Monday, July 17, 2006

July 17, 2006 Immigration


Consider this for July 17, 2006—Immigration

Posturing, pandering, positioning and pontification best describe the special session of the General Assembly that ended late last Monday night in Denver.

When I first heard that the governor was thinking about calling a special session I doubted he would do it. He would have to use up too much political capital. He would have to put too much on the line in asking for a process that may or may not have any viable result.

I was so wrong. Just when I thought he would not pull the trigger, he did.

For a special session the governor must release a call indicating which topics he wants considered for the session. His call included several immigration topics and one concerning common law marriage for children.

Yes, children. The courts had ruled recently that Colorado law allowed 12- year- olds to be part of a common law marriage. You can sleep easy again knowing that we changed the law to reflect that you must be at least 18 to enter into a common law marriage.

Back to immigration.

The governor was most upset about the court ruling that a ballot question contained two subjects: Should we restrict immigration and how should we pay for those restrictions?

The governor wanted the legislature to put the issue on the ballot this fall. The governor’s request failed but a statutory law affecting the same thing did pass.

There will also be two ballot issues this fall on immigration. We will all be able to cast our votes. One will authorize the State of Colorado to sue the federal government for not enforcing immigration laws. The second will create a penalty for hiring undocumented workers.

It was a way of getting legislators to commit to a position on immigration at a cost of at least $15,000 a day of your money. I personally believe that the actual costs are much greater than are being reported.

In my opinion every issue is already covered under state and federal law. The real issue is enforcement. We have more than enough laws; we just don’t have enforcement.

If we are going to demand enforcement then gives the authorities the resources, the money, and let them do their jobs. They are more than willing and able to enforce existing laws without creating new laws.

The proponents of some new laws are in favor of these new programs to deal with the problem while, at the same time, they support less government and fewer taxes. They need to make up their collective mind. (sic)

No one has been able to describe services that foreign workers are receiving or how much it is costing if they are getting any services.

Everyone needs to consider the following concerning foreign workers:

They pay property tax that pays for schools through their rent.

They pay for state services though their sales tax.

They pay for roads through their HUTF (Highway Users Tax Fund) gas tax

They do not get free medical care.

There are 250,000 undocumented foreign workers in Colorado. If we arrested all of them we would not have anywhere to incarcerate them.

If they are put in the county jail local county property tax would pay the bill. The state and federal governments do not reimburse counties for jail costs.

According to the General Accounting Office, 40% of all undocumented foreign workers are not from Mexico. That is almost half.

The prenatal care they receive is for an unborn child who will be a United States citizen. Who would deny prenatal health care to an unborn American citizen? Or for that matter any unborn child regardless of their citizenship?

Some legislators complain that the majority does rule and they do not agree with the majority. When their pet issues are defeated at the polls they complain that the voters are stupid. Not that they could ever be stupid themselves for making a comment like that.

Some legislators do not believe in our form of government and reject the opinion of the State Supreme Court because they do not agree with their position. The same legislators feel the federal government is completely incompetent and should be abolished. I think that some states tried that back in the 19th century. We had a war over it and they lost. I am sure there are countries which would welcome them with open arms. Can you spell posse comititus?

Putting matters to a statewide vote of the people is a very poor way of governing. Elected officials are charged with making decisions. If you disagree with the elected officials then vote them out of office.

One member even went to the microphone to comment that all the crime was being committed by Mexicans coming north and joining gangs. He was booed off the floor and referred to as being racist.

There should be a sign at the lectern in the well on the floor of the Colorado House of Representatives that says, “Nothing but nothing you say at this microphone, at this lectern, will ever, ever change the mind of one person in this room. Be under notice that anything you say is only for your own edification and has no meaning to anyone else. You are wasting your own time and everyone else’s time.”

There is strict protocol at the Capitol. One must refer to someone else as “Senator so and so” or “Representative so and so”. Shortly after beginning my first term over two years ago the staff, my peers and the other legislators began calling me “Gary.” I felt that was an honor. It meant that everyone considered me a real person and not just a legislator.

They call this place the people’s house. Many have forgotten that during this special session. The people includes everyone, even those you may not like.

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