Reporters should clarify that Coffman is not supportive of citizenship path via college

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

UPDATE 3/9/24: Associated Press reporter Nick Riccardi sent me a couple tweets, offering additional information about his interview with Coffman referenced in the blog post below:

Nick Riccardi: @BigMediaBlog FYI in his interview Coffman expressed hope that his military bill would be joined to a broader DREAM type bill.

Jason Salzman: @NickRiccardi Thanks very much. Did he say that he now supports a path to citizenship via college for undocumented young people?

Nick Riccardi: @BigMediaBlog Essentially, though I haven't seen the bill he referenced so I don't know how narrow it may be.

Jason Salzman: Maybe it was one of the bills that the GOP was thinking of offering instead of the Senate bill.

Jason Salzman: In any case, if Coffman supports citizenship via college, he's with Dream Act, in most forms. A big shift, as i see it. News.


Journalists continue to report that Rep. Mike Coffman is being nicer to young undocumented immigrants than he really is.

Coffman supports giving young immigrants a path to citizenship if they sign up for military service but not if they enroll in college. The Dream Act, which Coffman has voted against in 2010, offers citizenship through both college and the military to undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

Reporting on Coffman's position today, the Associated Press stated:

After seeing fast-growing Hispanic and Asian populations overwhelmingly back Democrats in 2012, Coffman embraced citizenship for people brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

This is accurate, but somewhat misleading because, Coffman isn't embracing citizenship for young immigrants as much as he's allowing it, since his one-track path to citizenship is so narrow.

Later, the article reports that Coffman was moved to help immigrants by his discussions with undocumented immigrants who could not go to college, without stating, specifically, that Coffman does not support a citizenship path via college.

Coffman says his change of heart on immigration dates from discussions with young people in the country illegally who cannot join the military or go to college.

"I really believe that the strongest expression of American citizenship is serving this country in uniform," said Coffman, a Marine Corps and Army veteran. He's proposed granting citizenship to any young person here illegally who enlists.

That's accurate, but especially since Coffman brought up college himself, the article should have noted that he's not offering citizenship to any young person here illegally who enrolls in college.

9 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. BlueCatBlueCat says:

    Even going so far as advocating for people brought here as children to have a path to citizenship via the military is more than the hard core base want to see. Granted they won't be voting for Romanoff either but they were never in play in the first place.

    On the other side of the coin, it doesn't make him any more attractive on immigration reform than Romanoff to most of Aurora's minorities or to a larger segment of the middle, even if people mistakenly believe he includes college as a path.  It really isn't about saying mostly the same things a Tancredo says in a kinder gentler "tone". It's not just the tone. It's the policy.

  2. hawkeye says:

    The military has offered many immigrants an expedited pathway to citizenship ..

    Immediate Right to Apply for Citizenship for Military Personnel Who Performed Active Duty

    You don't even need a green card (permanent residence) to apply for U.S. citizenship if you served honorably and on active duty with the U.S. Armed Forces during one of the wars or conflicts named below. You can go straight from being an undocumented or illegal immigrant to applying for and receiving U.S. citizenship. Of course, if you already have a green card, you can also use this section to avoid the five-year period that most people must wait before applying for naturalization. (See I.N.A. section 329, 8 U.S.C. section 1440.)

    You must, however, have enlisted (signed up) while you were still on U.S. territory. The recognized U.S. territories include the Canal Zone, American Samoa, Swains Island, and a noncommercial U.S. ship.

    Here are the conflicts that qualify you for immediate U.S. citizenship:

    • World War I (April 6, 1917 to November 11, 1918)
    • World War II (September 1, 1939 to December 31, 1946)
    • the Korean hostilities (June 25, 1950 to July 1, 1955)
    • the Vietnam hostilities (February 28, 1961 to October 15, 1978)
    • the Persian Gulf War (August 2, 1990 to April 11, 1991)
    • "Operation Enduring Freedom" (also called the "War on Terrorism" or "Iraq Hostilities", which began September 11, 2001 and will end when the U.S. President issues an order so stating).
    • Gray in Mountains says:

      I may be in a minority but I find it rather disgusting that an immigrant must risk their life for a country that is otherwise not accepting of them. Seems there ought be many paths, through service, that would equally qualify. I.e.; Peace Corps, community volunteer.

    • ct says:

      I'm the descendent of immigrants–they came from Germany, Prussia and Scotland. Which 1st Nation were your people from Hawkeye? 

      • hawkeye says:

        My Norwegian grandfather fought in WW1 and received expedited US citizenship shortly thereafter as a bonus.  Sadly, he died 15 years later from the effects of mustard gas, leaving a widow and two young children (including my mother).

  3. DavieDavie says:

    But Jason, even Coffman's so-called support of a pathway to citizenship via military service is a cynical sham, right?  Is college now just another distraction to tease the voters with?

    Coffman’s been talking a lot about his bill, which stipulates that, before being accepted by the U.S. military, undocumented immigrants should be screened and possess documents obtained through the President Obama’s “deferred action” program, established through executive order.

    Under Obama’s order, law-abiding undocumented immigrants, who were brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents, are issued work permits, and their deportation from the U.S. is officially deferred.

    But in June, Coffman voted to defund Obama’s deferred-action program, potentially undermining Coffman’s own bill.

    – See more at:

    • DavieDavie says:

      The above was supposed to be a block quote from Jason's Jan 24th diary.  It displayed in the comment field as greyed out text before posting.

      More weird site behavior.

  4. mamajama55mamajama55 says:

    This is the new right wing "Latino Outreach" strategy: say soothing things about changes of heart,  "compassion", "thoughtful, step by step process", path to citizenship, etc, while voting to defund and block any such real changes. Tipton, Lamborn, Coffman….they're all reading the same playbook.

    These cynical politicians absolutely count on voters being too stupid to figure it out. Are they right? Time will tell. Media needs to report it accurately, as Jason said.


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