by Chet Hardin
With the signature of Gov. John Hickenlooper on HB 1258, Colorado has overturned the 2006 law, SB-90, that instituted myriad law-enforcement requirements intended to make it life harder for illegal immigrants.
We wrote about SB 90 when it was signed into law.
But on the day of the protests, Gov. Bill Owens signed into law the first in a series of piercing immigration bills, several of which give powerful tools to local law enforcement. One bill which some touted as the country's toughest against illegal immigration effectively bars people without papers from getting government benefits. Another allows the Colorado State Patrol to act like federal agents, in part by bringing undocumented people to the state's main detention center in Aurora. And finally there's Senate Bill 90, also known as the "anti-sanctuary bill," which compels peace officers to report arrested undocumented immigrants to the feds.
According to the press release from Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition:
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.”
While El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa opposed HB 1258, Arapahoe County Grayson Robinson testified in favor of the legislation. As Robinson told us:
[HB 1258] simply eliminates a "duplicative and an unnecessary cost."
As he points out, Colorado sheriffs participate in Secure Communities, a federal program that checks a person's status automatically when he or she is booked into jail. Secure Communities is superior to the 2006 law for a number of reasons, he says, including the elimination of "concerns or allegations of bias-based policing."