This week, the Colorado State Legislature passed 13 bills, of 42 proposed, in both the State House and State Senate. These bills all await final action from Governor Bill Owens.

12 of the 13 bills passed involve illegal immigration.

From the Colorado Municipal League’s July 11th alert, summarizing two of the bills impacting local governments the most: (emphasis mine)

Note that HB 1009 will not go into effect until January 1, 2007, but HB 1023 will go into effect on August 1, 2006.

HB 1009: requires that a governmental entity only issue a license, permit, certificate or other authorization to conduct business (professional or commercial license) to a person who is lawfully present in the United States. A governmental entity must deny any such authorization (or renewal thereof) upon determining that the person is unlawfully present in the United States. The person must prove his or her identity with a secure and verifiable document.

HB 1023: requires each agency or political subdivision of the state to verify the lawful presence in the United States of each person 18 years of age or older who applies for state or local public benefits or for federal public benefits (this does not apply to an applicant who is making the application for the benefit of a person under the age of 18).

“State or local public benefits” include:

*any grant, contract or loan, professional license, or commercial license provided by an agency of a state or local government or by appropriated funds of a state or local government, and

*any retirement, welfare, health, disability, public or assisted housing, postsecondary education, food assistance, unemployment benefit, or any other similar benefit for which payments or assistance are provided to an individual, household or family eligibility unit by an agency or a State or local government or by appropriated funds of a State or local government.

“Federal public benefits” include:

*any grant, contract, loan, professional license, or commercial license provided by an agency of the United States or by appropriated funds of the United States; and

*any retirement, welfare, health, disability, public or assisted housing, postsecondary education, food assistance, unemployment benefit, or

*any other similar benefit for which payments or assistance are provided to an individual, household, or family eligibility unit by an agency of the United States or by appropriated funds of the United States.

Agencies and political subdivisions are not required to verify lawful presence in the United States for the following:

*for any purpose for which lawful presence in the United States is not required by law, ordinance or rule;

*for obtaining health care items and services that are necessary for the treatment of an emergency medical condition of the person involved and are not related to an organ transplant procedure;

*for short-term, noncash, in-kind emergency disaster relief;

*for public health assistance for immunizations with respect to immunizable diseases and for testing and treatment of symptoms of communicable diseases whether or not such symptoms are caused by a communicable disease;

*for certain programs, services, or assistance, such as soup kitchens, crisis counseling and intervention, and short term shelter specified by federal law or regulation; or

*for prenatal care.

An agency or political subdivision must verify the lawful presence in the United States of applicants for federal or state or local public benefits by requiring the applicant to

(a) execute an affidavit stating that he or she is a United States citizen or legal permanent resident or that he or she is otherwise lawfully present in the United States pursuant to federal law, and

(b) produce the following:

*a valid Colorado driver’s license or a Colorado ID card; or

*a US military card or a military dependent’s ID card; or

*a US coast guard merchant mariner card; or a native American tribal document.

Agencies and political subdivisions are also required to verify lawful presence through the federal systematic alien verification of entitlement program (the “SAVE” program) operated by the United States Department of Homeland Security, but the affidavit may be presumed to be proof of lawful presence until such verification can be made.

The bill allows agencies or political subdivisions to adopt variations of the affidavit requirements to improve efficiency or reduce delay in the verification process, so long as the variations are no less stringent than the requirements of the bill

In other words, the grant dollars my City’s office awards out cannot be used to provide services to -pick the term most in keeping with your views-

persons unlawfully in the U.S./illegal immigrants/undocumented residents.
AKA “those people.”

Oh, but wait, there are some services they can still access. They cannot be refused treatment for communicable diseases, which makes sense, lest there be an influx in CD’s. They cannot be declined shelter, soup kitchen, crisis intervention, or emergency health care – which is horribly ironic, because without educational, crisis preventive programs, those are the only types of services undocumented immigrants will be seeking. I know that there are only a certain amount of resources to go around, and that the legislature passed these thinking it would be a more cost effective and equitable way for the poor of the U.S. citizenry to receive the benefits available; but it’ll be interesting to see just how cost effective (or not) the enforcement of the new laws will be.
Other bills passed include the following:

HB 1001: Limits state economic development incentives to employers who do not employ employees who are not lawfully present in Colorado. Encourages local governments that participate in economic development incentive programs to develop standards to ensure that all employers who are awarded economic development incentives employ only United States citizens or people who are lawfully present in the United States and have authority to work.

HB 1002: Clarifies that provision of health services for communicable diseases (including AIDS) are available to all regardless of immigration status.
HB1014: Authorizes the Colorado Attorney General to pursue available remedies to recover reimbursement from the federal government for costs incurred by the state in dealing with illegal immigration. (Hah! Fat chance!)
HB 1015: Requires increased income tax withholdings for employees who fail to provide a validated social security number or tax identification number.
HB 1017: Requires an employer, for each newly hired employee, to affirm
(a) that the employer has examined the legal status of the newly hired employee and retained file copies of documents examined,
(b) that the employer has not altered or falsified the employee’s ID documents and
(c) that the employer has not knowingly hired an unauthorized alien. Requires the employer to keep a written or electronic copy of the affirmation.
HB 1020: Refers a question to the voters asking to eliminate a state income tax benefit for businesses that pay an unauthorized alien to perform services. Also prohibits certain wages or remuneration paid to an unauthorized alien from being claimed as a deductible business expense for state income tax liability purposes.
HB 1022: Refers a question to the voters asking if the Colorado Attorney General should initiate or join other states in a lawsuit against the United States Attorney General to demand the enforcement of all existing federal immigration laws by the federal government. (Gee, wouldn’t this be nice – but how enforceable/reasonable is it to demand payment/enforcement from the feds when 1: we have a deficit that’s SKY HIGH, and 2:Federal gov’t is unable?/unwilling? to enforce their immigration laws)
SB 4: Prohibits the extortion of immigrants. (Man – I’d support this if a word was swapped with “extortion” – that being “exploitation.” But as written, it appears those sneaking immigrants in is now illegal…wait, wasn’t it before?)
SB 5: Prohibits the coercion of involuntary servitude by threatening immigrants. (I can support this one!)
SB 7: Creates a felony offense for any person who votes in any election knowing that the person is not entitled to vote in such election. (I also support this one. Election officials should be so much more above that, and in harmony with our Constitution – which says, if you don’t know, that voting is exclusive to CITIZENS of the US….DUH!)

I dunno….some of this new law hurts me to see, because I am a Christian – a citizen of Heaven, called to love my neighbors – some of whom are from a different country, hurting in a corrupt nation and merely trying to make a better life here, FIRST.

A citizen of the US, SECOND. I am called to be IN this world but not OF, AMEN?

Now, I know folks like the ACLU would not let that logical, spiritual rhetoric fly, but what about our Christian forefathers, who truly were American citizens for Civil Liberties? What about my Christian contemporaries?

Have we got it wrong somehow?

And what about the fact that out of all of this, the children of undocumented residents get hurt the most? They didn’t ask their parents to come over, for good or bad intentions, illegally.

What about those people of Hispanic descent who have been in the US for years, generations even, legally, and just as much a citizen as white bred, red headed step-children like me? A recent letter to the editor in my paper illustrates just how much hatred and division is being focused toward them. Methinks the civil rights movement is reborn, with Hispanic/Latino being the new Black.

And I don’t like it…not one bit!

Grrr….I’ve got to think on this one for awhile…

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