Three Democrats joined with all the Republicans in the state House to pass controversial legislation that would force local governments throughout Colorado to join the Secure Communities program, which matches fingerprints of people who are arrested and jailed with a Homeland Security database to see if they are in the country illegally. While Denver, Arapahoe, and El Paso counties are participating in a pilot program before it becomes mandatory across the nation in 2013, the bill would ensure that local cities and counties can't opt out, says HB 1140 sponsor Representative David Balmer, a Centennial Republican (Durango Herald).
Thornton Democratic Representative John Soper, who voted for the proposal, claims "one of every three" of his constituents he's spoken with sees the issue as a concern (Denver Post). But Representative Ed Vigil, a Fort Garland Democrat, says the measure would force small communities with limited resources to spend more on enforcement and do little to prevent illegal immigration (Pueblo Chieftain). A committee in the Democrat-dominated Senate takes up the bill next.