DENVER – On Monday, a delegation from the Colorado National Democratic Commission sent a letter to state party president John Hickenlooper, a first-year U.S. senator, asking for “public distrust.”
On Thursday, the senator voted in favor of a non-binding amendment that would prevent undocumented immigrants from paying incentives.
The non-binding nature of the amendment means that it is unlikely to have an impact on future incentive plans: Federal laws prevent undocumented immigrants from receiving incentives because they do not have a social security number.
Joseph Salazar, a former member of the state and a member of the DNC, said it was not binding or not, the vote sent the wrong message.
“We never would have thought it would go that far because this amendment went so far and introduced it in the depths of a xenophobia,” Salazar said. “You don’t throw communities under a bus, so you can try to get the favor of well-known xenophobic and racist senators. You don’t promise their favor, and you don’t throw communities under a bus.”
The non-binding amendment passed 58-42, joining Republicans with eight Democrats.
The ACLU’s Colorado chapter issued 300 signed letters stating that Hickenlooper’s non-binding vote said, “I only care if I’m campaigning.”
“It was an anti-immigrant vote,” said Denise Maes, ACLU’s director of public policy in Colorado.
Hickenlooper practically met with leaders of the immigrant community to discuss his vote. Maes said after the meeting that it was still not clear why Hickenlooper had voted the way he did.
“I think its non-binding nature was mysterious, like why? Why stand for an anti-immigrant initiative if it means nothing?” Maes said. “I think we are still disappointed with the vote and we wanted to let the senator know that we will be watching his future votes.”
Maes said Hickenlooper seemed receptive to their feedback and concerns.
Colorado Jobs with Justice was one of 300 immigrant advocates who signed the ACLU Colorado letter. According to executive director Pamela Resendiz, the coalition is in favor of employee rights.
“This vote seemed such an easy decision to him without taking into account the stories of the voters he represented,” Resendiz said.
A Hickenlooper spokesman stressed that the senator remained committed to a comprehensive form of immigration. The following statement was made:
“Immigrant communities and undocumented workers are specifically at the forefront of our economy – now more than ever. I acknowledge how this vote has distorted this important fact and given dangerous and harmful narratives about the undocumented community. We have had several fruitful discussions about this, and I remain committed to working together to finally reach a comprehensive solution to our disrupted immigration system, including the path to citizenship. ”
– Senator John Hickenlooper
Senator John Hickenlooper
Denver7 turned to the Democratic Party of Colorado for comments and did not respond.