For the last eight months and for years before that, thousands of Coloradans have been writing letters, making calls and attending town hall meetings to ask that the governors office participate in our democracy by hearing our voice of opposition to the Secure Communities program and respecting us with a response.
It is surprising and, frankly, disappointing that as a Latino in a position of power, Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia has not spoken more loudly about the damaging consequences of the Department of Homeland Securitys ironic program. Rather than securing our communities, it seems to be making them feel less safe. Innocent victims of domestic violence and crime witnesses are afraid to report crimes. Many low-level offenders are effectively increasing our state enforcement and detainment costs as they are choosing not to appear in court, incurring arrest warrants and filling our jails.
In Colorado, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has released data showing that 65 percent of the people pulled in under Secure Communities are noncriminals or lowest-level offenders. These are the hardworking, good people who should not have been scooped up with rapists, murderers and traffickers. The data clearly shows that the program is being misused to function as an immigration dragnet rather than a logical and rational crime-prevention program.
As an advocate for immigrants and a daughter of one, I feel it is my honor and duty to speak up for them. I hope Garcia will consider honoring all immigrants, including his own ancestors, and that he will better recognize his duty to the people of Colorado.