Oct 232006
 
Authors: Anica Wong

On Nov. 7, voters will decide whether to force the state to sue the federal government over enforcement of immigration laws.

Referendum K, if passed, will direct the Colorado attorney general to join or initiate with other states a lawsuit against the U.S. attorney general demanding that the federal government enforce existing federal immigration laws.

Norberto Valdez, an anthropology and ethnic studies professor, believes that this will be a frivolous lawsuit, if the referendum is passed.

“To me, this is a symbolic effort on the part of politicians,” he said. “They are using the issue of immigration and undocumented workers to mobilize voters to get the federal government to enforce its own laws.”

Valdez went on to say that if this referendum gets passed, the lawsuit will most likely be dragged out for years. He said the tax money that will be used for the lawsuit could be put to use to invest in education or other state projects.

Valdez said there have been other failed attempts at suing the federal government to enforce immigration laws, and it is likely that Colorado will fail as well.

If passed, two attorneys, support staff and $190,000 annually will be needed for the lawsuit against the U.S. attorney general.

According to Analysis of the 2006 Ballot Proposals, also known as the Blue Book, last year Colorado spent $225 million on K-12 education, emergency medical care and incarceration of illegal immigrants.

Advocates of the bill say that the lawsuit could reduce these costs and show that Coloradoans want these federal laws enforced.

Kate Anderson, a senior political science major, believes that this referendum is a good thing because it will hold the federal government accountable.

“I think that it will be a good wake-up call (for the government), even if it’s an added cost to Colorado citizens,” she said.

Staff writer Anica Wong can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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Referendum K at a glance:

Referendum K, if passed, will direct the Colorado attorney general to join or initiate with other states a lawsuit against the U.S. attorney general demanding that the federal government enforce existing federal immigration laws

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