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Immigration reporting repeal effort clears House, heads to Senate

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DENVER — Recognizing its party’s collective need to improve its standing with Hispanic voters, Republicans spent far less time arguing against a proposal to roll back a 2006 state law that forces local law enforcement agencies to report anyone arrested for a crime who is suspected of being in the country illegally to federal immigration authorities.

Debate on House Bill 1258 lasted just 15 minutes on Friday during second reading on the House floor; and there was no debate Monday before the third reading final vote.

So how many Republican lawmakers voted yes?

Just one: first-year Rep. Tim Dore, R-Elizabeth.

Last week, when the bill was approved on a 9-2 vote by the House State Affairs Committee, two GOP lawmakers voted yes: Dore and Rep. Ray Scott of Grand Junction, who switched his vote Monday and voted against the measure on the floor.

The 36-26 vote by the full House sends the legislation to the state senate.

The bill does away with the state’s divisive 2006 requirement that law enforcement report suspected illegal immigrants to federal authorities. The law is spottily enforced, in part because of a new federal immigration law implemented since 2006 to snag illegal immigrants who get arrested.

Colorado sheriffs have testified in favor of the bill, arguing that it’s costing them resources and the community’s trust; and, they argued, it’s redundant now that Colorado is taking part in the federal government’s Secure Communities program.

The mandatory reporting measure was passed in 2006 with bipartisan support and signed into law by Gov. Bill Owens, a Republican.

Democratic House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, who’s now running for Congress against GOP Rep. Mike Coffman, voted for the legislation but was not a co-sponsor.

When the bill was introduced earlier this month, Romanoff told FOX31 Denver that he supports repealing the 2006 law he helped enact.

“I support repealing it now because it’s redundant, and because we’ve heard from a lot of local law enforcement agencies who say it’s a burden,” Romanoff said.