About Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform - CAIRCO

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Welcome to Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform - CAIRCO.

We work toward a complete halt to illegal immigration and a reduction of legal immigration to sustainable numbers. We are concerned about the impact of immigration-driven population growth on future generations of Americans - of all races, creeds, and colors. We at Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform are pro-legal immigrant and pro-legal immigration but at numbers consistent with assimilation and sustainability. America will always be a land of opportunity for those seeking a better life, but it can not and must not come at the expense of its finite natural resources and of the future of its most precious of all resources, our children and grandchildren.

Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform (CAIRCO - formerly known in Colorado as CAIR) is a Colorado non-profit organization seriously concerned with America's rapid population growth and the devastating effects that growth will have on the future of Colorado and the nation.

It is both a right and a responsibility of a democratic society to manage immigration so that it serves the national interest."
- the late U.S. Congresswoman, Barbara Jordan

U.S. population will double this century - within the lifetimes of children born today. 70% of this doubling will be caused by mass immigration - that is, by recent immigrants and their descendents. That will require roughly twice as many houses, cars, roads, prisons, hospitals, schools, water treatment facilities, etc. The result will be twice as much pollution, sprawl and pressure on our dwindling natural resources and the resources that we draw from other countries.

It is said "America is a nation of immigrants." But humanity has been migrating for 10,000 years. All countries are nations of immigrants. At approximately 300 million people, America is now full, and it makes no sense to double U.S. population once again.

Accordingly, CAIRCO is calling for a pro-active, national policy to stabilize U.S. population and conserve our natural resources by insisting Congress set more realistic numbers of legal immigration (not exceeding 100,000 per year).

Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform supports the following action plan to stabilize US and Colorado's population, formulated in Colorado in 1997:

  1. Immigration Moratorium
    We support immediate enactment of a 5-year immigration moratorium with an all-inclusive, firm cap of 100,000 immigrants (including refugees and asylees) per year.
     
  2. No More Amnesties
    We oppose additional amnesties granting legal status or citizenship to illegal aliens. Amnesties reward illegal behavior while unnecessarily adding to population growth, driving unending chain migration, and encouraging illegal entry to the U.S.
     
  3. Enforce Immigration Laws
    Existing laws requiring apprehension and deportation of all illegal aliens in the U.S. must be enforced. Officials failing to enforce our laws must be replaced.
     
  4. No Citizenship for Illegal Aliens' Offspring
    Offspring of illegal aliens should not be granted automatic U.S. citizenship. Many argue convincingly that the 14th Amendment does not guarantee citizenship to offspring of illegal aliens.
Mission statement: Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform works to inform the public, the media, and elected public servants about the consequences of unending immigration-driven population growth on the future of Colorado and the United States.
Reform: "to amend or improve by change of form or removal of faults or abuses." - Merriam-Webster.
 
About our name: Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform (CAIRCO) was founded in the mid 1990s when "Immigration Reform" truly meant reform of incongruous United States immigration policy which ignored laws regarding interior immigration enforcement and US border security. Over time, radical open borders special interest groups sought to preempt the term "Immigration Reform" to codify their agenda to open American Borders to illegal aliens and to legalize foreign job-seekers who were successful in sneaking into America and evading capture at our border.
 
CAIRCO is for immigration law enforcement, while open borders radicals want law non-enforcement. CAIRCO stands for strengthening immigration law enforcement, while open borders opponents want to weaken immigration law enforcement.
 
The term "Immigration Reform" will always represent the fundamental concepts of immigration sanity and enforcement of American immigration laws for the best interests of Americans and America. To be clear, one can refer to it as "Patriotic Immigration Reform". As opposed to the open borders kind, which amounts to treason.

While we certainly support the efforts of other state and national immigration sanity organizations, Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform (CAIRCO) is not affiliated with and is not managed or funded by organizations such as FAIR, NumbersUSA, Center for Immigration Studies, and The Social Contract.

We are in no way affiliated with the Islamic Hamas-linked organization CAIR.

We also are proud to be recognized by the loony hateful Southern Poverty Law Center. See the blog post Oh no! The hateful SPLC hate group hates us! and the section: references on the SPLC - Southern Poverty Law Center hate group.

Read about Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform projects, and read about CAIRCO history below:

Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform (CAIRCO) officers and advisors

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Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform (CAIRCO) Director:

Fred Elbel

CAIRCO Research Director:

Stan Weekes

CAIRCO Advisory Council

Gray Buckley, Inspector/Deputy Director (Ret.) - CBI
Jonette W. Christian, Founder, Mainers for Immigration Reform, Maine
William G. Herron, Ph.D. (founder)
Cynthia Kendoll, President, Oregonians for Immigration Reform
Charles L. King, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Spanish, University of Colorado
Mike McGarry (Ex-officio advisor; former Co-Director; now deceased. Read about Mike McGarry.)
John N. Sampson, Retired Deportation Officer ICE, CEO CSI Consulting and Investigations LLC

Population and immigration concerns of Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform

U.S. population will double this century - within the lifetimes of children born today. Nearly 70% of this doubling will be caused by mass immigration - that is, by recent immigrants and their descendents. That will require roughly twice as many houses, cars, roads, prisons, hospitals, schools, water treatment facilities, etc. The result will be twice as much pollution, sprawl and pressure on our dwindling natural resources and the resources that we draw from other countries.

The United States has the highest population growth rate of all developed countries in the world1 and at more than 291 million2, is the third most populous country in the world3. Colorado is growing at twice the national rate. The United States Census Bureau tells us that if current trends continue, America will become a country of more than a half-a-billion within the lifetimes of our school-age children. Immigration will be responsible for 70 percent that growth4. Leaving such a legacy has been described as a hate crime against future generations.

History shows the U.S. traditionally has allowed relatively reasonable numbers to immigrate, thus allowing for decades of assimilation. After the peak of about 8.7 million in the first decade of the 20th century, numbers steadily decreased. Immigration averaged a nourishing stream of 178,000 per year from 1925 through 1965. From a broader perspective, 1776 to 1976, we averaged approximately 230,000 legal immigrants per year. Those numbers contrast vividly with our current unsustainable mass immigration level of approximately one million legal and 700,000 illegal immigrants per year.

Because immigration encourages migration between states, we need only look to California for a glimpse of Colorado's and the nation's future. California has nearly doubled its population in the last 35 years5. Ninety-six percent of its explosive growth in the 1990's was a result of immigration6. California, a state now larger at 35 million than most countries of the world7, is expected to exceed 52 million within 25 years8. California's Central Valley, a breadbasket of the nation and the world, is now being bulldozed to accommodate explosive, immigration-driven growth. The warning signs are glaring while the solution, a single act of Congress, goes begging.

We are a nation of limited resources, and we are now straining those resources through mass immigration. The land-rush days have long past. Considering one acre of open land is lost through urbanization and degradation for each person added to the U.S. population-about three million a year9-it is clear we need to act now to ensure those resources will be available for future generations. Many scientific experts agree that a population of 150 million is the nation's optimal carrying capacity - that number which will sustain the present generation while preserving resources for future generations.

Continuous population growth is unsustainable. America is now full. A majority of Americans of all ethnic and racial backgrounds favor substantial reduction in legal immigration and a complete halt to illegal immigration10.

Accordingly, CAIR is calling for a pro-active, national policy to stabilize U.S. population and conserve our natural resources by insisting Congress set more realistic numbers of legal immigration (not exceeding 100,000 per year).

America need not apologize for taking these necessary, important steps to stabilize its population. Indeed, taking appropriate action now is indicative of wisdom, character and responsibility. We at CAIR are pro-immigrant and pro-immigration but at numbers consistent with sustainability. America will always be a land of opportunity for those seeking a better life, but it can not and must not come at the expense of its finite resources and of the future of its most precious of all resources, our children and grandchildren.

References

1. Dr. Albert Bartlett, Professor Emeritus, University of Colorado
2. U.S. Census Bureau
3. Population Reference Bureau
4. Roy Beck, Social Contract Journal
5. U.S. Census Bureau
6. Californians for Population Stabilization
7. California Department of Finance
8. New York Times
9. Dr. David Pimentel, Cornell University
10. Wall Street Journal poll, Roper Poll, Hispanic USA Group survey

CAIRCO Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

In a world of deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."
- George Orwell

1. What's CAIRCO's goal? What are you trying to accomplish?

Our goal is to educate both the public and elected officials as to the consequences of current mass immigration policies in order to move Congress to reduce immigration to sustainable numbers, 200,000 or fewer per year1.

We can never have a sane immigration policy until we have a sane population policy. We need a population policy that protects the interests of future generations!

"It is both a right and a responsibility of a democratic society to manage immigration so that it serves the national interest." - as stated by the late U.S. Congresswoman, Barbara Jordan.

2. Who is Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform?

CAIRCO (also known in Colorado as CAIR) is Colorado volunteer organization whose purpose is to educate the public as to the serious consequences of overpopulation driven by mass immigration. CAIR is not a "membership" organization per se. We are an organization of concerned citizens - all volunteers, from diverse backgrounds.

3. Why do you think the current level of immigration is too high?

Let's look at the numbers. Most of these numbers are from the Census Bureau2:

  • Current U.S. population is over 313 million!
  • Nearly 70% of population growth since 1970 was due to recent arrivals and their descendents.
  • Current Census Bureau projections show at least a doubling to over half-a-billion this century - within the lifetimes of children born today!
     
          Year       Middle             High
          ____       _________      _________
          2050       404 million       553 million
          2100       571 million       1.2 billion
     
  • Between now and 2050, 70% of our population growth will be due to post-1970 immigrants and their descendents3. Under current policy, the U.S. population will grow unceasingly. It won't stop and we already have:
    • too much congestion
    • too much traffic
    • too much pollution
    • too much use of limited resources such as water, soil and fossil fuels
  • Colorado's population growth rate is 2.3 percent a year - equal to that of Ghana and El Salvador, and higher than that of the Philippines.

 

4. What is so special about "post-1970" immigrants? Are you suggesting the numbers grow faster after 1970?

Congress, without citizen input, changed traditional immigration policy in 1965. The impact of this policy started to be felt in 1970 as immigration numbers began to increase dramatically to the extremely high levels of today3. The only remedy for this unending population growth this has caused is for Congress to change immigration policy today and return once more to levels of immigration that will allow our population to stabilize.

5. Some say your position is racist.

Absolutely not. This is about salvaging the futures of our children and grandchildren. They come in all colors and races.

Race isn't an issue with us, only overall numbers are. Surveys show that 72% of Black Americans think immigration should be cut to less than 1/3 of its current level, and that the majority of Hispanics think that immigration should be cut. Our only issue is the numbers.

6. Why do you take a position that discriminates against minorities?

We don't. This is about salvaging the futures of ALL of America's children and grandchildren. They come in all colors and races. We don't indulge in discriminating against anyone because of their race. In fact, we oppose those who discriminate against others based upon race. Our position comes from concern for the future of our country, which will have to endure endless population growth as a result of mass immigration. Leaving such a legacy has been described as a crime against future generations.

7. What level of immigration do you propose?

Traditional 1925-1965 levels of immigration were 178,000 per year4. We call for population stabilization through immediate immigration reduction to 200,000 or fewer. U.S. Census Bureau projections show if we achieved the Bureau's "replacement" numbers today, the very best we could do is 327 million in 50 years3. Even that is unacceptable.

8. What do you mean the U.S. is full, there's plenty of room?

Look around Denver with all the traffic, congestion, and pollution; the answer should be obvious. Even if new growth is in unpopulated areas like western Kansas, people in this country use an incredible amount of resources per person. We must also consider something known as biological carrying capacity. We can't continue drawing on and exhausting our limited resources without thinking of the futures of our children and grandchildren. We are losing three million acres of farmland every year. Twenty three percent of our underground aquifers are not recharging at their natural rates. All of this is related to unending population growth.

9. How do you propose which immigrants from which countries get into the U.S.?

We have no position on that - that's for Congress to decide. We don't care. We are only concerned about the numbers.

10. Immigrants have contributed to America in many ways. Should we now slam the door on them?

Our last open frontiers have been settled, and many of these settlers have been immigrants. As we noted in our About CAIR statement, CAIR is pro-immigrant and pro-immigration, but at reduced and reasonable levels.

People have been migrating for 10,000 years. Now, at this juncture, the U.S. is full. We aren't calling for closing the doors, only reducing immigration to numbers that will stabilize U.S. population. Saying immigration is good is just like saying rain is good. Certainly, both are good at certain levels, but disastrous if too much.

11. What's your relationship with other organizations?

CAIR is an independent Colorado-based alliance of individuals and organizations with a common purpose, stabilizing U.S. population through reduction of immigration to sustainable levels. We have been allied with others for specific projects, including ProjectUSA several years ago during our billboard project. Although we support the goals and objectives of FAIR (Federation for American Immigration Reform), it should be noted that we are not a subsidiary organization of FAIR.

12. What about population growth due to births?

Immigrants and their descendants are the primary cause for America's population explosion.

The population of the U.S. was on the road to stabilizing starting in 1970 - in other words, people here had decided on their own to have smaller family sizes and to bring our population growth to a standstill3. Since then, increasing levels of mass immigration are causing our population to grow endlessly. Unless the U.S. Government addresses this issue now, we will someday be like China where the Government must take drastic measures to stabilize population.  
For a very good explanation of this, see the background information at www.NumbersUSA.com.

13. What's your position on illegal aliens?

Enforce existing laws of the land regarding illegal immigration, locally and nationally. It is a responsibility of our law enforcement agencies to enforce the laws passed by Congress and by the State of Colorado. We support an immediate halt to illegal entry into our country, and the repatriation of those residing illegally in our country and in our state.

14. What right do you have to keep good people out of the U.S.?

Again, as the late U.S. Congressman, Barbara Jordan said, "It is both a right and a responsibility of a democratic society to manage immigration so that it serves the national interest."

If 1 million immigrants plus 700,000 illegal aliens per year is good for the U.S., why don't we increase the level to 5 or 10 million? The only way we can stabilize U.S. population is to return immigration numbers to sustainable, replacement levels.

15. What nations originally controlled the western United States?

In the Adams-Onis Treaty of 1819, the U.S. ceded to Spain the possession of Texas, California and New Mexico (lands included present-day Nevada, Utah, Arizona parts of Wyoming and Colorado). Other territories, including the Oregon territory, were ceded to the U.S. by Spain.

Mexico was not an independent nation until 1821.

By 1836 the Republic of Texas had established itself separate from Mexico and by 1846 Mexican control of California was in considerable question. Except (arguably) for the Civil War, Texas has been part of the United States since 1846.

In the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the U.S. paid Mexico approximately $20 million for all of present-day California, Nevada, and Utah, and parts of present-day Arisona, Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming. The nation of Mexico by then had officially controlled California and the mentioned territories for less than thirty years.

Los Angeles was named by Father Juan Crespi, a Spanish Franciscan priest and missionary who was born in Palma. He hailed from Europe.

San Antonio was named "San Antonio de Padua" by Spaniard Domingo Teran de los Rios in 1691. Teran, remembered today as the first provincial governor of Texas, was a member of the Spanish military who previously had spent twenty years in Spanish service in Peru.

San Francisco was named by Portuguese explorer Sebastian Rodriguez Cermeno, who claimed it for Spain.

References

1. Population Environment Balance
2. U.S. Census Bureau.
3. NumbersUSA.com, and Center for Immigration Studies.
4. SUSPS data and numbers.

History of Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform - and Defend Colorado Now - part 1

Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform was founded in the 1990's by Bill Herron, a refugee from Mexifornia. Bill and Jan Herron both put in a huge amount of effort pushing for immigration reform, especially within the GOP. Several years later, Bill turned directorship over to Fred Elbel and Mike McGarry. During that time, one of our projects involved placing billboards in the metro Denver area. At the time, it was a good way to increase awareness of the issue. (See the CAIRCO projects section for past and current projects.)

Fred then became the sole director and Mike was involved with several independent projects, such as the Stop Amnesty project in 2004 and Billboard Colorado in 2006. Stan Weekes then became the director for several years in the 2010 timeframe. He did an incredible amount of work behind the scenes working on issues related to immigration law enforcement in Colorado. Fred Elbel is the current director.

The Colorado Secure and Verifiable Identity Document Act - 2003

As a result of the proliferation of the bogus Mexican Matricula Consular ID card, Colorado passed the Colorado Secure and Verifiable Identity Document Act (HB 1224) in 2003. You can read the entire bill on the Colorado Legislature website: Colorado Secure and Verifiable Identity Document Act (HB03-1224).

The bill was worded with legal help from Friends of Immigration Law Enforcement and was sponsored by Senator Andrews and Representative Lee and then signed into law by Governor Owens on May 22, 2003.

HB03-1224 states that:

A public entity that is issuing an identification card, license, permit, or official document shall not authorize acceptance of an identification document, nor shall a public official acting in an official capacity accept an identification document before issuing such documents, unless such identification document is a secure and verifiable document."

HB-1224 changes Colorado statutes, clarifying that when a person knowingly presents false documentation to a police officer (including a false Matricula Consular card, false Social Security Card, or false Immigration card), the presenter may be prosecuted for presenting false identification to law enforcement.

Government employees who accept the Matricula Consular, or another from of non-secure and unverifiable identification, are risking the loss of their governmental immunity if they accept the card for any government service, and they will incur direct personal liability to civil litigation.

More information

Read the CAIRCO summary of HB-1224.

Here is in-depth background information.

As a result of our success in Colorado, CAIR put together a Toolkit for Activists in other states to use to pass similar legislation.

- Fred Elbel

 

The border trip and Minuteman Project - CAIRCO history - part 2

This is the second part in the Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform History series.

The Border Trip

As a dedicated conservationist and lifelong environmentalist, I [Fred Elbel] organized a trip in April, 2004 to the Arizona border to see first-hand the devastation caused by the illegal immigration invasion. Author Frosty Wooldridge (How to Live a Life of Adventure) and videographer Gary H. joined me. Richard H. and Henry Harvey gave us personal tours of the border south of Sierra Vista. We spent pitch black evenings using night scopes; we examined massive "layup areas" and endless piles of trash and human waste. We were told that we were the first "outsiders" to document the invasion.

We spent time with Glen Spencer of AmericanPatrol.com (do see their daily news updates) and watched them operate their amazing remotely-operated reconnaissance airplane.

We interviewed Roger Barnett, who single-handedly has apprehended over 12,000 illegal aliens on his ranch, and just fought a lawsuit by illegal aliens that was supported by MALDEF and the bigoted Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) .

We visited the Tohono O'odham Indian Nation. We met with former Border Patrol Agents John Slagle (read his book) and Gunny McCann, who spent several days showing us what the mainstream media will never show America - the destruction, trash and rape trees. I then arranged a personalized tour of Organ Pipe National Monument by an anonymous park ranger. At the time, 30% of the once-pristine park was closed due to danger from drug runners and illegal aliens. Now it is much worse.

Here is a collection of photos of border incursions.

The Minuteman Project

In early 2005, Mike McGarry suggested, "These guys are doing a month on the border in April. One thing we do know how to do is media. Let's go help." That was the beginning of a great adventure - and contribution. We spent the first few days in Tombstone sending out press releases and contacting the media. At the end of the first week when Mike had to return home, it was clear that we had a tiger by the tail.

I stayed for the entire month as Media Liaison. My typical work day began at 6:30am. The phones literally did not stop ringing until 7pm. Then I drove down to the border posts to take photos of volunteers, then back to Sierra Vista to get high speed internet access to update the MMP website with current information. (Here's the original Minuteman website archive with photos.) Then back to the Tombstone Tumbleweed headquarters where I shared floor space for the first few weeks with a few resident scorpions and spiders.

The volume of media calls, talk shows and interviews was simply astounding. More surprising was the fact that the international media simply showed up on our doorstep. We met with reporters from the Germany, the Netherlands, Russia, France and Sweden. We did telephone interviews with media in Canada, Venezuela, and Japan. I spent considerable time with reporters from Spain who had the same concern in their country, as the EU now permits unrestricted travel within the EU to anyone who could sneak across their border.

I did a lengthy interview late one evening with a woman reporter from Mexico who had mustered the courage to visit us with a friend and translator. She asked if I knew what the Mexican papers were saying - that we were apprehending people at gunpoint and forcibly separating babies from their mothers. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Hannity broadcast live from the border. Lou Dobbs paid a surprise visit. MMP leaders visited Washington at the request of Congressman Tancredo to speak to the Immigration Reform Caucus. El Presidente Bush called us "vigilantes" while he negotiated the Security Prosperity Partnership (see Society for American Sovereignty).

(See the article The Minuteman Project - A Month on the Border in The Social Contract journal. I highly recommend this journal to anyone concerned about the future of our nation. (Read it online).

Thanks to everyone who participated on the MMP, including Bob and Robert, Wanda, Kent and Jackie and everyone else who volunteered their time to protect America against the invasion. Never underestimate the impact that you - as a concerned sovereign American - can have.

- Fred Elbel

The Defend Colorado Now (DCN) initiative - CAIRCO history - part 3

This is the third in the immigration sanity history perspective of Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform.

The Defend Colorado Now (DCN) initiative

There are two ways to get an initiative on the ballot in Colorado: 1) via the initiative petition process (such as the Defend Colorado Now initiative), and 2) by the legislature referring a measure on the ballot. The initiative process is more difficult with many hurdles to be overcome along the way. But it often is the best choice when no other alternatives are to be found to implement the will of the people.

The Defend Colorado Now initiative was a pro-citizen, pro-legal-immigrant initiative that would amend the Colorado Constitution to prevent persons unlawfully present in Colorado from receiving publicly funded services that are not required by federal law. (Read the initiative).

2003: The DCN initiative was filed on December 31, 2003 by Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO) and was carried forward by Dr. Bill Herron, founder of CAIR, who we thank for his tireless work on the initiative. The initiative was known at the time as Save Colorado Now, named after the supporting issue committee as registered with the Secretary of State.

The initiative process calls for the initiative title ("Shall there be...") to be reviewed by the Colorado Title Setting Board where opponents can challenge the wording. On March 3, 2004 the initiative was approved by the Colorado Title Setting Board.

2004: The initiative was then challenged by the Open Borders Lobby and was taken to the Colorado Supreme Court. The Court issued a decision in favor of the initiative title wording on May 10, 2004. But the delay in this process did not give us adequate time to collect signatures in 2004. This was the ultimate objective of the Open Borders Lobby.

2005: The initiative could not be run in 2005 because Colorado law allows only tax-related initiatives to be run in odd-numbered years. In February 2005, Colorado House Bill 1271 was introduced in order to implement the intent of the initiative, but the bill was defeated.

2006: Fred Elbel turned over directorship of CAIR to Stan Weekes. Fred Elbel, former Governor Dick Lamm (D-CO), and Waldo Benavidez, Director of the Auraria Community Center, registered Defend Colorado Now as the supporting issue committee. John Andrews (R-CO), former President of the Colorado Senate, joined the committee and remained through June, 2006.

On January 4, 2006, DCN went before the Title Setting Board, who reaffirmed the initiative title. On January 18, DCN again went before the Title Setting Board to defend against a challenge by the open borders lobby. The Title Setting Board unanimously reaffirmed the initiative title. This was the fourth time since 2004 that the Title Setting Board had reviewed - and approved - the title (as had the Colorado Supreme Court in 2004).

On June 12, 2006, the Colorado Supreme Court issued a blatantly political surprise ruling on the DCN initiative saying in effect that they did not want Coloradans to vote on the initiative in November.

The Court, in a 4-2 ruling, stated that the initiative was not a "single subject" as required by statute because it would not only restrict administrative services to illegal aliens, but also would decrease taxpayer expenditures in doing so. (See this legal perspective).

This was the same Court that in 2004 had issued a ruling that said the title of the initiative was indeed a single subject. Why the about-face? Simple - it was clear that the initiative would pass! DCN had rallied thousands of volunteers and tens of thousands of voters on the DCN initiative. Polls showed that voters overwhelmingly wanted illegal immigration stopped. DCN would have had no problem collecting the required number of signatures (we already had nearly 50,000 of the required 68,000 signatures!)

Petitions for rehearing were filed by DCN and by the Colorado Attorney General under the direction of Governor Bill Owens (R-CO) . On June 26, 2006, the Colorado Supreme Court issued a second blow to the rights of the Sovereign People of Colorado to decide via the initiative process how their tax dollars would be spent. The Court denied the petitions for rehearing.

In this ruling, the Court tried to modify its embarrassingly inadequate legal reasoning by substituting other inadequate and embarrassingly political reasoning. It was clear to everyone - from the Governor of Colorado to people on the street - that black robes could not conceal a political agenda.

On June 13, 2006, Governor Bill Owens held a press conference where he derided the Supreme Court for their arbitrary, unfair and biased ruling, and called upon the Colorado Attorney General to support DCN in calling for a rehearing by the Court. In addition, Governor Owens stated that if the court did not consider the motion in a timely manner, he would call for an emergency legislative session in order to vote on referring the initiative to the voters.

On June 29, 2006, Governor Owens called a special legislative session that convened on July 6, 2006 to address the initiative.

Perspective

You may find these articles interesting:

Liberals Beware: There is a high cost to "cheap" labor, by Richard D. Lamm

The negative effects of rampant illegal immigration into the United States, by Waldo Benavidez

Intergenerational justice, by Fred Elbel

For more information, see the Defend Colorado Now initiative.

The 2006 Special Legislative Session - CAIRCO history - part 4 - Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform

This is the fourth part of Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform history (and Defend Colorado Now history) that relates to significant immigration reform legislation passed in Colorado.

By June, 2006, Defend Colorado Now (DCN) had collected nearly three fourths of the required signatures to place an initiative on the ballot that would prevent persons unlawfully present in Colorado from receiving publicly funded services.

We were on a roll... until the Colorado Supreme Court, in a blatant act of biased political activism, struck down the Defend Colorado Now (DCN) initiative in June, 2006. Governor Bill Owens (R-CO) then called a special legislative session to address the issue.

Calling the Special Session

There are two ways to get an initiative on the ballot in Colorado:

  1. the initiative petition process (the route DCN had taken), and
  2. by the legislature directing a referendum to the ballot.

The Governor could call the session with a either a general mandate to address the issue of illegal immigration as embodied in the DCN initiative, or a specific mandate to directly refer a referendum to the ballot - which in essence would "overrule" the Supreme Court.

Reasons supporting directing a referendum to the ballot included:

  • The Sovereign People of Colorado should be allowed to vote on the question.
  • It would help keep the Supreme Court from issuing biased political decisions in the future.
  • It would (if passed) make Colorado a leading and visible state on the issue.
  • It would prevent passage of weaker immigration reform legislation in the special session.

Reasons supporting the general legislative mandate (and no ballot referral) included:

The initiative had gained significant media exposure to make the immigration reform politically "hot". With public scrutiny, it was less likely that mere token immigration reform legislation would be passed.

  • Reasonably solid immigration reform legislation could be passed immediately.
  • The People of Colorado already supported the initiative - their voices had been loudly heard.
  • The March, 2006 illegal alien marches had raised public awareness of the need to deal with the invasion.
  • With a direct ballot referral, no immigration-related legislation at all would be passed in the special session.

Additional important considerations:

  • There was a small chance that the voters could vote down the initiative if it was referred to the ballot.
  • If the initiative were passed, it almost certainly would have been challenged before the Colorado Supreme Court - the same Court that had earlier abandoned principle and ethics to strike down the initiative. This was the case with Arizona Proposition 200.
  • Court challenges would require time and money to fight, as was the case in Arizona with Prop 200.
  • If the initiative had passed Court challenges, implementation and funding would then become the responsibility of the legislature in 2007 - when public pressure would have faded.
  • Implementation would therefore be delayed until a year later when the 2007 session ended, or possibly longer in the case of lengthy court challenges.

Defend Colorado Now's Position

The politically diversified Defend Colorado Now committee consisted of Fred Elbel, Waldo Benavidez, former Governor Dick Lamm (D-CO), and John Andrews (R-CO), former President of the Colorado Senate. After intense debate, the committee decided to support the more general objective of seeking immigration reform legislation in the special session. (See this letter.)

There were those who saw the DCN initiative as a perfect wedge issue that would leverage the acquisition of partisan political seats in the upcoming election. However, the fundamental purpose of the initiative was to address immigration in Colorado, not to facilitate more specific political agendas.

The decision was that a "bird in the hand" was worth a lot. (John Andrews dissented and subsequently resigned from DCN).

The Special Session

The special day-and-night six-day legislative session began on July 6, 2006. Dick Lamm worked intensely behind the scene with the Democratic leadership in order to negotiate meaningful legislation. Fred engaged in ongoing strategy sessions with the DCN committee and advisors. Mike Hethmon of IRLI was particularly helpful.

Fred Elbel, Stan Weekes, and Waldo Benavidez observed the House and Senate sessions. We definitely confirmed the old adage that "lobbying consists of long periods of sheer boredom punctuated with moments of sheer desperation and panic".

The Results

The Special Session passed a dozen immigration-related bills, which the Governor signed into law. The more important bills include:

HB (House Bill) 1023 - This bill limits state services to illegal aliens and embodies the essence of the DCN initiative and is similar to section 9 of the strong Georgia Bill passed in 2006. The was the most important reform bill to come out of the session.

HB 1023 requires each applicant who applies for public benefits to affirm that they are lawfully present in the country, and thus denies most non-emergency services to illegal aliens over the age of 18. Those seeking benefits must present valid ID (from a list determined by the Colorado Department of Revenue) and sign a non-notarized affirmation of lawful presence. If a legal alien utilizes a green card, verification of the A-number is confirmed with US Citizenship and Immigration Services via the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlement (SAVE) program. Illegal aliens will continue to receive federally mandated services, including K-12 education, but are denied a multitude of previously obtainable services.

Other bills include HB 1017, HB 1009 , SB 90, HB 1306, HB 1343.

See this summary of 2006 Colorado immigration legislation.

2006 - A good year

The Defend Colorado Now initiative was instrumental in bringing the immigration issue to the forefront and gaining the passage of immigration legislation in Colorado. As is typically the case, that legislation could be improved - but it was a solid step forward.

- Fred Elbel