GOP leaders urged to pass immigration bill

The pressure is on Colorado’s congressional delegation to pass the immigration reform measure approved by the U.S. Senate late last month.

That pressure is focused primarily on the Republican members of the delegation, including U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, who represents Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District that includes the Western Slope.

The bill creates a path for citizenship over 13 years for the estimated 11 million people who are living in the nation without proper residency documents.

At the same time, though, it provides for a beefed-up border security system, including nearly doubling the 20,000 U.S. Border Patrol officers and completing the 700-mile fence along the nation’s southern border.

The bill, estimated by the Congressional Budget Office to help shrink the federal deficit by about $900 billion, also requires businesses to use the federal E-Verify system to ensure they hire only legal workers.

As a result, it passed the Senate with support from all 54 Democrats and 14 Republicans.

Now, left- and right-leaning groups supporting the measure are calling on the GOP-controlled House to follow suit.

“The Latino population is growing exponentially in Colorado and we want to be part of civic life,” said Olivia Mendoza, executive director of the Denver-based Colorado Latino Leadership. “Since we are registering to vote in record numbers, we hope that Colorado’s elected officials take notice and listen to our call for immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship.”

Over the past week, several groups have held demonstrations in front of the offices of Tipton and Republican U.S. Reps. Mike Coffman, Doug Lamborn and Cory Gardner. The two Democrats in the state’s delegation, U.S. Reps. Diana DeGette and Jared Polis, have already announced their support for the bill.

Tipton has not yet weighed in.

Supporters range from business groups such as the Partnership for a New American Economy to the left-leaning Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition. Several conservatives around the nation, including Grover Norquist and his Americans for Tax Reform, have hailed the measure.

A 50-state study shows the economic impact immigrants have on each state. In Colorado, it shows that the estimated 495,000 immigrants here, primarily from Mexico, South Korea and Germany, have an annual impact of about $5.5 billion.

Though left-leaning, a recent Public Policy Polling poll shows that 73 percent of Coloradans somewhat or strongly support the Senate bill.

Despite that support, some don’t like the measure.

Former GOP congressman Tom Tancredo, who’s launched another bid for Colorado governor, strongly opposes it.

“I was thinking this morning about this incremental retreat by the GOP establishment on immigration,” Tancredo recently posted on his Facebook page. “They went from enforcement only, to enforcement first, to enforcement later, to enforcement never.”


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