Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

OUR VIEW: Immigration law would impoverish Colorado (vote on it here)

Wayne Laugesen Updated: November 29, 2010 at 12:00 am

Republicans may be off to a horrible start. At a meeting of the Colorado Republican Study Committee in Denver on Monday, Sen.-elect Kent Lambert, R-Colorado Springs, announced his plan to kick off the session in January with an immigration law like Arizona’s SB1070. It’s a proposal for big-government control. It would burden taxpayers while stifling production and trade. It is a bad idea on too many counts to enumerate.

Examine the reaction of Steve Schuck , a leading force in Colorado conservative politics and a major supporter of former congressman, presidential candidate and gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo — arguably the country’s leading crusader against illegal immigration. (See Schuck's entire e-mail )

After learning of Lambert’s plan for a radical immigration bill, Schuck sent an e-mail to Sen. Bill Cadman, a Colorado Springs Republican and chairman of the minority caucus, and copied a long list of ranking Republicans. It asks Cadman: “Can you please get your caucus members to table their individual agendas and focus totally on the damned economy? Kent (Lambert) is a great guy, but making headlines by coming out of the chute with an immigration bill as our initial, signature effort appears to evidence some serious tone deafness.”

Nicely stated. Our economy needs help. That means we need more trade and production of goods, services and commodities — not less. We cannot fix the economy by impeding the creation of wealth. We do not magically wind up with more production of goods, services and commodities by policing the residential status of professionals and workers with brown skin and broken English who help provide goods, services, commodities and trade. We do not enable prosperity by paying to incarcerate workers, at huge taxpayer expense, for the noncriminal infraction of lacking permission to reside here. We do not facilitate production and trade by jailing mothers and fathers, leaving their children in peril, because of a suspected civil dispute with the federal government. Sure, immigration is a mess. But the solution will be increased quotas, enhanced border control and other reasonable federal reforms that favor prosperity and order.

The Arizona law is a legislated economic boondoggle. A study by Arizona-based Elliott D. Pollack & Co. found that Arizona has lost $141 million just from the meetings and conventions that went elsewhere, so far, to protest SB1070. During the next two to three years, canceled conventions may cost the state $253 million in economic output and will negatively affect 2,800 jobs. The report estimates the law will cost Arizona $86 million in lost wages over the next two to three years. That will put more workers on state aid, adding to the cost of the law. It is legislated poverty, all about creating expense while reducing production, consumption and trade.

(Vote in poll to the right in red type. Must vote to see results. Thanks!)

The tangible losses pertaining to meetings and conventions don’t include the loss of leisure tourists, the costs of soured trade relations and the costs of enforcing the new law. Don’t be surprised if Arizonans soon tire of paying for poverty politics and demand a repeal of SB1070.

It’s even worse to propose this law in Colorado. We aren’t overwhelmed with immigration problems, and the voters have spoken. If immigration concerns were paramount, we would have elected Tancredo as governor.

Reports from PBS and other left-leaning media organizations show credible direct links between the passage of SB1070 and private prison corporations. Benson, Ariz., City Manager Glenn Nichols told PBS that two men tried to sell him on hosting a private prison for illegal immigrants before SB1070 became news. How would they fill it? By getting the Legislature to pass a tough new immigration law.

Activist media organizations are hard to trust, but the tie-in to private prisons makes sense. If true, the Arizona immigration law is a government redistribution scheme designed to take money from ordinary taxpayers and channel it to powerful special interests that fund politicians.

Arizona’s immigration mistake is costly and senseless. It’s a ticket to poverty, at a time when politicians should obsess about allowing prosperity. It’s the least conservative idea a Republican could pitch.

Friend editorial page editor Wayne Laugesen on Facebook

See Schuck's e-mail to Republicans regarding immigration

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