Differing Views in Colorado on New Arizona Immigration Law

April 28 2010, 11:39 AM

Arizona's new immigration law, according to Arizona state Representative John Kavanagh, a Republican, is meant to instill so much fear in undocumented immigrants that they will leave the state on their own. Passed last week, the law asks police to question the legal status of anyone they "reasonably suspect" of being in America illegally. The strategy is called "attrition through enforcement," Kavanagh, a community college criminal-justice professor, tells the The Arizona Republic, meaning that "rather than conducting large-scale active roundups of illegal immigrants, our intention is to make Arizona a very uncomfortable place for them to be so they leave or never come here in the first place." And, many Latinos are leaving, according to the newspaper, even if they are in the country legally, because they now view Arizona as unfriendly. The law has hit some nerves in southern Colorado, too. State Senator Abel Tapia, a Pueblo Democrat, says it is "unsettling" to think he could "be stopped by police in Arizona just because of my appearance and have to prove my citizenship," according to The Pueblo Chieftain. But Dan Maes and Scott McInnis, Republican candidates for governor, take a different view. "I congratulate Arizona for taking this step," says Maes, an Evergreen businessman, who notes Colorado state law also allows for the arrest of illegal immigrants. "I think Arizona is following our lead. The problem is, Colorado doesn't have the courage to enforce its laws." McInnis spokesman Sean Duffy says, "Scott believes that illegal means illegal. The concept (behind the Arizona law) is fine with him. He'd fine-tune it for Colorado, but in the main, he supports what Arizona is doing." Meanwhile, the Mexican government has issued a travel warning that its citizens should immediately start carrying immigration documentation to "avoid unnecessary confrontations" with police in Arizona, according to the Yuma Sun in Arizona. "While the criteria has not been defined for when, where, and whom the authorities can question, it should be assumed that all Mexican citizens could be bothered and questioned without a major reason at any moment," Mexico's government adds.

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