Repeal of immigrant check advances

DENVER — A bill to repeal a 2006 statute requiring law enforcement in Colorado to report to federal authorities people they’ve arrested who they suspect are in the U.S. without permission has one more step before reaching the governor.

Supporters of the HB1258, which won preliminary approval in the Colorado Senate on Friday, say the law has led to too many instances of racial profiling since it was enacted, and has even led to the detention of American citizens.

Besides, the law no longer is necessary because every county in the state now is tied into a new federal computer databases that automatically checks and reports the residency status of those arrested for crimes.

“The folks in law enforcement, the folks in the domestic violence community, and also in the immigrant-rights community, warned us that these type of consequences could happen,” Senate Majority Leader Morgan Carroll, D-Denver, said of the 2006 law, referring to racial profiling. “What’s happened in the real world since then is the only way someone can develop probable cause (to arrest a suspect) ... they’re going to look at someone they’re having contact with and they are going to make a judgment about whether someone looks like they may or may not be lawfully in this country.”

While several Republican senators agreed that the 2006 law had created some problems, some were concerned about removing it entirely.

Sen. Kevin Lundberg, R-Berthoud, said the 2006 law, which was enacted during a special session to deal with illegal immigration issues, not only was designed to capture and help deport those people who are in the state without permission, but also to prevent cities from intentionally shielding them from federal immigration laws.

Lundberg said several Colorado cities have such “sanctuary city” policies, and wanted to amend the bill to retain that portion of the law.

“There are some points to Senate Bill 90 (the 2006 law) that have not been functioning very well,” Lundberg said. “But some jurisdictions within Colorado were simply ignoring the law in many ways, and were creating this ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ jurisdiction when it came to illegal immigration.”

Lundberg attempted to amend the bill that he called a fair compromise to the matter to include language requiring law enforcement to cooperate with federal immigration officials.

He said such language would prevent communities from enacting policies that did the opposite when it came to immigration matters.

Democrats, however rejected the idea.

The bill requires a final Senate vote, which could come as early as Monday. If approved, it heads to Gov. John Hickenlooper for his veto or signature.

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