In support of Colorado 2006
Ballot Measures H and K
Defend Colorado Now
Defend Colorado Now supported the following two Colorado ballot measures, both of which were passed by the voters in the November, 2006 election:
- Referendum H: "Unauthorized Alien Labor Tax Deduction".
"Should employers who cannot verify an employee is a legal U.S. resident be prohibited from claiming that employee's wages as a deductible business expense?" It would apply to employees hired on or after January 1, 2008, and who were paid $600 or more in one year. (Referred via HB 1020.)
- Referendum K: "Attorney General Initiate Immigration Lawsuit".
"Should the state attorney general sue or join with other states in suing the federal government demanding 'enforcement of all existing federal immigration law' by the federal government?" (Referred via HB 1022.)
These ballot measures were referred to the ballot in the July, 2006 special legislative session. Voters approved these measures in November, 2006.
Reasons DCN supported Referendum H: "Unauthorized Alien Labor Tax Deduction"
- Illegal aliens are crossing our borders at the rate of up to 10,000 per day. We have between 11 million and 20 million illegal aliens in our country. Three steps are necessary to deal with this crisis:
- a) secure our borders,
- b) short-circuit the magnet of taxpayer-paid public services for illegal aliens. HB 1023, passed in July, 2006, was a strong step in this direction.
- c) enact and enforce employer sanctions against hiring illegal aliens. Referendum H is an important and necessary component in doing so.
- Hiring illegal aliens is against existing federal law. U.S. Code Title 8, Section 1324a states: "Any person who knowingly hires/harbors/transports any illegal alien is guilty of a felony punishable by 10 years jail plus $2000 fine per illegal alien plus forfeiture of the vehicle or property used to commit the crime".
- Employers should not get tax breaks for violating the law.
- By eliminating tax breaks for hiring illegal aliens, employers will be encouraged to hire people lawfully in Colorado and to pay them higher wages.
- The fiscal impact for implementing this ballot measure will be approximately $43,000. This is a trivial amount compared to the tremendous costs to Coloradoans related to illegal immigration.
Reasons DCN supported Referendum K: "Attorney General Initiate Immigration Lawsuit"
- Illegal immigration costs Coloradoans $1 billion per year. (See DCN cost study). This ballot measure is an important step in reducing and eliminating these costs imposed upon lawful Colorado residents.
- This ballot measure is both a symbolic and practical measure. It is symbolic in that it will allow the sovereign People of Colorado to express their concern about the illegal immigration crisis and demand that action be taken. It is practical in that it requires Colorado's Attorney General to apply pressure to the federal government to enforce immigration laws that are on the books, but are being ignored.
- It is claimed by some that immigration enforcement is only a federal responsibility, whereas DCN and others believe the crisis can be solved by state and federal action. Either way, it only makes sense that our federal government should enforce existing immigration law.
- The filing and lawsuit will not be prohibitively expensive. This is not a criminal trial, but instead a simple legal filing. The fiscal impact of this ballot measure is estimated to be $190,000. This is a trivial amount compared to the tremendous burden placed on Coloradoans by the failure of our federal government to enforce existing immigration law.
Both of the above ballot questions are endorsed by the Denver Post, which encourages a "yes" vote on both questions. See the article "Approval urged on immigration issues - Referendums H and K would penalize employers who use unauthorized workers and have the state sue Washington to enforce immigration laws", October 9, 2006.
The Rocky Mountain News endorsed Referendum H in the article Up with Ref H, but down with K, October 1, 2006. However, in the same article they commented on Referendum K, saying "The chances of Colorado or any combination of states prevailing in a legal challenge are long indeed."
It seems the Rocky Mountain News missed the point. By joining other states in demanding that the Federal Government enforce existing immigration law, Coloradoans have an opportunity to strongly - via legal means - express their opinion and demand results. As noted above, the cost of doing so is insignificant compared to the one billion dollars per year that illegal immigration costs Coloradoans. The cost of doing nothing is exorbitant, and we recommend a "yes" vote on both ballot questions.
For more information, see: