State’s GOP candidates back immigration law

The Arizona immigration law that is raising hackles or hopes, depending on the side of the immigration divide, is winning support from one Republican running for governor and three Republicans wanting to serve in Washington, D.C.

Scott McInnis, the Grand Junction Republican running for governor, drew the ire of immigrant-rights groups when he said he would support a similar law in Colorado.

McInnis supports the concept and “certainly would put an end to the notion of sanctuary cities such as Denver,” according to his spokesman, Sean Duffy. “But, in Scott’s view, there isn’t much ambiguity in the word ‘illegal,’ and that’s why he’s also for workplace verification of the status of potential employees.”

The Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition said McInnis’ position was “abhorrent” and said 20 percent of his electorate was Latino, thus “in line to be profiled by the Arizona law if they go one state over.”

Denver Mayor and Democratic candidate for governor John Hickenlooper called the Arizona law “troubling” and called for a “nonpartisan approach to solve the problem for the entire country and enforceable reform that doesn’t abridge the basic freedom of our citizens.”

Fears of profiling are unfounded, said Ken Buck, the Weld County district attorney who is running for the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate.

When a Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement office opened in Greeley, there were similar fears of police overreach,  Buck said.

“It just didn’t work out that way,” Buck said. “We have police officers who know how to build reasonable suspicion and probable cause, and they will do that appropriately.”

The Arizona statute “is a workable law,” Buck said.

Jane Norton, a Grand Junction native seeking the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate, said she would “stand up for the right of states like Arizona to protect citizens from illegal immigration” and oppose establishing a path to citizenship for people illegally in the country.

Bob McConnell, a Steamboat Springs Republican and one-time attorney who is seeking the 3rd Congressional District nomination, said the law was a “needed, excellent first step. It seems to me to be very carefully crafted and very reasonable and appropriate to what it does. It ought to be a model for federal government to follow.”

Besides, McConnell said, any measure that has been criticized by President Obama, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, activist Al Sharpton and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., “must be pretty good.”


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