While campaigning for governor last year, then-Congressman Jared Polis (D) promised not to support legislation to make Colorado a sanctuary state. He subsequently reinforced this pledge during a televised debate after being asked point-blank about whether he supports sanctuary cities. He responded with a single-word answer: “no.”
Now that he’s governor, Polis has an opportunity to back up that promise with a firm veto threat against some very real and dangerous sanctuary legislation currently under consideration in the Colorado General Assembly.
House Bill (HB) 1124 is a disastrous proposal that would inflict even more damage than the open-borders lobby has with California’s sanctuary laws. Among other provisions, the bill seeks to deny Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) access to local jails and state prisons, prohibits law enforcement from cooperating with ICE, ignores immigration detainers, and releases criminal aliens back into the community, just for starters.
The results of California’s sanctuary provisions have been predictably catastrophic. Today, illegal aliens are 231 percent more likely to be incarcerated for a crime in California than U.S. citizens and legal immigrants combined, according to FAIR’s recent crime study..
Colorado’s bill would go further still, including none of the exceptions even in California’s sanctuary law, SB 54. At least California gives law enforcement the option to cooperate with immigration authorities if an illegal alien has been convicted of any one of 31 serious crimes.
So, will Gov. Polis rise to the occasion to keep his campaign promise and deny illegal aliens yet another sanctuary haven? There’s good reason to be skeptical. Despite his pledge, the governor actually has a shoddy record when it comes to immigration.
While serving in Congress, Polis voted in 2015, 2016, and 2017 against legislation which would’ve outlawed sanctuary cities nationwide and denied federal funding to local governments. He even voted against a bill to re-authorize funding for the Department of Homeland Security.
Moreover, his campaign promise can’t be taken at face value since he has made wildly inconsistent statements on the issue. During a press interview, Polis said that he “will prevent President Trump, or any president, from commandeering local law enforcement to enforce their Washington, D.C. priorities.”
Yet in the very same interview, he said, “if somebody is arrested for a crime and they’re not here legally, they should be deported.” So maybe what the governor is really saying here is that he’s in favor of arresting and deporting illegal aliens only if the federal government does it alone. But, Polis knows that it is extremely difficult for immigration authorities to accomplish this without the cooperation of law enforcement. Perhaps it’s easier (or more convenient) for him to give contradictory statements than it is to have a firm stance on the issue.
But now it’s time for bold positions: time to take a stand rather than keep waffling. Gov. Polis should make it absolutely clear to the legislature that he will veto any sanctuary bill they decide to send him. It’s not too late for the governor to show leadership on this issue, and back up his words with deeds.