Colorado Confidential caught up with Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Bill Ritter, when he visited the Rifle/Glenwood Springs area recently. Our subject was immigration and Ritter’s legal background.Q: What is your record for convictions as Denver’s D.A.?
A: We had over 38,000 cases and 12,000 perpetrators were sent to prison. The 150 cases that the negative Beauprez ads are targeting represent a very small percentage of plea bargain cases.
Q: What about the cases involving undocumented workers?
A: Even before the special summer session, Colorado had tough immigration laws. The problem lies with the federal government and Congress. Congress, where my opponent has served, has not made the guest visa program viable. You can’t simply put 12 million people in jail for immigrating to America. Nor has Congress properly funded federal programs to prevent border crossing. You can call the Feds to pick up undocumented immigrants, but they usually don’t respond because they don’t have the resources.”
Q: If you could have thrown everyone in the Denver jail that Bob Beauprez, your Republican opponent accuses you from failing to do, how many more prisons would it take to hold them?
A: At least five more. That’s why you have to plea bargain most cases. The cost of building prisons and caring for those prisoners would be cost prohibitive to taxpayers and totally impracticable.
Q: In Beauprez’s closing comments at the energy debate in Rifle, he slammed you about these 150 special plea bargain cases with undocumented perpetrators. Most felt it was a “low blow” because you could not respond. How would have you countered his attack?
A: I’ll go toe to toe with Beauprez on public safety anytime. I have had a professional life working in the trenches with law enforcement. There are subjects about immigration that Beauprez hasn’t touched-like what would happen to tourism, construction, and other services if it wasn’t for immigrants working in these low paying jobs? It’s politically convenient to attack illegal immigrants right now, but there have been no achievable solutions offered, especially by Congress where Beauprez has served the past four years.
Photo: Bill Ritter answers questions while in Glenwood Springs. By Leslie Robinson.