Republican state lawmakers want crackdown on illegal immigration
October 30, 2007
DENVER ” Republican state lawmakers unveiled a package of bills they plan to introduce next year on illegal immigration, including a proposal to deny bail in felony and drunk-driving cases involving people in the country illegally.
Another proposal would improve the integrity of Colorado’s voting system, party officials said.
“Illegal immigration is a federal problem, but when it affects public safety it is a problem that we all have a responsibility to address,” said House Republican Leader Mike May, R-Parker.
A bill by Rep. Frank McNulty, R-Highlands Ranch, would require proof of citizenship to vote. A measure by Rep. Ken Summers, R-Lakewood, would require photo identification to vote.
“You are required to present your driver’s license when you fly, when you pay with a credit card, when you purchase alcohol, but not when you vote: That’s a problem we intend to fix,” Summers said.
Another measure would require detention facilities to determine immigration status of all detainees.
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Democrats said they have already dealt with the issue, passing a series of laws during a special session last year, including one designed to force 1 million people receiving state and federal benefits to prove they are legal U.S. residents.
“Until the federal government acts to find a meaningful solution, we can pass immigration until we’re blue in the face,” said Sen. Peter Groff, D-Denver. “Now is not the time to scrape for partisan wedge issues here in Colorado, when the problem lies with the federal government.”
Republicans, who are outnumbered 40-25 in the House and 20-15 in the Senate, said the state can’t wait for the federal government to act.
“Congress is just sitting on its hands, and even here in Colorado, some special interests keep pushing back at the modest progress we’ve made on immigration reform,” said Senate Republican leader Andy McElhany, R-Colorado Springs.