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Bob Beauprez Takes Up Tancredo Mantle on Immigration

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Latino Leaders React to Republican Candidate’s Call to Import Arizona-Style Immigration Law in Colorado

While the Colorado GOP may have breathed a sigh of relief last month when anti-immigrant firebrand Tom Tancredo lost the gubernatorial primary, now the supposedly-mainstream candidate, Bob Beauprez, is taking up Tancredo’s mantle by aligning himself with Arizona governor, Jan Brewer, who regularly makes national headlines with her anti-immigrant crusade.

Last week, in an interview on Colorado Springs radio station KVOR, Bob Beauprez outlined components of an immigration agenda that would make Tancredo proud. Beauprez said that if the federal government wasn’t doing its job on immigration, “states ought to be allowed to do it, as Jan Brewer tried to do in Arizona.” He went on to say, “this is one of the pledges I’ve made as a candidate, and if elected as governor, that I’ll carry forward, is form that kind of coalition, and this is exactly the sort of issue where I think governors on behalf of the various states need to stand up and be very strong.”

It’s telling that Beauprez lauded what Brewer “tried to” to do in Arizona, because the Arizona law was almost entirely gutted by the Supreme Court in 2012. Similar laws passed in other states, most notably Alabama and Georgia, have also been essentially overturned by the courts. What’s more, the backlash in public opinion toward these laws has been fierce, resulting in millions of dollars in lost tourism, agriculture and business revenue. Beauprez’s reckless suggestion that Colorado import whacky Arizona laws shows he’s in lockstep with Tancredo and out of touch with the majority of Coloradans, who want to see a comprehensive solution on immigration. 

“Is Bob Beauprez still running for Governor in the year 2006? In the absence of federal immigration reform, Colorado has been busy crafting a better, less divisive approach than our neighbors in Arizona,” said Jessie Ulibarri, State Senator from Colorado’s 21st District. “If he is still so stuck in the past maybe he didn’t notice that in the last eight years Colorado’s police chiefs and sheriffs have rejected Arizona-style legislation because they know how important it is to build trust with the immigrant community across the state. Does he really want to restart the ‘show me your papers’ debate where any Colorado resident who might look like an immigrant is subject to being stopped by police? Why is he trying so hard to divide Colorado?”

Colorado State Representative from the xx District, Crisanta Duran, reacted saying:

I thought we had moved past this kind of sentiment in Colorado. What Beauprez is so casually suggesting is that people across our state be stopped by police based on the way they look or talk. That’s not the kind of state I want to live in and I suggest Beauprez think twice about promoting such a divisive law in a state that values people from different backgrounds.

Alexis Menocal Harrigan, board member of the Colorado Latino Forum, said:

Colorado Republicans may think that by toning down the inflammatory anti-immigrant language, they’ll repair the damage they’ve done with Latino voters in the state, but these voters pay close attention to policy, too. The idea that Beauprez would champion an Arizona-style law in Colorado, and at a time when Republicans in the Congress are blocking the real solution to fix our immigration system, shows that none of them have learned a single thing either about policies that work or the priorities of Latino voters.