Bill would protect Colorado residents and immigrants, not provide “sanctuary”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Joe Salazar.

A Channel 7 story Monday alleged that a bill, sponsored by Rep. Joseph Salazar (D-Thornton) would “make Colorado a sanctuary state.”

In its piece, titled “Proposed bill aims to make Colorado a sanctuary state,” Channel 7 reported:

If state Rep. Joseph Salazar, D-Adams Co., gets his way, Colorado could be the nation’s first sanctuary state…

Salazar says the passage of this is bill would be timely due to the president’s elect rhetoric on immigration.

“I’m going to take him for his words and actions in terms of his cabinet appointments, and we are going to prepare state of Colorado to defend ourselves against it,” said Joseph Salazar.

Salazar’s bill (here) never uses the word “sanctuary,” for good reason.

No local jurisdiction can provide “sanctuary” to undocumented immigrants.  No state or city can prevent the federal government from arresting undocumented immigrants–or enforcing federal immigration law.

But states don’t have to help Trump arrest undocumented immigrants. They don’t have to assist the feds in racial or religious profiling. States don’t have to help Trump develop a registry of immigrants or residents based on race, ethnicity, national origin, immigration status, or religious affiliation.

And that’s what Salazar’s bill would do, basically.

So it’s a mistake for journalists, who pride themselves on precise language, to refer to Salazar’s bill as making Colorado a “sanctuary state.”

It won’t. And, if you’ve watched conservatives and bigots, like Trump, use the term “sanctuary city,” you know that it inflames people. Which would be okay if it accurately described what cities are doing when they pass laws protecting citizens and undocumented immigrants from over-reach by the federal government.

That’s what Salazar’s bill would do–and that’s how journalists should describe it.

Westminster City Councilman: Rapists, Immigrants, Whatever

Westminster City Councillor Bruce Baker, who briefly ran for Rep. Ed Perlmutter’s CD-7 last year before losing the primary to George Athanasopoulos, has a reputation as a far-out anti-immigrant firebrand–so much so that he has drawn the ire of moderate Republicans for “embarrassing the party.”

But since the election of Donald Trump, Baker has been on an empowered tear against immigrants, and (especially) the response of his fellow councillors to Trump’s immigration proposals–which culminated yesterday evening in a bizarre recorded statement played back by Baker into his own microphone during a council meeting. Apparently, it was easier for Baker to record his little diatribe in advance than, you know, say it live. Excerpts:

The plain fact is that American culture has poorly dealt with sexual assault…addressing these crimes after the fact is too little too late. It was a mere forty years ago that marital rape was finally recognized as a crime in the United States. Old attitudes die slowly…we all must obey the law. Support the law. Be smart about situations, intervene if possible, and encourage everyone in society to do the same…

It is only by obeying the law that we will keep full value of the wonderful place we are. Sexual assault laws are not weapons that hurt Americans, sexual assault laws are a shield that protects Americans…and that’s true with robbery, and fraud, and embezzlement, and being unlawfully present in the United States. [Pols emphasis]

My colleagues are afraid to approach the crime of being unlawfully present in the United States. Part of that fear stems from the fact that for the crime of being unlawfully present in the United States, there is no sympathetic victim to which we can point. If there was a distinct individual victim, that victim and their injuries would provide a point of focus we all could grasp. But the victims of people that are unlawfully present in the United States, while many in number, have no obvious injuries which the media can showcase. Their stories of loss and displacement are difficult to quantify. Their hurting is minimized and ignored…

Instead of talking about the real harm to victims of people unlawfully in the United States, my colleagues chose to talk about being a ‘welcoming community.’ How odd. I do not think for a second that my colleagues would be welcoming to perpetrators of sexual assault. [Pols emphasis]

So, there’s a lot wrong with this. First of all, the simple act of being present in the United States without documentation is not a crime. It’s a civil offense under federal law. The act of entering the U.S. illegally is a misdemeanor offense, but not simply being here. That means the whole premise of Baker’s diatribe, that illegal immigration is a “crime” on par with sexual assault, is nonsense.

From there, we can explain that in addition to being nonsense, likening undocumented immigrants to perpetrators of sexual assault is extremely offensive. It’s interesting how Baker concedes there is no “distinct individual victim” of illegal immigration, in effect admitting that scaring Americans about this supposed imminent threat has no factual basis.

Yes, comparing undocumented immigrants to rapists worked for the President-elect of the United States. But–and we mean it in every possible way except this lowest common denominator–Bruce Baker is no Donald Trump.

Coffman: Trump Vow To Make Mexico Pay For Wall a “Gimmick”

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

Manu Raju at CNN reports on growing skepticism among Republicans about President-elect Donald Trump’s oft-repeated longshot vow to “build a wall on the southern border and make Mexico pay for it”–including Colorado’s leading on-again off-again Trump backer, Rep. Mike Coffman of Aurora:

President-elect Donald Trump is still insisting that Mexico will ultimately pay billions for the construction of a massive wall along the southern border.

Many Republicans on Capitol Hill are not so sure.

In interviews with CNN, a number of Republicans suggested that Trump’s claim amounted to wishful thinking, saying they believed the billionaire businessman would ultimately backtrack on one of his central campaign promises.

“I doubt that they’re going to pay for it,” said Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, the longest-serving Senate Republican, referring to Mexico. “There’s a lot he could do if he wanted to (force Mexico’s hand). In all honesty, I don’t think that’s going to happen.”

Rep. Mike Coffman, a Colorado Republican, added: “I never thought that would happen. I thought it was a gimmick.” [Pols emphasis]

The story quotes other Republicans variously agreeing with Trump that forcing Mexico to pay for–or at least reimburse–the United States for the costs of building a wall across the entire 1,989 miles of border between the two nations is plausible. Or if it’s not, at least agreeing that America needs “border security.”

Less clear from this story, either in Coffman’s case or that of other Republicans quoted, is the answer to what may be the only question that matters: will Republicans in Congress vote to pay for Trump’s wall first and “collect” from Mexico later? Even Trump seems to admit now that this is the only practical way to proceed.

For Mike Coffman, who has kept his career alive by changing his stripes on immigration to fit his changing constituency, the question is twofold: voting to build a wall America would have to pay for–and on a more basic level, voting to build Trump’s wall at all.

You’ll notice Coffman’s response to the question disclosed neither.

Forget the rabbit hole, Coffman is opposed to a path to citizenship for immigrants

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Mike Coffman.

Rep. Mike Coffman.

9News anchor Kyle Clark did an excellent job interviewing U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman Tuesday, and his Democratic challenger Morgan Carroll Monday, pressing them on a range of issues.

On immigration, Clark asked Coffman what he’d propose for adult undocumented immigrants:

Coffman: “As long as they haven’t violated criminal laws to give them a legalized status that would allow them to work here without fear of deportation.

Clark: “Not citizenship but legal status?”

Coffman: “Legal status.”

Clark: “Any path to citizenship for those people?”

Coffman: “No. No.”

But without skipping a beat, Coffman kind of contradicted himself, with the camera rolling, saying he could possibly support a path to citizenship.

Coffman: “I don’t want to box myself in. If we get into negotiations, and there’s everything that I like, and it would be a very long path, and very selective. You know, I don’t want to totally back myself—but ideally I would say no.”

If you’re a journalist, what do you do with Coffman’s qualifier? Do you say he’s opposed to a citizenship path? Against it, unless he’s for it?

In a news segment yesterday based on the interview, Clark contrasted Coffman’s stance against a path to citizenship with Carroll’s position in favor of it. He didn’t mention Coffman’s qualifying comments.

In an email, I asked Clark why he apparently concluded that Coffman is against a path to citizenship.

Clark: “I took Representative Coffman’s answer to mean that he is not in favor of a path to citizenship but stopped short of saying he’d never support it,” wrote Clark.

Clark could have gone down the rabbit hole of trying to figure out, specifically, what Coffman means by theoretically favoring a citizenship path if negotiations produce “everything that I like.”

But it’s a rabbit hole other reporters have tried to go down without coming up with specifics on what Coffman wants for citizenship. And besides, Coffman’s statement, especially with “ideally no” tacked on, is clear enough as it is.

So Clark was right to conclude Coffman opposes a path to citizenship.

(more…)

Coffman Repeats 2014 Spanish Closing Statement Practically Verbatim

Tom Tancredo y Mike Coffman.

Tom Tancredo y Mike Coffman.

This weekend, the debate between Republican Rep. Mike Coffman and his Democratic opponent Morgan Carroll in Spanish aired after being taped on October 4th. Carroll’s campaign fired off a press release as the debate aired on Saturday that we suspect they could barely wait to send, because it’s a bit of a bombshell:

Coffman Verbatim Recycles Spanish Debate Remarks From 2014 – Two Years Later

Despite claiming to have learned Spanish, Mike Coffman declined to come up with new closing remarks at the Univisión debate this election cycle — failing to respect Spanish-speaking voters to give them a statement that reflects the realities of 2016. Listen and compare Coffman’s 2014 closing to his 2016 closing:

2014 Remarks:

Coffman: Gracias. Para mí, es muy importante poder compartir mis planes e ideas para crear más empleos, y más oportunidades para todos en Colorado. Mis prioridades son ustedes. Las familias. Los trabajadores. La seguridad de nuestro país. Y los jóvenes que serán los líderes de mañana. Yo crecí en una familia de clase trabajadora en la cuidad de Aurora, ganando el salario mínimo. Obtuve mi diploma de secundaria mientras estaba en el servicio de militar. Después, empecé un pequeño negocio en Aurora. Entiendo lo que es pagar impuestos como trabajador y también mantener abiertas las puertas de un negocio. Sé lo que es trabajar duro, y por muchas horas, para lograr el sueño americano al igual que ustedes. Yo quiero que Washington trabaje para el pueblo, no al revés. Debemos prosperar y asegurar que las políticas de Washington den oportunidad y ayuden a las familias obtener a su sueño Americano. Sería un honor tener su voto. Que dios los bendiga a ustedes y a los Estados Unidos. Gracias y buenas noches…

2016 Remarks:

Primero, muchas gracias a Univision por organizar este debate. Tambien le doy las gracias a todos los que estan[?] en casa y por tenerle paciencia a mi espanol. Mis prioridades son ustedes. Las familias. Los trabajadores. La seguridad de nuestro país. Y los jóvenes que serán los líderes de mañana. Yo crecí en una familia de clase trabajadora en Aurora, ganando el salario mínimo. Obtuve mi diploma de secundaria mientras serví en el ejercito. Después, empecé un pequeño negocio en Aurora. Entiendo lo que es pagar impuestos como trabajador y también mantener abiertas las puertas de un negocio. Sé lo que es trabajar duro, y por muchas horas, para lograr el sueño americano al igual que ustedes. Yo quiero que Washington trabaje para el pueblo, no al revés. Debemos prosperar y asegurar que las políticas de Washington den oportunidad y ayuden a las familias obtener a su sueño Americano. Sería un honor contar con su apoyo y su voto. Que dios los bendiga a ustedes y a los Estados Unidos. Gracias y buenas noches.

Reading the statements is one thing, but you’ve really got to see this spliced together to understand how bad it is–whether or not you speak Spanish. Here’s an excerpted mashup we were forwarded, but the original video is no less damning:

So yeah, that’s pretty painful to watch! Frankly, since it’s evident that in both cases Coffman was merely reading a prepared statement, requiring no actual knowledge of the language, we’re baffled at how his campaign let this happen. There’s no reason why they couldn’t have given him a different statement to close this debate than the one he gave in 2014. Did they really think no one would compare the two?

“Mike Coffman can lie to the voters in any language he wants — but the fact that he repeated the same lies at the same debate is a direct insult to Spanish-speaking voters,” said Carroll for Colorado spokesman Drew Godinich. “Despite trying to distance himself from the Trump campaign, Mike Coffman took a page directly from the Melania Trump handbook. If Mike Coffman’s goal was to insult Colorado Latinos, then he should consider this debate a resounding success.” [Pols emphasis]

For a campaign that has invested so much in putting its best foot forward to Latino voters in this diverse and competitive district–and especially in light of Coffman’s long anti-immigrant record that invites basic questions about his honesty–it’s an unbelievable gift to his opponent. It is sloppy and lazy and contemptuous of a vital bloc of voters, at a moment when Coffman simply can’t afford that.

If Carroll’s campaign or Democrats up the food chain have any sense, this will be an ad by the weekend.

In every language they can.

Everybody’s Trying So Hard To Save Mike Coffman

coffmanpushupThe recent story of national conservative “astroturf” organizing behemoth Americans For Prosperity’s single-minded fixation with Colorado’s Sixth Congressional District, where the organization’s president Tim Phillips was personally knocking on doors last week with literature attacking incumbent Rep. Mike Coffman’s Democratic opponent Morgan Carroll, has made political outsiders more aware of something we’ve known for months: this is one of the most important congressional races in the entire nation, and the threat Coffman faces is a bellwether for the GOP’s ability to function in a post-Donald Trump political landscape.

This year in Colorado, Americans for Prosperity is targeting Democrat Morgan Carroll, who is challenging Republican incumbent Mike Coffman in the 6th Congressional District. The organization is not making a play in the presidential race to help Donald Trump, nor Colorado’s U.S. Senate race to boost Republican Darryl Glenn, who AFP strategists don’t consider competitive.

The Carroll-Coffman contest is the only U.S. House race in the nation this year to draw attention from the organization backed by the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch…

George Will, y'all.

George Will, y’all.

AFP may be singularly focused on Coffman’s race in Colorado due to the lack of any decent prospects higher up the ticket, but they’re not the only big guns on the right side of the aisle jumping into the fight to save him. In the Washington Post this weekend, iconic conservative columnist George Will himself devoted an entire column to talking up Coffman’s “reinvention” into…well, something most conservatives oppose:

After he was reelected with 66 percent of the vote in 2010, his district was gerrymandered to make it more Democratic — 20 percent Hispanic, with a generous salting of other minorities. He won in 2012 with just 48 percent of the vote. In 2014, national Democrats recruited a formidable opponent, a Yale University graduate who had taught, in Spanish, in Central American schools. So, Coffman learned Spanish well enough to do an entire debate in the language, and today banters in Spanish with the children at Roca Fuerte Academy…

Will goes on to describe how Coffman, who once called the DREAM Act a “nightmare” and told bilingual voters to “pull out a dictionary,” has switched positions on immigration and sponsored various stillborn efforts to pass at least part of the DREAM Act in recent years.

As we’ve discussed in this space many times, the question of Coffman’s “reinvention” since 2011 comes down to whether you find it believable, or merely shrewd politics. After all, Coffman’s Republicans majority leadership in the House has consistently ensured that none of these newer reforms Coffman has proposed go anywhere–and Coffman’s would-be change of heart of immigration has never motivated him to go after John Boehner or now Paul Ryan for killing them.

Setting that question aside though, we think the best explanation for so much attention being focused on Coffman’s race is that Republicans nationally are genuinely afraid of the consequences of losing, viewing CD-6 and Coffman’s political reinvention as a model for their whole party’s increasingly likely retreat from the wreckage Trump leaves behind after his own defeat in November. You don’t see this kind of fixation on a race they’re comfortable about. But if New Coffman® can triangulate his way through this election with the damage Trump is doing to the Republican brand, he blazes a trail for how other Republicans can do the same thing–now and in the difficult years that lie ahead.

That or Coffman goes down, and Republicans learn that not even abandoning their principles can save them.

Meet The “Ralph Carr Republicans”

Gov. Ralph Carr (R).

Gov. Ralph Carr (R).

A press release from Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s Colorado campaign announces a new group of Republican advocates for her election over Donald Trump–the “Ralph Carr Republicans,” named after a Colorado Republican governor whose compassion made him a hero long after his political career was over:

Tomorrow, Wednesday, September 7, Hillary for Colorado will launch Together for America: Ralph Carr Republicans. Invoking the spirit of Colorado’s 29th Governor, a Republican who opposed the internment of Japanese-Americans despite popular sentiment at the time, Ralph Carr Republicans is a core group of everyday Colorado GOPers who are putting country before party and backing Hillary Clinton for President.

Ralph Carr Republicans will lead the Hillary for Colorado campaign’s recruitment and outreach to the growing number of Republican and independent voters in the Centennial State who believe that Donald Trump is too dangerous and unfit to be commander in chief. Ralph Carr Republicans recognize that Hillary Clinton understands the complex and volatile world we live in and has the experience and temperament to be president, while Trump does not…

Also on hand at tomorrow’s press conference to speak about Governor Ralph Carr’s legacy will be Terie Miyamoto, a Japanese-American from Centennial whose mother was interned during WWII and whose father was a WWII veteran born in Denver.

The story of Gov. Ralph Carr’s profound decency in response to the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II was not fully understood during Carr’s own lifetime. Carr’s political career ended after his defense of Japanese-American evacuees relocated to Colorado, losing his bid for election to the U.S. Senate in 1942 to Democrat Edwin “Big Ed” Johnson. Johnson derided Carr as a “Jap lover,” and proposed (sound familiar?) closing the borders of the state with National Guardsmen to prevent their relocation.

Today, history has decided who won that debate–and it’s not the man who won the 1942 U.S. Senate race.

Given the extreme state of the debate over immigration in the United States today, and the rhetoric coming from one political party in particular on the issue–Ralph Carr’s party, at least nominally–we think Gov. Carr would approve of the “Ralph Carr Republicans.”

Jason Munoz Takes Aim At Clarice Navarro Over Trump

Donald Trump, Rep. Clarice Navarro.

Donald Trump, Rep. Clarice Navarro.

The Pueblo Chieftain’s Jon Pompia reports from this weekend’s Chicanos Against Trump rally in Pueblo–a story that steadfast Donald Trump supporter Rep. Clarice Navarro has to find at least a little troubling:

The day’s list of speakers included elected Democratic officials — City Councilman Larry Atencio, state Reps. Daneya Esgar and Joe Salazar — as well as political hopefuls, including Jason Munoz (Colorado House of Representatives for District 47) and Garrison Ortiz (board of Pueblo County commissioners, District 2.)

…As the challenger to incumbent Clarice Navarro, Munoz — a fifth-generation Coloradan — was critical of her support for Trump.

“My opponent is too busy flying to New York City to help Donald Trump get elected than to stay in the district to help solve the issues and problems our people face,” Munoz said. [Pols emphasis]

“I hope to encourage all of you to talk to your neighbors, talk to your friends, talk to everyone you can, and ask them to observe: who’s the better candidate, myself or my opponent?”

Ever since she emerged as one of Trump’s national go-to Latino apologistas, Rep. Clarice Navarro has done as much or more to put her House seat in play as anything her underdog opponent Jason Munoz has done. Munoz got off to a slow enough start in this race that he wasn’t really considered a serious challenger to Navarro until she raised her own profile by defending Trump on a national stage–but then outraised Navarro in the July reporting period. Navarro’s continued support for Trump, even after last week’s highly controversial address on immigration, is politically very hard to understand.

But if it proves to be her undoing on Election Day, there will be no denying that.

How You Like Donald Trump Now, Clarice Navarro?

SATURDAY UPDATE: Rep. Clarice Navarro responds–doubling down for Team Trump:

So be it, Representative. Let the record show she declined a life jacket.

—–

Donald Trump, Rep. Clarice Navarro.

Donald Trump, Rep. Clarice Navarro.

Kurtis Lee, formerly of the Denver Post now writing at the Los Angeles Times, reports on the reverberations from Donald Trump’s much-discussed speech on immigration this week–a speech that has Trump’s supporters cheering, running for the exits, and/or some combination thereof:

Donald Trump has held photo ops with his National Hispanic Advisory Council and in recent weeks boasted about his increasing support from this crucial voting demographic.

But that was before his speech on immigration this week.

On Thursday, several who sit on the council announced their resignation, citing Trump’s refusal to truly listen to their views on immigration reform.

Jacob Monty, a Houston-based immigration lawyer who was a member of the council, said in a Facebook post that he gave Trump a plan that would “improve border security, remove hardened criminal aliens and most importantly, give work authority to millions of honest, hard-working immigrants” in the country.

“He rejected that,” wrote Monty, announcing his resignation from the council after Trump’s speech. “So I must reject him.”

Donald Trump.

Donald Trump.

The revulsion being expressed by many of Trump’s Latino supporters over his speech this week is notably not shared by his Colorado Latino surrogates even if they can’t bring themselves to fully embrace it–as Colorado Public Radio’s Ryan Warner reports:

Colorado businessman Jerry Natividad, a state co-chair of Hispanics for Trump, said he and other Hispanic community leaders from across the nation were hoping to see a “very aggressive, but sensitive immigration reform package.”

“We didn’t see it” last night, Natividad told Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner.

Still, Natividad said he supports many — but not all — of the stances Trump has taken on immigration…

Natividad told CPR News a few months ago that he didn’t care for some of Trump’s rhetoric, but would vote for the Republican nominee after drinking a glass of bourbon.

Of particular interest is the response from a Colorado Republican lawmaker who has emerged as one of Trump’s go-to apologists with Latinos, Rep. Clarice Navarro of Pueblo. Navarro has been questionably vocal in her support of Trump while representing a heavily Latino district. Any comment on Trump’s speech, asks Kurtis Lee?

Last month, Trump held a roundtable meeting with members of the council, where they discussed creating jobs and the Republican presidential nominee’s plans on immigration.

Among those who attended was Colorado state Rep. Clarice Navarro, who said she left feeling optimistic about Trump.

“I’ve always felt he does care about the Latino community, and now it’s on us to get him elected,” she said at the time.

On Thursday, she could not be reached for comment. [Pols emphasis]

Latino supporters of Trump have broadly described a feeling of deep betrayal over Trump’s hard-line speech on immigration this week, except for some weird self-loathing stuff about “taco trucks on every corner” from the head of Latinos for Trump, Marco Gutierrez. Up to now, Navarro has practically dared her opponents to make Trump an issue in her race–boasting of her close contact with and him writing an op-ed in USA TODAY defending both Trump’s personal character and agenda.

Well folks, push has now come to shove.

¿Por qué? Coffman Oddly Declines Debate en Español

Rep. Mike Coffman (R), Sen. Morgan Carroll (D).

Rep. Mike Coffman (R), Sen. Morgan Carroll (D).

A press release from Morgan Carroll’s congressional campaign calls out Rep. Mike Coffman for something we didn’t think would be a problem–his declining to participate in a Spanish-language debate, something he hasn’t shied away from previously:

Yesterday, Donald Trump and Mike Coffman both put to rest any lingering questions about whether or not they have changed. Coffman fed the public a weak excuse for refusing to participate in a Spanish language debate only days AFTER bragging about debating in Spanish last cycle.

“Congressman Coffman paved the way for Donald Trump and now he is acting just like him,” said DCCC Spokesman Tyler Law. “His weak excuse for not participating in the only Spanish language debate further proves how out-of-touch he is with his diverse constituency…”

Here’s a snapshot of Mike Coffman over the last year:

1.    Coffman spoke to an anti-Muslim hate group

2.    Latino leaders blamed Coffman for Trump’s rise

3.    Coffman refused to denounce Donald Trump’s candidacy time and time and time again (he literally did it again this week)

4.    Coffman cited a “scheduling conflict” two months from now as the reason he can’t participate in Entravision’s Spanish language debate

So no, Mike Coffman has not genuinely changed and he is certainly not an example of how to broaden the Republican coalition. Just as Donald Trump misled people into thinking there would be a pivot, Coffman misled people into thinking he could change.

It’s of course possible that Coffman has a scheduling conflict that far in advance, but this is the kind of event he made a point of not missing in 2014 against Andrew Romanoff. This year, as Coffman walks a tightrope between triangulating off Donald Trump and holding together enough of Republican support to get re-elected, and with his predecessor Tom Tancredo blasting away at Coffman from the right as an opportunist with no convictions, it’s possible that the man who once told bilingual voters to “pull out a dictionary” doesn’t need any more compromising video clips in circulation.

Coffman and Carroll are set for three television debates in English, so we guess keep that dictionary handy.

Coffman tried and failed with the same immigration attacks last election

(Setting the record straight – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Mike Coffman.

Mike Coffman.

Reporters shouldn’t be fooled by Rep. Mike Coffman’s recycled attempts to paint his Democratic challanger Morgan Carroll as anti-immigrant. Coffman tried the same tactic in 2014 and failed.

The point needs to be made in light of the Coffman’s campaign tweet last week that Carroll “supported Tancredo’s immigration crackdown in the 2006 special session.”

Coffman tried to attack Coffman’s 2014 challenger Andrew Romanoff in the same way, and it failed, as exemplified in this Denver Post piece from a couple years ago.

During the summer of 2006, in his first term as state House speaker, Romanoff faced a critical decision: Have a broadly worded initiative appear on the November ballot that would strip state benefits and even some medical services from those in the country illegally — including children — or strike a legislative compromise.

He choose the latter option and staved off a late effort to revive the ballot initiative by spearheading a bill that pleased some hardliners and upset some in the Latino community…

Among the proponents of the ballot initiative that didn’t make it to voters was Coffman, the state treasurer at the time.

With Romanoff in 2006 was Carroll–and Republicans like the Gov. Bill Owens. With Coffman in 2006 was Tancredo. (Read more of this history here.)

The Post’s article from the last election goes on to explain that Coffman opposed (and continues to oppose) a 2013 bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill, passed by the U.S. Senate. Carroll supports this measure, including its path to citizenship. (In addition to this, Coffman is opposed to birthright citizenship, which allows children of undocumented immigrants born on U.S. soil to be citizens. Coffman is also against a provision in the Voting Rights Act that requires some jurisdictions to provide dual-language ballots.)

Coffman’s campaign acts as if Carroll’s 2006 stance and 2009 vote against in-state tuition for undocumented students are somehow equivalent to or worse than Coffman’s vast anti-immigrant record–despite the context of the 2006 special session and the fact that Carroll was a cosponsor of the ASSET bill when it passed in 2013. Carroll passed the ASSET bill.

Bottom line: Reporters saw through Coffman’s attacks against Romanoff on immigration in 2014. They shouldn’t be fooled by Coffman this time around either.

Trump’s Immigration Collapse Center Stage This Week

Donald Trump is in quite the policy pickle.

Pucker up: Donald Trump is in quite the policy pickle.

Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump will reportedly roll out some sort of new policy proposal on immigration reform this week. The plan is for Trump to clarify and expand upon his immigration reform proposals in a big speech on Wednesday in Arizona.

Trump is being forced to get into greater specifics about his immigration policies after flopping all over the place in a series of interviews last week. Apparently, the American public would like to know more about a set of policies which until now have consisted mainly of a) Promising to build a giant wall along the Mexican-U.S. border, and b) Magically identifying and deporting just the bad immigrants.

CNN explains how we got to this point, and why this is “immigration week” in Trumpville:

Donald Trump’s lack of clarity on his plans for dealing with some 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country has been so head-spinning in recent weeks it’s starting to look deliberate.

Facing headwinds among moderate voters who view his past rhetoric as racist, but trying to assuage his core conservative base, Trump has attempted something of an image makeover during the past two weeks — leaving Democrats and Republicans alike unclear on where actually Trump stands.

Naturally, Trump is blaming the big bad media for the fact that his immigration proposals don’t actually make any sense when you have to account for things like, you know, details and stuff. This isn’t going over very well with actual members of the big bad media, as the Washington Post explains:

The idea that we have “no control” over our border is not true. As Jerry Markon reported, as of one year ago, most available evidence indicated that thanks in part to stepped up border security efforts in recent years, “illegal immigration flows have fallen to their lowest level in at least two decades.” But beyond that, let’s pause to marvel at the spectacle of Trump blaming the media for this focus on mass deportations. That promise has been key to Trump’s candidacy for over a year. [Pols emphasis] As early as August of 2015 Trump was already saying on national television that all undocumented immigrants in this country “have to go.” A month later he said that his plan was to round them up “in a humane way.” A couple months after that Trump indicated that “they’re gonna have to go out,” and if not, “we don’t have a country.” In February of this year Trump said: “We have at least 11 million people in this country that came in illegally. They will go out.”

Now Trump insists that the aspect of his plan that really matters is his pledge to secure the border. Now, it’s true that Trump has long emphasized border security. But Trump also frequently vowed mass deportations, and that probably helped him win the nomination. Poll after poll after poll showed that GOP voters supported this goal.

Much to the chagrin of the Trump campaign, the media is also figuring out that Trump’s immigration policies were always intentionally vague. Or as Peter Beignet writes for The Atlantic:

What the commentary of the last few days has generally overlooked is that while immigration was key to Trump’s success in the Republican primary, Trump never actually offered an immigration policy. To the contrary, his success rested in large measure on his ability to avoid one.

And there you have it. Perhaps words still have meaning in politics after all.

Coffman Takes Immigration History Revision Too Far

UPDATE: For good measure, here’s a clip of Mike Coffman praising Tom Tancredo during the latter’s run for governor in 2010:

Listen to the lavish praise from Coffman for Tancredo “standing up” to President Bush’s immigration reform attempts.

And ask yourself how this could possibly be the same man vilifying Democrats today by likening them to Tancredo.

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dreamactcoffmanIn 2014, GOP Rep. Mike Coffman, who once called the DREAM Act to protect immigrant students “a nightmare for the American people” and fought against immigration reform until his congressional district was redrawn to include a large immigrant population, defeated his Democratic opponent in part by audaciously claiming his own position on immigration to be more progressive than the Democrat in the race.

This year, Coffman doesn’t seem to be changing the playbook a bit against his current Democratic opponent, Sen. Morgan Carroll:

That’s in reference to Coffman’s predecessor Tom Tancredo, the nationally-famous anti-immigration firebrand who has recently criticized Coffman’s reinvention on the issue as contrived to win votes in his new district. This Tweet refers to a vote in 2009 by Sen. Carroll against legislation that would have created similar tuition status as the DREAM Act for undocumented high school graduates in Colorado.

Just one problem: in 2013, Sen. Carroll cosponsored the ASSET bill, a.k.a. “Colorado’s DREAM Act.” ASSET is now the law in Colorado thanks to Carroll’s support. Once you realize that, it’s obvious that Coffman’s campaign is playing the most cynical kind of game with the truth–the lie of omission.

And it gets better:

In 2006, as at least a few of our longtime readers will remember, Republicans proposed a harsh immigration crackdown ballot measure called “Defend Colorado Now.” Hoping to forestall that measure, Democrats in the Colorado legislature made the in-hindsight highly regrettable decision to convene a special session of the legislature to pass immigration restrictions that would make such a ballot measure “unnecessary.” The truth is, Tom Tancredo was one of the original backers of the Defend Colorado Now measure, and was opposed to the special session convened by Democrats to forestall it.

Folks, what side do you think Coffman was on? The Longmont Times-Call reported (article no longer online):

Illegal-immigration foes drew a crowd to the foot of the state Capitol on Thursday to launch their petition drive for a state ballot measure that would deny government services to anyone who’s not in this country legally…

The rally began with state Treasurer Mike Coffman, a Republican candidate for secretary of state, leading the participants in the pledge of allegiance. [Pols emphasis]

In retrospect, both the 2006 Defend Colorado Now measure and the legislative session convened to counter it were ill-advised. Democrats have been taking their lumps over that mistake since 2006. But not only was Morgan Carroll working against Tancredo’s goals in 2006, at that same moment, Mike Coffman was the one standing with Tom Tancredo.

The real story behind today’s attacks on Carroll from Coffman’s campaign is one of such eye-popping hypocrisy and outright falsehoods that we’re legitimately surprised Coffman was willing to go there yet again. On the other hand, this is the perfect example of the kind of blatant disregard for the truth Coffman has repeatedly demonstrated against his Democratic opponents since redistricting.

For all the deference Coffman gets from the media over his wholesale flip-flops on the issues, with this latest we think Coffman may finally have taken it too far. Everyone who was there in 2006 knows the truth about what Coffman said and did then. It’s not a question of interpretation. It’s not a “misstatement.”

It’s a lie. And it must not go unchallenged.

Coffman still supports dropping bilingual ballot requirement

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

coffmansmileIt’s difficult to write about what Rep. Mike Coffman actually believes these these days, because it’s so hard to sort out how he sounds like he’s changed from how he’s actually changed.

So a tip of the hat to The Denver Post’s Joey Bunch, who did a good job sorting through some of Coffman’s stances, such as they are, over the weekend.

One item deserves clarification.

FBunch reports, accurately, of Coffman:

This is a candidate who in 2011 introduced legislation to repeal portions of the 1973 Voting Rights Act to permit local jurisdictions to decide if ballots could be printed in English only. He noted that English proficiency is a requirement for citizenship. Immigrant advocates saw it as a way to disenfranchise voters.

As of the last election, that’s still Coffman’s position. He still wants to repeal portions of the Voting Rights Act that require bilingual ballots to be provided in areas with large percentages of voters who are not proficient in English.

Saying it’s too expensive, Coffman would eliminate the requirement for offering ballots in languages other than English and, instead, trust local officials to decide whether bilingual ballots are needed, even though the shallowest reading of American history (including a cursory understanding of politics today) reveals that local officials should not be trusted with this decision that affects the basic right to vote.

Coffman once suggested that immigrants “pull out a dictionary” if they’re having trouble understanding an English ballot.

Now, in a classic example of how he’s sounding nicer without changing his policy stance, Coffman is saying he “would hope that every voter will be able to get the information that he needs in a language he can understand.”

But the Voting Rights Act? Coffman doesn’t think we need it telling people what to do on bilingual ballots.

Fact Check:  Gardner Opposed Comprehensive Immigration Reform and Backed Government Shutdown

(Check out the update — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Cory Gardner.

Sen. Cory Gardner.

Update: After seeing the comments attacking Denver Post editorial page editor Chuck Plunkett, I asked him to comment on my blog post below. I regret not seeking comment from him before posting, but here’s what Plunkett said via email:

Gardner has called for acting on immigration reform. He stood and clapped when Obama asked in is SOTU in 2014 calling for Congress to get it done. He’s for a path to legal status. Yes, he says the border situation has to be secure, and I understand that some use that condition to dodge real reform, but Gardner has for the last two years been more friendly to the issue than others.

I include this piece from Mark Matthew’s in 2014 to show what I mean.

I get it that the use of the word “comprehensive” is too much of a buzzword and it isn’t specific enough. And were I writing specifically about immigration I would have had to have been more detailed. But in the context of a broader editorial about leadership styles, a 10,000-foot view comparison between Gardner’s approach and Cruz/Trump, Gardner is much different. Cruz called for deporting 12 million people in the country illegally, for example.

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In an editorial this weekend holding out U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner as the model of the way forward for the Republican Party, The Denver Post claimed Gardner “supports comprehensive immigration reform.”

In fact, then U.S. Rep. Gardner opposed a 2103 comprehensive immigration reform bill, which died in the Republican-controlled House, after it passed by a bipartisan 68-32 vote in the U.S. Senate.

Gardner said at the time immigration reform has to start with border security, and he called for  “additional personnel on the border,” an “e-verify system,” and “additional security, a fence, you name it, on the border.”

Sounds much like Trump, even though The Post’s editorial, titled “How will the GOP rebuild after Trump,” aimed to contrast Gardner with Trump.

Since then, Gardner has called for immigration reform, but the issues section of his website doesn’t list immigration at all. There’s no indication that his position has changed or that he’s for comprehensive immigration reform, in any real sense of the term.

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