MARILYN MUSGRAVE STALLING ON IMMIGRATION REFORM
Angie Paccione calls on Musgrave to “step up to the plate.”
FORT COLLINS—State Rep. Angie Paccione today called on Marilyn Musgrave and Congress to stop stalling on immigration. The Republican-led Congress has decided not to move forward with immigration legislation and instead has planned field hearings to drag out the process until Election Day. Musgrave, who has a history of inaction on immigration, signed a letter requesting a hearing in Colorado.
“If Marilyn Musgrave and the Republican leadership truly wanted immigration reform, they would have stepped up to the plate years ago,” Paccione said. “Instead, they’re sitting idly by while enforcement has dropped drastically. Worse yet, they’re playing politics with the American people on this important issue.”
According to the Washington Post, in 1999 the federal government levied fines against 417 companies. In 2004, it fined only three. In subsequent years, Marilyn Musgrave and the Republican leaders in Congress have alotted only half the funding they’ve promised for border patrol and immigration enforcement agents.
The Intelligence Reform Act of 2004 authorized an additional 2,000 border patrol agents and 800 immigration enforcement agents per year for five years, but for FY2006 Marilyn Musgrave voted to provide funding for only 1,000 border patrol agents and only 350 immigration enforcement agents. For FY2007, Marilyn Musgrave supported a plan that falls short of specified levels by 800 border patrol agents and 500 immigration enforcement agents.
“Marilyn’s record shows a pattern of lax border security and weak workplace enforcement,” Paccione said. “And now she’s talking about getting tough on immigration? Where has she been for the last four years?”
Angie Paccione predicts the hearings will be a traveling roadshow, designed to draw attention away from Congress’ foot-dragging.
She urged Congressional committee members at the hearings to look at Colorado’s last legislative session for examples of productive immigration reform. Several laws were passed targeting traffickers of illegal immigrants, punishing state contractors who hire illegal immigrants, and increasing cooperation between local authorities and federal immigration officials (see list below). Angie Paccione was the prime House sponsor of SB-225, which creates a Colorado State Patrol division to crack down on trafficking and smuggling.
“They’ve done less in Congress than we have in Colorado, and that’s not something the American people can be too proud of,” Paccione said. “Since Marilyn and her colleagues in Congress won’t implement necessary reform, we’ve had to do their work for them here in Colorado. But they need to stop shifting the burden to the states.”
“For the record, I do not support amnesty,” Paccione said, “What I do support is increased border security and tougher penalties for employers who knowingly break the law. But we also need to do away with a lot of the bureaucratic red tape that’s preventing employers from hiring legal workers.”
At the state level, Paccione applauded the recent compromise between Defend Colorado Now and Keep Colorado Safe, and she welcomed a special session that focuses on cooperation and real results.
She added, “Immigration is an issue we need to continue to address, regardless of party affiliation. Let’s put party politics aside, and remember that we’re talking about people’s lives and livelihoods, both the workers and the business owners who are employing them. Let’s move forward with sensible and substantial reform.”
2006 State Laws Supported By Angie Paccione
SB-90: Increases cooperation between local and state law enforcement and federal immigration officials
SB-206: Makes human smuggling a Class 3 felony
SB-207: Makes human trafficking a Class 3 felony
SB-225 (prime sponsor): Creates a Colorado State Patrol division to crack down on trafficking and smuggling, and allocates $3.7 million for a 24-member staff
HB-1343: Prohibits a state agency from hiring a contractor who knowingly employs illegal immigrants
HJR-1023: 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 address the WGA’s proposed temporary guest worker program.