as the Colorado Progressive Coalition and ACLU of Colorado, also present yesterday, have expressed similar concern for bills that appear to create a semblance of HB 1107 through a more piecemeal process including HB 1140 and HB 1188.

HB 1140, designed to “strengthen the enforcement of laws against illegal aliens,” would prohibit counties from not taking part in Immigration and Custom Enforcement’s Secure Communities Program. The program would automatically check fingerprints against ICE records of those contacted by ICE in the past. Those who are suspected of being in the country illegally would be referred automatically both to the arresting agency and ICE. The bill would remove local government funds from those communities who failed to actively participate in the program.

HB 1188 removes current provisions that allow bond agents to retrieve their money from the courts if a person they provide bail to is removed from the country as a result of their immigration status. Arresting law enforcement agencies would be expected to provide their best guess on whether an individual was an illegal immigrant to the bond agent before that agent provided the bond to the individual. The bill’s passage would likely result in a severe reduction in the ability of illegal immigrants to be able to attain bail and may affect those who are in the country legally, including U.S. citizens.

In addition, HB 1149 also should be included in this list of bills marking an emerging Republican legislative platform. HB 1149 requires employers to check documents certifying lawful presence in the U.S. and requires those applying for public assistance to provide their social security card, along with a second form of identification, for inspection.

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Joseph Boven

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