Colorado GOP Rushes To Judgment On Immigrants, Seeks Fame
The Colorado GOP held hearings on “illegal immigration" in the old Colorado Supreme Court chambers Monday, November 29th, 2010. Unlike the esteemed Court, which struggles with issues of conscience, the GOP rushed to take harsh action against undocumented workers in Colorado.
Lambert (right) confers with colleague.
The title of the hearings was a harbinger of the tone to be set.
“Illegal Immigration Hearings” the Republican Study Committee Of Colorado announced on their web page.
The label “illegal” is inaccurate and offensive to undocumented workers. Those who cross the border without inspection have broken a law. However, after crossing, they are in administrative violation of immigration law, not criminal. The crime was committed on the border, not in Colorado. The term “illegal” suggests they are “criminals.” The term is used to marginalize those who risked their lives to come here out of necessity.
Rather than rolling up their sleeves and looking for solutions, the GOP devoted the hearing to pelting immigrants through a series of speakers who denounced the evils of immigrant employment, the costs of caring for the extreme poor, and crime and gangs. There was no balance in the presentations concerning the contributions undocumented workers make in Colorado, including contributing to the sales tax base, the housing market or the work they do in keeping the tourist and ranching industries alive.
For example, Captain Jaime Kafati, who grew up in El Salvador, gave a presentation on the Mara Salvatrucha gang from El Salvador. After showing slides of decapitated bodies, Kafati attempted to make a connection between undocumented workers and the dreaded Mara. He also suggested an Al Qaeda tie. Kafati’s propaganda was designed to infer undocumented workers are all gang members and terrorists, a conclusion only Lambert seemed to buy. The reality is, few Colorado immigrants are from El Salvador or in gangs. Many have been victims of vicious gangs,though, including MS-13.
El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa made an impassioned appeal to adopt the Secure Communities program, a massive melding of computers from the Border Patrol, the FBI, ICE and local law enforcement. Maketa admitted ICE showed little interest in picking up the majority of prisoners he reports to them now. Further, he said, there were sure to be errors and abuse, but guaranteed the police would police themselves and remedy abuses as they occurred.Continued on the next page