City rejects immigration measure
Proposal aimed to bar city employees from questioning status
By MATTHEW BENSON
People line up as they take turns speaking to City Council members Tuesday about the controversial ordinance dealing with immigration.
The city of Fort Collins won't set limits on when its employees or police can ask residents whether they're in the country legally.
City Council rejected a measure Tuesday that would have barred city employees from asking individuals' immigration status except in specified cases. The so-called Human Rights Protection Ordinance(bullshit spin) failed on a 5-2 vote, with councilmen David Roy and Ben Manvel as the sole support.
"I think there are other means available," Councilwoman Karen Weitkunat said. "It does not need a law."
The ordinance was introduced in 2003 and has since gone through at least nine drafts, becoming one of the city's most emotional issues along the way. Tuesday was no different.
People on both sides of the matter packed City Hall, filling City Council's chambers and spilling into an adjoining room. Testimony and discussion stretched across three hours, with those testifying against the proposal outnumbering supporters 24-16.
Advocates argued the proposal would offer a measure of security to all residents - especially minorities and others who have come under increased immigration scrutiny since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
But opponents were just as vocal in calling the ordinance a sanctuary policy that would ask city employees to turn a blind eye to illegal aliens living in their midst.
In the end, the council opted for the status quo.
The proposed ordinance would have placed strict limits on when and how residents could be asked their immigration status.
Exemptions would have been offered in a handful of cases such as determining eligibility for government programs. Police could have asked about immigration status when it was essential to an investigation or prosecution of a crime, but not in cases of petty offenses or traffic infractions.
Critics said the measure would have tied the hands of law enforcement, and Chief Dennis Harrison has warned it could have made his officers unwitting criminals while doing their jobs.
Fort Collins resident Linda Knowlton told the council the measure "would not just turn a blind eye to lawbreakers in our midst, but would reward them with sanctuary."
But proponents said the ordinance was more about human rights and dignity than sanctuary. Without the assurance offered by the ordinance, they argued, illegal immigrants often are so fearful of deportation that they won't report crimes or seek medical help. (Riiiight. I was in the ER of our hospital 2 months ago when my wife had her miscarriage. TONS of illegals.)
"This allows people of this community to understand they're accepted members of this community," said Blane Harding, a Colorado State University professor (a university professor? Nah, not those bastions of conservatism!)and member of the task force that helped author the ordinance. "To me, it makes sure people have the ability to live life without fear."
But the council ultimately sided with concerns that approving the ordinance would have left the implicit impression that the city looks the other way when it comes to immigration violations.
"Where is the respect for the laws of this country?" asked Councilman Diggs Brown.
He and Councilman Kurt Kastein noted the strain that illegal immigrants place on city services that already are at risk as the city cuts $5 million from its 2006 budget.
"We're in a budget crunch now," Brown said. "We can barely afford to take care of ourselves."
Originally published October 5, 2005
Don't paint all the CSU profs with a broad nasty brush.
Steve Schulman, who I actually had for economics and who is a bad ass professor, wrote a SCATHING opposition to this horseshit in the Coloradoan a few weeks back.
What a fuckstick of an idea though.
Fort Fun is doomed to become another fuckstick city like Boulder if we're not careful.
BTW, Pete, we should go have a beer sometime.
My law office is right downtown.
I'll have to search for that article, I'd love to see it.
Sorry about the comment about CSU - I saw a good friend go back to school at age 34, and emerge 2 years later with a bachelor's degree and a sniveling, leftist attitude.
A beer sounds good. I've been meaning to get over to Coopersmith's for some Handjabi Punjabi Ale.
Denver is where the illegal that shot one Cop and KILLED another
...........because they wouldn't let him back into a party
It turned out that he had been pulled over and let go several times with no license\insurance
and, he worked at a restaurant OWNED by the mayor who had received notices that he was using
fraudulent ID. He is now successfully fighting extradition from mexico....where he ran after the shooting
Good luck avoiding "sanctuary city" classification........any idea about "special order 40" rules yet?
Yep, the press carefully supressed most discussion about illegals when that happened.
[srgtar15] I thought you lived in free America? [/srgarts15]
Haven't you heard? This is a sanctuary COUNTRY!
Yeah, its funny.........but its NOT funny at the same time
The good news is, that I am constantly hearing, that congress is constantly hearing, that "America is PISSED"