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The Latest Batch of Immigration Legislation: Sound Familiar?

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Congress’ failure to pass the DREAM Act last November may have seemed like the end of an effort to obtain in-state tuition for undocumented-immigrant students—at least temporarily. But once again state legislators are taking up the cause. For the eighth year in the past decade, state Democrats are drafting a DREAM-like bill, notes 9News. Despite the failure of past bills, Senators Angela Giron and Michael Johnston are hoping to convert Republicans on the issue after making a notable tweak: “Vouchers from the state that currently go to in-state tuition to help defray costs would not go toward undocumented students,” meaning no cost to the state. But the savings may not be enough to overcome the Republican aim to get tough on illegal immigration.

Case in point: On Wednesday, state Senator Kent Lambert, a Colorado Springs Republican, introduced an Arizona-style enforcement measure, reports the Denver Post. While Eric Brown, Governor John Hickenlooper’s spokesman, points to the Arizona law’s “troubling constitutional issues,” Lambert seeks to allow police to arrest anyone they believe to be facing deportation or is wanted by federal immigration authorities.

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Julien Ross, executive director of the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, blasts the idea: “At a time when most Coloradans are concerned about jobs and the economy, it is mind-boggling that a handful of Colorado senators would pursue the same divisive legislation that has cost the state of Arizona millions in lost tourism revenue and wasted taxpayer dollars on lawsuit challenges.” Lost revenue is, in fact, a possibility, according to a report from the Center for American Progress (cited by the Greeley Tribune). Arizona’s hospitality industry lost more than $253 million in total economic output after passing its law.

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