Lawmaker blasts sheriff over immigration booklet
August 11, 2008
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. ” Republican state lawmaker Doug Bruce blasted the El Paso County Sheriff’s office last week for booklets that Bruce said told suspected illegal immigrants how to avoid law enforcement officers.
Bruce told county commissioners the booklets undermine the local government’s stated support for immigration enforcement, but Sheriff Terry Maketa said Bruce’s allegations were false.
One of the booklets Bruce referred to had the headline: “Warning! Protect yourself from immigration raids.”
Bruce said commissioners should prohibit staff and county government funds from being used to distribute such information.
The literature produced by the American Friends Service Committee was distributed at a monthly meeting of the sheriff’s victim advocate program. The booklet tells immigrants of their right to speak to a lawyer and their country’s consulate if they are stopped by law enforcement.
“It’s a blatant lie that this was sponsored or endorsed by us,” Maketa said. “The material was not discussed at all. It was just in a packet that was handed out.”
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Maketa said his office does not have time to review all the materials handed out by outside groups during victim advocate’s meetings and training.
Earlier this year, Bruce was criticized by fellow lawmakers and Hispanic groups for remarks he made on the House floor referring to migrant workers as “illiterate peasants” during a debate about a bill to help Mexican immigrants get temporary visas to work on Colorado farms.