Monday, February 14, 2011

Colorado Must Say No to Arizona Copycat Laws

While HB-1107 is Postponed, Other Copycat Bills Still Jeopardize Colorado's Economy and Tourism Industry

Denver, CO – Today, dozens of groups, representing thousands of Coloradans staged a rally and press conference on the west steps of the state Capitol, in order to show that they will not stand by as Colorado tries to implement Arizona’s failed immigration policy. Seven anti-immigrant bills have been introduced in the Colorado legislature this session, and while one of the anti-immigrant Arizona copycat bills in the Colorado legislature, HB-1107, was postponed indefinitely, there are 6 more that will be debated this week.

“ We are hoping that the Colorado Legislature decides to focus on growing the economy, rather than creating an atmosphere of fear and mistrust among immigrants and tourists alike. These bills would create another costly, unconstitutional, and unnecessary enforcement structure in place of real immigration policy.” Said Hans Meyer, Policy Director for the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, “ Colorado is not Arizona, and we do not want to bear the costs that they have shouldered since implementing their law. Their projected loss is approaching 250 million over the next year, and that’s not to mention the black eye to their reputation.”

Arizona has lost 40 concerts and conventions in the first 4 months of the law being enacted, with over 400 musicians refusing to play in the state since then, costing them millions in tax revenue and jobs.

Recently, Colorado Ski Country USA, an association of 22 ski resorts, came out in opposition to Arizona copycat bills in Colorado, citing the fact that tourists from Brazil and Mexico are the top visitors to Colorado resorts.[1]

Other business, legal, and law enforcement associations, including the Colorado Hispanic Bar and the Colorado Chiefs of Police, have expressed serious doubts about the need for an Arizona style law in Colorado.

“ We are happy to see such a broad coalition come together to stand against these ridiculous laws,” commented Ricardo Perez, President of the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition and Executive Director of the Hispanic Affairs Project in Montrose, Colorado, “ The groups fighting these laws represent thousands of Coloradans who are tired of constant immigration wars, and want the government to focus on building a strong, welcoming, and thriving Colorado. We should seek rational and humane policies that promote community policing and respect the constitutional rights and dignity of all people, instead of laws that harm state budgets and damage business and tourism revenue.”

Related copycat legislation, including a bill requiring mandatory e-verify for all nongovernmental employers will be heard next week. Such laws have wreaked havoc on businesses in Arizona and, as with HB-1107, they should be tabled for good. CIRC member groups across the State have already collected hundreds of pledges saying: “ Yes to a Strong Colorado! No to Arizona Copycat Laws”; the plan is to get to 10,000 in the next month.