Learning From Colorado
Last summer, Colorado lawmakers passed some of the toughest immigration laws in the country.
As a result, legal residents have reported problems when trying to apply for driver’s licenses and social services, farmers are looking at prison labor to work their fields, and concerns are being raised over unintended consequences like racial profiling.
Now with federal immigration reform on the horizon, is Congress about to make the same mistakes?The Los Angeles-based Center for Human Rights & Constitutional Law seems to think so.
According to a recent report, a House bill aimed at fixing immigration would criminalize undocumented immigrants, encourage racial profiling, and impact low-income workers.
The measure in question is called the STRIVE ACT, or the Security Through Regularized Immigration and a Vibrant Economy Act of 2007.
Today’ s Denver Post alludes to the bill, which is being sponsored by Reps. Luis Gutierrez, a Democrat from Illinois, and Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican.
Colorado Rep. John Salazar, who spoke with local immigration activists just a few weeks ago in Washington D.C., is also one of the co-sponsors of the proposal.
Tidbits from the report:
Granting immigration enforcement authority to state and local police will invite racial profiling, unquestionably increase immigrants’ fear of local police and reluctance to report crimes, and divert local law enforcement agencies from addressing more serious and violent crimes.
One part that is not included in Colorado law, is the creation of a temporary worker program, which the report concludes is more favorable to businesses rather than worker’s rights:
The proposed bill does not require that the labor certification process be strengthened so that certifications are issued only when there is a demonstrated shortage of labor to fill temporary jobs.
The bill is set to be heard by the House Judiciary and Homeland Security committees.
With immigration reform listed as a top priority by the U.S. Senate and legislation that is set to reportedly be done by the summer, the entire country could be put in the same situation as Colorado.
Only this time, it won’t be limited to state lines.
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