More Republican-sponsored “Arizona copycat” anti-immigration bills died at the state capitol yesterday, and though that might not be quite all of them, it’s clear that this little campaign didn’t turn out quite the way the Republican Study Committee of Colorado intended.
But as we’ve said repeatedly, the chief effect of these bills has only been to further alienate the Latino electorate in Colorado from Republicans, and smart Republicans have stayed well clear of them. In addition to the obvious distastefulness of opening the door to racial profiling, and the certainty of expensive litigation if these bills were to pass, some Republicans flashed signs of being truly, well, there’s no other way to say it, bigoted about stuff along the way.
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This is an audio clip from testimony over one of several immigration-related bills debated this past month, in this case a bill (HB11-1003) requiring photo IDs in order to vote. The witness is a Venezuelan-American, who gets some laughs after noting that her country still has lots of corruption even with a voter ID law (see: Chavez, Hugo). But it’s the end of her testimony, and the response from GOP Rep. Jim Kerr, that will drop your jaw:
KERR: Thank you for your testimony. Any questions? [pause] Anybody bilingual that can talk Venezuelan, or whatever… [Pols emphasis]
WITNESS: Spanish. Spanish. Thank you. Thanks for your time.
KERR: Thank you very much.
UNKNOWN: “Venezuelan?” [laughter]
KERR: I thought I’d try it.
So for starters, did you really think her English was that bad? It seems to us if you’re going to say something so churlish and offensive, it should at least be based in reality. And of course, there’s the hillbilly ignorance self-evident in asking if anyone present can “talk Venezuelan.”
Like we said, are there any more of these immigration bills lurking in the hopper? Because surely there is a Latino Colorado voter out there who has not yet been offended.