Randy Baumgardner said signs such as this are posted throughout the central and southern parts of Arizona.

Randy Baumgardner/Courtesy

Randy Baumgardner said signs such as this are posted throughout the central and southern parts of Arizona.

Baumgardner’s Arizona border trip ignites Colorado immigration debate



Randy Baumgardner


Steve Ivancie

Candidate websites

■ State Rep. Randy Baumgardner, R-Hot Sulphur Springs:


■ Democratic candidate Steve Ivancie: http://steve4state.com.

— Randy Baumgardner said he heard some terrible stories in Arizona last week.

Baumgardner, a Republican from Hot Sulphur Springs, represents Routt County and the rest of House District 57 at the Capitol in Denver.

He recently spent about six days in Arizona with 10 other Republican state legislators, he said, “on a fact-finding mission looking at the immigration issues and the drug trafficking and human trafficking into the country.” He met with people including law enforcement officers, U.S. Border Patrol members, landowners and Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce, the Re­­publican co-author of Sen­­ate Bill 1070. That bill has been described as the nation’s toughest on immigration and has spurred protests, questions about its constitutionality and ongoing court action since Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed it into law in April.

Brewer, a Republican, has asked the Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit to overturn U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton’s decision to block parts of the law, The Arizona Republic reported late last month.

Similar immigration law debates could intensify in Colo­rado next year.

Baumgardner said “there’s a very good possibility there will be legislation drafted” regarding immigration laws in Colorado’s 2011 legislative session.

“We’re going to have to do something,” he said Wednesday. “I don’t know exactly how that legislation is crafted because we’re going to have to adhere to our constitutional laws here in the state.”

Baumgardner said that during his trip he heard stories about home break-ins, stolen vehicles, shootings and other crimes along the country’s border with Mexico.

“It’s posted down there, everywhere, ‘Stay out of these areas’ because of human trafficking and drug smugglers,” Baum­­gardner said. “Those are things that are happening that people should be aware of.”

Whether Baumgardner has a hand in potential immigration legislation will be up to voters in Northwest Colorado, where Baumgardner is up for re-election.

His challenger in fall, Dem­ocrat and former Steamboat Springs City Councilman Steve Ivan­­cie, called Arizona’s new immigration laws “a little over the top in terms of constitutionality.”

Ivancie said the key immigration issues facing Colorado involve undocumented workers and unaccountable employers.

“When I’m in the state Legislature, I will work to ensure that Colorado employers have the tools they need to accurately document the immigration status of the people they employ, so they won’t be fooled by falsified documents and such,” Ivancie said. “Employers need to be accountable if they knowingly hire illegals. … I think that’s the key word — accountability.”

Ivancie said immigration reform ultimately has to come from the federal government.

“I don’t believe a state-by-state patchwork when it comes to immigration is appropriate or effective,” he said. “It’s a federal issue and the federal government needs to do its job.”

Ivancie added that federal action is occurring. He praised the $600 million bill President Barack Obama signed two weeks ago to pay for 1,500 new border agents, more Border Patrol stations and more unmanned surveillance drones on the southwest border.

Baumgardner said Colorado faces additional immigration issues.

“The problem that we’re going to have to address is the sanctuary city problem … (and) the amount of social services that are offered to illegals is going to have to be looked at,” Baumgardner said, clarifying that he thinks emergency services always should be provided.

“In order to receive social services, you’re going to have to be a citizen. If you’re illegal, then you’re not entitled to social services.”

Ivancie said some Colorado politicians, including Baumgard­ner, appear to be using the immigration issue for political leverage in an election year.

“Where was all this talk about immigration when the economy was booming?” Ivancie asked Wednesday. “Some politicians are probably going to exploit this for political gain — where have they been for the past several years? … We’ll just wait and see what happens come next year, when the election’s over.”

Baumgardner said he was involved in a bill last year that would have implemented electronic verification policies for immigrants. That bill died in a Senate committee.

He said he also engaged in talks about possible photo-identification legislation.

Baumgardner said he is not using the issue to score political points.

“The people that are making those statements haven’t been down to the border and talked with people that are there … and experienced the lawlessness that’s happening there,” Baumgardner said. “I don’t think it has anything to do with grandstanding at all — I think it has to do with our borders being safe and the country being safe.

“I don’t grandstand.”


Scott Wedel 6 years, 9 months ago

I am not sure of Randy's reasoning when he says Colorado has to do something because there are issues on the Arizona border. Does he understand that those issues are on the Arizona/Mexico border and that Colorado does not have a border with Mexico? And that Colorado's border with New Mexico is with another US state, not with a newer part of Mexico?

"I think it has to do with our borders being safe" Since when have Colorado's borders been unsafe? Or does Randy believe that it is his job as a member of the Colorado State Assembly to enforce the nation's borders?

While he may say he is not grandstanding, seems to me that it is the very definition of grandstanding to be talking about border issues in another state that has a border with another county.


director 6 years, 9 months ago

Tatiana Achcar, Integrated Community: He must have missed that the US government unilaterally moved the border from southern Colorado in 1848 under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.

Knowledge of the facts is not a politicians' strength, particularly in election year... For those who love knowledge as much as I do:

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (Tratado de Guadalupe Hidalgo in Spanish is the peace treaty, largely dictated by the United States to the interim government of a militarily occupied that ended the Mexican-American War (1846 – 48). The treaty provided for the Mexican Cession of 1.36 million km” (525,000 square miles to the United States in exchange for 15 million dollars (equivalent to $380 million today). From the viewpoint of some in Mexico, this Treaty also ceded an additional 1,007,935 km” (389,166 square miles), since Mexico had never officially recognized either the independence of the Republic of Texas (1836) or its annexation by the United States (1845), and under this calculation, Mexico lost about 55% of its prewar territory.

The Treaty also ensured safety of existing property rights of Mexican citizens living in the transferred territories. Despite assurances to the contrary, the property rights of Mexican citizens were often not honored by the U.S. in accordance with modifications to and interpretations of the Treaty.


JustSomeJoe 6 years, 9 months ago

He's getting in touch with key issues for the fringes of his party.


Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 9 months ago

I think Colorado should secure her borders...from outside political advice. Well, it'll be a quiet night on the Pilot Forums. All the Extremists will be watching Elmer Rove speaking about "Wabbit Season" for illegals and how best to prepare your child for home schooling if the Props get voted in. Me? I'll be watching WWE Smackdown. It's more true to life.


sledneck 6 years, 9 months ago

Are you tryin to say something derrogatory about WWE???????????????

The eyes see what the heart wishes. Elmer Rove is a good one though; Hee Hee Hee


Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 9 months ago

No, WWE is my soap opera. Let's see Susan Lucci jump from the top rope!


mmjPatient22 6 years, 9 months ago

I'm still a firm believer in the idea of increasing the level of physical violence in politics. Bring back "The Body"(former Gov. Jesse Ventura) and institute some fashion of rules that are a hybrid of Fight Club, Thunderdome and the modern-day "sport" of MMA fighting. Unfortunately, at least in today's society, it's the only sure fire way to get more people interested/involved in politics. Besides, diplomacy is over-rated anyway. Anymore, it's becoming more and more painfully obvious that more and more politicians are in dire need of a smack or two up-side their heads. You can't tell me that their representation of US(the ones that elect them) is something that they're all keeping in the forefront of their minds.


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