Colorado Springs paper blasts GOP for proposing Arizona-style immigration law

The Colorado Springs Gazette this week came out with an editorial strongly opposing Arizona-style immigration reform.

Republicans may be off to a horrible start. At a meeting of the Colorado Republican Study Committee in Denver on Monday, Sen.-elect Kent Lambert, R-Colorado Springs, announced his plan to kick off the session in January with an immigration law like Arizona’s SB1070. It’s a proposal for big-government control. It would burden taxpayers while stifling production and trade. It is a bad idea on too many counts to enumerate.

State Rep. Kent Lambert, R-Colorado Springs. (Photo/Bob Spencer, The Colorado Independent)

Contrary to the Gazette’s report, Lambert actually announced his plans to The Colorado Independent a week ago.

The Gazette continued:

Our economy needs help. That means we need more trade and production of goods, services and commodities — not less. We cannot fix the economy by impeding the creation of wealth. We do not magically wind up with more production of goods, services and commodities by policing the residential status of professionals and workers with brown skin and broken English who help provide goods, services, commodities and trade. We do not enable prosperity by paying to incarcerate workers, at huge taxpayer expense, for the noncriminal infraction of lacking permission to reside here. We do not facilitate production and trade by placing the mothers and fathers of children in jail because of a suspected civil dispute with the federal government. Sure, immigration is a mess. But the solution will be increased quotas, enhanced border control and other reasonable federal reforms that favor prosperity and order.

When reached by telephone today, Lambert laughed when asked what he thought of the editorial.

He pointed to what he called the “20 pages of comments” the editorial has inspired, and noted that the vast majority were in agreement with him and not with the newspaper’s editorial. “I’ll let the readers who commented speak for themselves,” he said. “The people overwhelming disagree with the Gazette.”

Contrary to the editorial, which argued that an Arizona-type bill would be disastrous for the state’s economy, Lambert said reform is needed so that those businesses who refuse to hire undocumented workers have a level playing field.

“I also want to reduce taxes and help create a better business climate in Colorado,” Lambert said. “I don’t think immigration enforcement is contrary to that.”

The editorial concludes:

The Arizona law is a legislated economic boondoggle. A study by Arizona-based Elliott D. Pollack & Co. found that Arizona has lost $141 million just from the meetings and conventions that went elsewhere, so far, to protest SB1070. During the next two to three years, canceled conventions may cost the state $253 million in economic output and will negatively affect 2,800 jobs. The report estimates the law will cost Arizona $86 million in lost wages over the next two to three years. That will put more workers on state aid, adding to the cost of the law. It is legislated poverty, all about creating expense while reducing production, consumption and trade.

The tangible losses pertaining to meetings and conventions don’t include the loss of leisure tourists, the costs of soured trade relations and the costs of enforcing the new law. Don’t be surprised if Arizonans soon tire of paying for poverty politics and demand a repeal of SB1070.

It’s even worse to propose this law in Colorado. We aren’t overwhelmed with immigration problems, and the voters have spoken. If immigration concerns were paramount, we would have elected Tancredo as governor.

Reports from PBS and other left-leaning media organizations show credible direct links between the passage of SB1070 and private prison corporations. Benson, Ariz., City Manager Glenn Nichols told PBS that two men tried to sell him on hosting a private prison for illegal immigrants before SB1070 became news. How would they fill it? By getting the Legislature to pass a tough new immigration law.

Activist media organizations are hard to trust, but the tie-in to private prisons makes sense. If true, the Arizona immigration law is a government redistribution scheme designed to take money from ordinary taxpayers and channel it to powerful special interests that fund politicians.

Arizona’s immigration mistake is costly and senseless. It’s a ticket to poverty, at a time when politicians should obsess about allowing prosperity. It’s the least conservative idea a Republican could pitch.

Lambert’s final thoughts?

“I am undaunted,” he said.

Links from within the editorial were added by The Colorado Independent.

Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.

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