OPINION: Colorado Reverses Harsh, Anti-immigrant Policy
Julien Ross | 4/29/13

With Gov. John Hickenlooper’s signature on Friday, April 26 on the “Community and Law Enforcement Trust Act,” Colorado is the first state in the country to repeal a law hostile to immigrants.

In 2006 Colorado, along with South Carolina, became one of the first states in the nation to pass controversial “show me your papers” legislation. Colorado’s SB-90 required police to report people suspected to be undocumented to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at the time of arrest. SB-90 was a testing ground that gave way to controversial laws like Arizona’s SB 1070 and its copycats.
 
“A diverse, bipartisan coalition came together to repeal what was a harsh, anti-immigrant law,” said Bob Norris of El Comité de Longmont. The Community and Law Enforcement Trust Act — supported by The County Sheriffs of Colorado, the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police, Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, the Colorado Municipal League and others — will repeal Colorado’s SB-90 in its entirety.
 
“In Colorado we have lived through the effects of extreme enforcement measures that undermine the trust necessary for police to effectively do their jobs,” said Rebecca Vasquez, steering committee member of the Campaign to Unite Colorado. “Repealing SB-90 is an important first step towards restoring trust. When our communities engage and tell our stories we can create positive change. We want thank the state legislators, the Governor, and key allies that have helped us to set an example for the country that “show me your papers” laws are not the solution to our broken immigration system.”
 
With changing demographics and increasing civic participation from Latino, Asian, and immigrant communities across Colorado, the advocacy of diverse communities is making an impact.
 
"As immigrants become more and more involved in our civic life, they are having a greater impact on elections and legislation and they are voting for politicians that support issues that are important to them," said Miriam Peña, executive director with the Colorado Progressive Coalition. "This bipartisan vote on the Trust Act tells me the growing influence of Latino and Asian immigrants is changing the political dynamic in Colorado."
 
"Colorado has taken an important step toward restoring trust and dignity," said Julien Ross, executive director of the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, "However, federal programs like Secure Communities continue to force local police collaboration with immigration enforcement.  Our coalition will continue to vigorously monitor Secure Communities now that SB-90 has been repealed. We also call upon the Obama administration to halt deportations and continue to work with Congress to pass fair, common sense immigration reform."
 
The Campaign to Unite Colorado is a diverse coalition of member organizations from across Colorado. We believe that every person in Colorado deserves to live and raise their family with trust, dignity and safety in their community and we are committed to working with public safety agencies and other stakeholders to ensure that Colorado reflects those fundamental values.

 
   

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