The National Journal reported last week that the National Republican Congressional Committee has released an ad attacking Democrat Andrew Romanoff for favoring "the strictest immigration laws in the nation" which Romanoff "passed as Speaker of the Colorado House." Romanoff is challenging Rep. Mike Coffman, who's seen as in danger of losing the 6th Congressional District seat in Colorado.
The 2006 anti-immigration law cleared the Colorado Legislature with bi-partisan support, including the backing of Romanoff and Gov. Bill Owens.
But if Republicans attack Romanoff on immigration, reporters should obviously spotlight Coffman's own record on the issue. The Journal's Ben Terris did a pretty minimalist job of this, pointing out the following about Coffman:
When he first ran in 2008, one of his planks was to "deny amnesty and a path to citizenship to those who violate our laws. But this year, he had a change of heart and all of a sudden supports a path to citizenship.
Terris should have written more about Coffman and immigration.
To begin with, Terris misleads us when he writes that Coffman supports a citizenship path. Coffman does not favor a path to citizenship for our country's 11 million undocumented immigrants, except for a subset of immigrant children who were brought here illegally by their parents. (Other reporters made the same mistake and corrected it.)
The truth is Coffman voted against the Dream Act, and based on his current position, he'd vote against it again. Coffman advocates a path to citizenship for young undocumented immigrants who enlist in the U.S. military, but not for those who graduate from high school or college. The Dream Act offers a military and education path to citizenship.
Coffman, you recall, introduced a bill mandating English-only ballots, even for areas with large numbers of Spanish-speaking voters who aren't proficient in English.
Coffman actually accused Obama in 2011 of rushing "illegal immigrants" onto the voting rolls to help Obama win the 2012 election, and Coffman has yet to provide evidence for this.
Coffman's opposition to Obamacare, to common-sense tax policy (He opposed Ref. C.), and his hostility toward government assistance to the poor, like the expansion of Medicaid, are out of step with most Hispanic voters and are linked to the politics of the immigration debate.
To this day, the "On the Issues" section of Coffman's website has this to say, and this only, about "immigration:" "Comprehensive immigration reform must first begin with the comprehensive enforcement of our immigration laws. We must secure the borders of the United States now."
The list goes on, and reporters covering Coffman's strange maneuverings on immigration should become familiar with it.