Immigration Groups Mark One Year Since Colorado Congressman Said “The Time for Comprehensive Immigration Reform is Now,” Then Ran Away
One year ago today, the Denver Post ran an op-ed from Rep. Mike Coffman (R, CD-4) where the previously anti-immigrant congressman began to change his tune and called for immediate action on comprehensive immigration reform. His piece was cheered by immigration advocates in Colorado and lifted up as an example across the country of a Republican in a changing district who was beginning to listen to the needs of his diversifying constituents. But, no. Today, it’s clear that Coffman’s words did not translate into action. Not only did Rep. Coffman and his fellow Republicans block the best chance in decades of actually achieving the reform he described as so urgent, but his only vote on immigration this Congress was to defund Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and subject DREAMers once again to deportation.
Ever since Coffman’s immigration piece ran in the paper, he’s been on a dedicated path to walk back his support for immigration reform. When the chance came to support bipartisan legislation that was introduced in the House, HR 15, a bill that has broad support amongst business, religious and agricultural sectors, Coffman refused to support it. Then, he began narrowing his definition of who should qualify for citizenship and how. In recent months, his only discussion of immigration has been in support of his own bill that would allow DREAMers to earn citizenship through military service, but when he had the chance to include that bill as an amendment to the military authorization legislation going through the Armed Services Committee, he refused. Next, Coffman removed all the references to “comprehensive” immigration reform from his website, even after referencing a “comprehensive” solution extensively in his op-ed. With immigration reform now dead for the year at the feet of House Republicans, Coffman’s walk back is complete.
Immigration groups have already begun an extensive campaign to educate voters about Coffman’s record, with Spanish-language ads running on both television and radio:
SEIU television ads on Mike Coffman’s record currently running: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYhvZtrrSS4
Alliance for Citizenship radio ads on Mike Coffman’s record currently running:
“Rep. Mike Coffman began to change his immigration rhetoric and was starting to step in the right direction, but it’s obvious our community needs more than words, we need actions. Unfortunately, Rep. Coffman’s record shows he has voted to defund DACA, a program that has assisted our immigrant youth to step out of the shadows, and by standing still, he is one of the Congressman responsible for the lack of movement in immigration reform,” said Carla Castedo, Mi Familia Vota Colorado State Director.
According to Patty Kupfer, Managing Director of America’s Voice based in Colorado, “Writing an op-ed doesn’t make you a leader. In fact, when that’s all you have to show alongside a record of anti-immigrant votes, all it makes you is a phony. We’ll be doing our best to make sure voters see through Mike Coffman’s hypocrisy.”