FOX 31's Eli Stokols updates in the aftermath of Rep. Mike Coffman's (R-Endangered) vote against a presidential executive order halting the deportation of "child arrival" undocumented immigrants, a.k.a. "DREAMers."
Congressman Mike Coffman, perhaps the most vulnerable incumbent in Washington heading into next year’s election cycle, has been making serious overtures to Latino voters.
But on Thursday, when he voted along with fellow House Republicans to de-fund the Obama administration’s executive order that allows so-called “dreamers” — kids who were brought here by their illegal immigrant parents — to receive temporary work permits, Democrats pounced.
“Congressman Coffman just voted to take us back to the days of deporting law-abiding DREAM Act-eligible children who just want to live the American Dream,” said Emily Bittner of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Coffman's response, saying that the executive order in question gave too much "prosecutorial discretion" while insisting he still supports a path to citizenship for the children of undocumented immigrants (but not their parents), doesn't hold water. It certainly doesn't align with the justification from most of his Republican colleagues in the House who voted with him and against the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Anti-immigrant hard liner Rep. Steve King of Iowa, so politically toxic that Rep. Cory Gardner canceled a fundraiser with him, sponsored this amendment. King, as everybody who follows the issue of immigration knows, isn't encumbered by Coffman's recent mission-critical need to say nice things about immigrant children.
In short, New Coffman® just had a troublesome outbreak of Old Coffman.
With that said, there is the matter of the Republican response to criticism of Coffman, which quickly sought to deflect to the record of Coffman's Democratic opponent, former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff:
Romanoff, the former House Speaker, has his own political issues with Hispanics after supporting immigration legislation during a special session called by former Gov. Bill Owens in 2006.
“If Washington Democrats want to criticize a politician with extreme views on immigration they should attack their own hand-picked candidate Andrew Romanoff,” said the National Republican Congressional Committee’s Tyler Q. Houlton.
“Romanoff is wildly out of touch with Colorado values and even admits he supported the harshest anti-immigrant laws in the country as Speaker of the Colorado House.”
The 2006 session of the Colorado legislature's work on immigration, while beneficial to Democrats in the short term as they headed off an expected major campaign issue that year, has indeed left hard feelings between some Democrats and the Latino community in Colorado. Romanoff's now-infamous quote in the Los Angeles Times extolling the 'toughest immigration law in America' is a political liability for him, even after the worst of the 2006 bills was repealed in legislation this year. We believe Romanoff understands he has a lot of work to do.
Folks, do you see who is doing the criticizing above? That's Tyler Q. Houlton, longtime local Republican operative now working for the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC).
The guy calling Romanoff "a politician with extreme views on immigration" is Tom Tancredo's former spokesman.
Bottom line: Rep. Mike Coffman, Tom Tancredo's successor in Congress and, until redistricting, every bit the immigration hard-liner to match Tancredo and please Tancredo's former constituency, really might be trying to run to the left of his Democratic opponent on immigration in 2014.
But as this latest episode demonstrates, it's just not going to work.