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Paccione Bill Contributes to Comprehensive Immigration Reform - 5/6/2006


MAY 6, 2006



SB-225 “puts boots on the ground,” says bill sponsor Rep. Angie Paccione

(Fort Collins)  This week several important immigration bills passed the Colorado General Assembly, including legislation sponsored in the House by Rep. Angie Paccione (SB-225) that will allocate $3.7 million to the Colorado State Patrol in the next two years to create a 24-member division to crack down on adult and child trafficking and smuggling networks, including those that smuggle immigrants illegally into the U.S.

“This bill puts boots on the ground,” Paccione said. “It cuts straight to the heart of the problem: the wholesalers, the criminal networks that deal in human cargo.”

Senate Bill 225 works in conjunction with SB-206 and SB-207, which make human trafficking and smuggling class 3 felonies, and it complements other immigration reform legislation recently passed by the General Assembly by overwhelming margins.

Just last week, Governor Owens signed into law a bill cosponsored by Paccione (Senate Bill 90) that increases cooperation between local and state law enforcement officials and the federal government with regard to illegal immigration. On Thursday the legislature passed Senate Bill 110, which establishes a $50,000 fine for producing fake identification documents. And House Bill 1343, which prohibits a state agency from hiring a contractor who knowingly employs illegal immigrants, passed on Friday.

“While the federal government should take the lead on immigration reform, here in Colorado we’re doing things that can reasonably be done to target criminal networks,” Paccione said. “I think we've done a good job so far.”

Paccione also has voted for House Joint Resolution 1023, which endorses the comprehensive immigration reform measures espoused by the Western Governor’s Association, including enhanced border security, an improved employment visa system, and increased funding by the federal government. The resolution does not support or oppose the WGA’s proposed temporary guest worker program. HJR-1023 passed the House this week and is expected to pass the Senate next week.

“The federal government should do its job establishing and enforcing comprehensive immigration legislation, including a sensible guest worker program,” Paccione said. “We’ll get nowhere with knee-jerk reactions.”

Paccione said she was confident that Governor Owens would sign the remaining state bills into law, adding, “Immigration is an issue that America needs to address, regardless of party affiliation. When we put party politics aside, we can move forward with sensible and substantial reform.”


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