New Coffman® Triangulates Off Best Buddy Steve King

UPDATE: Democrats work to deny Coffman any room to maneuver on immigration, The Hill's Alexandra Jaffe:

The House Majority PAC ad, shared first with The Hill, highlights the fact that Coffman has not yet signed a discharge petition aimed at forcing a vote on a comprehensive immigration reform bill. 

Though nearly every Democrat in the House has signed the discharge petition, no Republicans have, and many in the GOP have indicated no desire to tackle the controversial issue in an election year…

Democrats see the issue as potent in the district, which is about 20 percent Hispanic, especially against Coffman, who was previously staunchly opposed to immigration reform before shifting early last year.

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Rep. Steve King (R-IA) with Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) left.

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) with Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) left.

FOX 31's Eli Stokols reports:

Congressman Mike Coffman called out a fellow Republican for opposing his proposal to allow undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship by serving in the military on Thursday.

Coffman, R-Aurora, called out Congressman Steve King, R-Iowa, a noted illegal immigration firebrand who Democrats have tried to sought to portray as a Coffman ally in an appeal to Hispanic voters.

“With all due respect, Steve King is dead wrong on the Military Enlistment Opportunity Act,” Coffman said in a statement, responding to King’s contention that his bill amounts to “amnesty.”

…Coffman, who faces a tough challenge from Democrat Andrew Romanoff in a re-drawn 6th Congressional District that now includes Aurora, supported a King proposal last year that would have ended deferred action, President Obama’s executive order sparing young people in the country illegally from immediate deportation. [Pols emphasis]

The context for this public-facing "disagreement," which Stokols notes embattled Rep. Mike Coffman's re-election campaign was quick to publicize, is a group of conservative House members who have announced their opposition to any "immigration riders" to the National Defense Authorization Act. That's the larger bill being debated, which Rep. Jeff Denham of California, supported by Coffman, hoped to amend. Politico:

“I oppose using the NDAA to push any immigration agenda,” [Rep. Mo] Brooks wrote in the letter asking colleagues to join his effort. “That is why I ask you to sign a letter to House leadership informing them that you oppose using the NDAA to push an immigration agenda of any kind.

“If immigration legislation is addressed by the House, it should be done so via the proper process, not by attaching it to must pass legislation,” the letter continues.

As you can see, the opposition to this amendment allowing some illegal immigrants who enlist in the military to gain citizenship is made up of a lot more Republicans than Rep. Steve King of Iowa, Congress' foremost anti-immigrant hardliner after Tom Tancredo left the building. The moderate California Republican Coffman is siding with in this dispute, Rep. Denham, is also a co-sponsor of the Democratic comprehensive immigration reform bill (H.R. 15)–which Coffman opposes.

With all of this in mind, it's quite clear that Coffman is using this intra-Republican disagreement to manufacture daylight between himself and unsightly erstwhile allies like Rep. King (see photo). The policy change Coffman is making a stink about, a path to citizenship for immigrants who join the military, is really quite narrow. Coffman's vote last year with Rep. King against the President's temporary reprieve granted to "DREAMer" undocumented students would have affected many more people, and stands in stark contrast to the impression Coffman wants this latest spat to leave. That vote was a major stumble for Coffman in his quest to reinvent his conservative image, and we don't see how his support for this much narrower proposal rights that wrong.

Especially since Coffman's friend Steve King, and lots of other Republican colleagues, mean to scuttle it.

“Moderate” Republican Endorses…Tancredo?

Norma Anderson.

Norma Anderson.

We wanted to make note of a blog post from the Denver Post's Lynn Bartels last Friday:

Former lawmaker Norma Anderson, known for wielding clout during her days at the legislature, said today if former Congressman Tom Tancredo makes the ballot for governor, she’s voting for him in the June 24 primary.

“Right now Tom is the best candidate,” she said, referring to the seven-person field of GOP hopefuls who want to unseat Democrat John Hickenlooper in November…

That former Sen. Norma Anderson, one of the more moderate elder statespersons in the Colorado GOP ranks, would endorse Tom Tancredo, one of the most polarizing hard-right politicians in our state's politics, is truly a fascinating development. Just as one example, Anderson is one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit underway against the 1992 Taxpayer's Bill of Rights, arguing that it unconstitutionally undermines legislative power–most likely not a message Tancredo wants attached to his campaign in a Republican primary. But perhaps strangest of all?

Anderson, a Lakewood Republican, added she disagrees with Tancredo on immigration, a subject that defined him in Congress and on the presidential campaign trail in 2007. [Pols emphasis]

That's right, folks! Norma Anderson is endorsing a single-issue candidate, while "disagreeing" with said candidate on that single issue. The best explanation we've heard is that this odd move is legacy protection for Anderson and her family from the taint of being a so-called "RINO" (Republican in name only). The fact is, Tancredo is irrevocably linked to his hard-line stand on immigration. By endorsing Tancredo while disagreeing with him on his principal issue, this seems to be an attempt to make voters think that Tancredo's view on other issues matters.

To which we can only say, good luck with that.

Limited Immigration Reform May Be A Go – Nativists Have Already Conceded That It Would Not Be Amnesty

According to Alex Nowrahsteh of CATO, bipartisan immigration reform of the infamous 3/10 year bar may still be passable this year.  As described in the linked article, the three and ten year bar:

"requires that any immigrant who stays in the United States illegally for more than six months but less than one year may not leave and reenter for three years. Any immigrant who illegally stays for more than a year may not leave and reenter for 10 years. Also known as the 3/10-year bar, any immigrant who violates it triggers a twenty-year ban from reentering the United States – for any reason. Some unauthorized immigrants, mainly the spouses and parents of U.S. citizens, can currently apply for a green card. However, they can only do it after leaving the country. Since most unauthorized immigrants have been here for more than a decade and leaving would make the 3/10-year bar apply to them, this legislative catch-22 prevents current law from legalizing many of them."

So one would expect the anti-immigrants to immediately start crowing about this.   However, they have a small problem: one of the chief restrictionists, Mark Krikorian of Center for Immigration Studies, has already conceded that drastically reforming this bar would not be amnesty.  I have attached linked audio from the Spring of 2010 when I had the chance to get Krikorian on the record on Ross Kaminsky's radio show.  In it you can clearly hear Krikorian declare that allowing the spouse of a US citizen to stay in the country after a very minor penalty for overstaying would not be amnesty and also that he is not a "big fan" of the bar in the first place.  In fact, Krikorian stated he would support replacing the 3/10 year bar with a 6 months/1 year bar.

So how will the anti-immigrants handle the latest proposal?  My prediction: they will pretend Krikorian never conceded that it would not be amnesty.  Any bets on whether I am right?

This was originally posted by me at the Colorado Independent

On radio, Tancredo acknowledges “hardships” for immigrants under his self-deportation proposal

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Just after gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo departed from from KNUS' Peter Boyles show this morning, where Boyles told his listeners, "If there's a god, [Tancredo] becomes governor," Tancredo talked about immigration with Dan Caplis, whose KNUS radio show starts right after Boyles'.

Caplis: If you had that power, right now, what would you do with the folks who are already here?

Tancredo: …I think everyone who applies for a job in this country should have to be here legally and should have to prove that. Now, certainly, would there be hardships? I have no doubt. But a decision was made when the person came here illegally. I mean, that decision brought with it a lot of ramifications. One is that indeed you may end up having to leave at some point in time. And that means a lot of things to a lot of different people. Leave I-don't-know-what behind, you know, familiar relationships and all that sort of thing. But you have to determine that you are ok with the idea that people who are here illegally would have to go home. [BigMedia emphasis]

Tancredo isn't shy about discussing his proposed e-verify solution to the immigration problem, whereby employers would have to run the Social Security numbers of potential employees through a national database prior to hiring them, but Tancredo usually doesn't mention the "hardships" involved for the undocumented immigrants.

Below, in a 2011 video shot during Tancredo's 2011 presidential run, Tancredo said, "All you have to do is restrict the ability of an employer to give a job to somebody who is here illegally. People self deport when that happens. It happened in Arizona."

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Caption This Photo: Tancredo’s “Pheasant Outreach Program”

tanccruzking

Apropos, the Pueblo Chieftain reports today:

Former Rep. Tom Tancredo, one of the Republicans running for governor, is bringing Cuban-American singer Jon Secada to Memorial Hall on April 11 for a fundraising concert…

Tancredo earned a national reputation while serving in Congress for opposing any legal residency for undocumented immigrants. In this year’s campaign, he’s been touting his appeal to Hispanic voters.

Secada first began his show business career as a backup singer to Gloria Estefan. He reportedly has sold over 20 million albums.

Well, to balance out Tom Tancredo's "Hispanic outreach event" in Pueblo with Cuban-American heartthrob Jon Secada, here's a picture of Tancredo with a virulently anti-immigrant Cuban-American, Sen. Ted Cruz, and America's most virulently anti-immigrant member of Congress, bar none now that Tancredo's not there, Rep. Steve "Cantaloupes" King of Iowa!

And with that, Tancredo's "Hispanic outreach efforts" incur a bit of a setback.

Coffman’s Multicultural Discovery: “Wow, Ethiopians!”

WEDNESDAY UPDATE: Hilarity from the Aurora Sentinel today in response to Coffman's "discovery."

QUID HAS HEARD that Aurora’s own congressman Mike Coffman discovered Aurora’s large Ethiopian, Ghanaian, Eritrean, Sudanese and every other African countries’ immigrant population right here in Aurora and he’s eager to spread the good news. In a story written by the Associated Press, Coffman said he visited an Ethiopian church this year (or as we call it, “a church”) in Aurora to celebrate our diversity. Never mind, that he “didn’t understand any of what they were doing … “ according to a recorded conversation posted on the Internet. Hats off to Coffman for making the rounds in his district. Only took him 3 years and a bitter re-election fight to find out Aurora has tens of thousands of African immigrants. Or as his challenger Andrew Romanoff likes to call them, “voters.” [Pols emphasis]

—–

Then the big drums came out, Coffman said.

“Then the big drums came out,” Coffman said.

​A brief aside in an AP story by local reporter Nick Riccardi on the subject of immigration reform and embattled Rep. Mike Coffman earlier this month became much more relevant to us today, as we'll explain:

Coffman was elected in 2008 to succeed immigration firebrand Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo. Coffman endorsed Tancredo in the 2010 governor’s race, which he lost, and initially backed measures such as barring U.S. citizenship to children whose parents were in the country without legal permission. Coffman also supported allowing English-only ballots in districts with large immigrant populations.

But his district was redrawn to include immigrant-heavy Aurora. After seeing fast-growing Hispanic and Asian populations overwhelmingly back Democrats in 2012, Coffman embraced citizenship for people brought to the U.S. illegally as children. He announced his new position in Spanish…

In addition to studying Spanish, Coffman has also spent time in his district’s numerous other immigrant communities. Last month he visited an Ethiopian church. [Pols emphasis] But he says he does not support an immigration bill passed by the Senate and prefers more steps to ensure the border is secure before granting legal status.

We've spent a lot of time discussing Coffman's shifting (some might say shifty) views on immigration reform as he attempts to hold his newly competitive seat in Congress. But for today, let's talk about Coffman's visit last month to an Ethiopian Christian church in Aurora. The Denver metro area, with high concentrations in Aurora, has a large community of expatriates from Ethiopia and neighboring Eritrea. One Denver Post story last year pegged the size of the Ethiopian/Eritrean immigrant community in the Denver metro area at 30,000 people.

Coffman is evidently very proud of having visited this Ethiopian church, having told the AP's Riccardi the story as evidence of his having "spent time in his district’s numerous other immigrant communities." But based on this clip of unscripted audio of the same Mike Coffman talking about the same visit to the same Ethiopian church, we have to wonder how illuminating his visit really was.

MIKE COFFMAN: But the, uh, I didn't know there was a large Ethiopian population. [Pols emphasis] I…

WOMAN: And Somali, and Nigerian…

COFFMAN: And Nigerian and Somali! But the, uh, so it was great to go to an Ethiopian church. I didn't understand any of what they were doing… [Pols emphasis]

CROWD: (Laughter)

COFFMAN: But it was a great trip, what was exciting about it is, it started out pretty Western, in terms of the music and everything, and then as it got going, as it got going, then the big drums came out, and the horns came out…

WOMAN: (Laughter)

So, uh, this was a church service that Coffman attended? Can you imagine the outcry if a politician from any other culture were to attend an American church and said, "I didn't understand any of what they were doing," and cracked jokes about the music? But perhaps worse, Coffman has been the representative of this district for several years now. Did he really just now discover there is a large Ethiopian population in Aurora?

We assume Coffman didn't intend for these remarks to ever see the light of day, since they make him look like a culturally insensitive idiot. But coming from the guy who once famously said President Barack Obama "is just not an American," maybe lame xenophobic humor is the closest to cultural bridge-building Coffman can manage.

Coffman’s First Perlmutter-Style “Government-in-Your-Reduced-Hours-Public-Library”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Stealing a page from Congressman Ed Perlmutter's constituent services playbook, Congressman Mike Coffman faced Aurorans one-on-one in the public library a few blocks from his home this morning. About seventy-five constituents stood in line to speak with him, and each was given about five minutes alone, or with a small group. Outside, an organizer from Colorado Fair Share signed up voters on a petition for universal pre-school. While his constituents waited, we discussed questions we wanted to ask him, like the ones listed at bottom, speaking loudly enough that his Secret Service detail paced around us. At one point, I scrapped my questions and nervously told him what was really on my mind. After awhile, Congressman Coffman appeared angry and stood up, and his aides (henchman?) escorted me out of the room. It would have been much more fun to dress up in green and wave to voters with Congresswoman Diana DeGette, but someone had to do it.

Some of the questions we had for Congressman Coffman this morning:

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Democrats Hit Gardner in Web Ad

GardnerStache

If I grow this moustache, will you forget what I said about Personhood?

Colorado Democrats have put out a web ad highlighting the highly-conservative record of Rep. Cory Gardner. You can see the ad after the jump, but first, here's FOX 31's Eli Stokols:

The one-minute video focuses on Gardner’s support for the 2010 Personhood initiative, which would have effectively banned abortion in Colorado, a House GOP budget plan that would have “ended Medicare as we know it”, and his opposition to a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants as part of comprehensive immigration reform.

Democrats also included the CBS News report showing Gardner on a 2012 fishing trip junket with oil and gas lobbyists; the caption over the video clips: “He even vacations with Washington lobbyists.”…

…Gardner, considered a rising star within the House GOP caucus, has long harbored ambitions beyond the House; but he had never noticeably tempered a conservative voting record that, while representing his sprawling, rural district, seemed outside the mainstream of the state’s overall electorate. [Pols emphasis]

We've discussed many times in this space that we think Gardner is going to have a real problem in explaining his ultra-partisan record to voters outside of CD-4. The fact that Gardner never even tried to moderate himself since winning election to Congress in 2010 is a major reason that Democrats and Republicans alike were surprised when he decided to enter the Senate race late last month.

 

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Reporters should clarify that Coffman is not supportive of citizenship path via college

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

UPDATE 3/9/24: Associated Press reporter Nick Riccardi sent me a couple tweets, offering additional information about his interview with Coffman referenced in the blog post below:

Nick Riccardi: @BigMediaBlog FYI in his interview Coffman expressed hope that his military bill would be joined to a broader DREAM type bill.

Jason Salzman: @NickRiccardi Thanks very much. Did he say that he now supports a path to citizenship via college for undocumented young people?

Nick Riccardi: @BigMediaBlog Essentially, though I haven't seen the bill he referenced so I don't know how narrow it may be.

Jason Salzman: Maybe it was one of the bills that the GOP was thinking of offering instead of the Senate bill.

Jason Salzman: In any case, if Coffman supports citizenship via college, he's with Dream Act, in most forms. A big shift, as i see it. News.

—–

Journalists continue to report that Rep. Mike Coffman is being nicer to young undocumented immigrants than he really is.

Coffman supports giving young immigrants a path to citizenship if they sign up for military service but not if they enroll in college. The Dream Act, which Coffman has voted against in 2010, offers citizenship through both college and the military to undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

Reporting on Coffman's position today, the Associated Press stated:

After seeing fast-growing Hispanic and Asian populations overwhelmingly back Democrats in 2012, Coffman embraced citizenship for people brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

This is accurate, but somewhat misleading because, Coffman isn't embracing citizenship for young immigrants as much as he's allowing it, since his one-track path to citizenship is so narrow.

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Photo: The Tanc Rolls Into Pueblo

UPDATE: The Chieftain just updated their story with a video of an interview with the sign-holding man you see below, former Pueblo council member Al Gurule. It appears from this video that the signs around Tom Tancredo in the Chieftain's photo that say "RACIST," which we refer to below, were held by Tancredo supporters attempting to shame Gurule. If that was the intention it very much failed, as it looked to all observers (including us) that they were holding signs calling Tancredo a racist. Which is, you know, what you'd expect.

Too clever by half, folks–we've posted the video after the jump.

—–

tancpueblo1

As the Pueblo Chieftain reports:

Known for his long opposition to amnesty for illegal immigrants, Tancredo waves aside any softening of that view, even for the children of the undocumented — a group being championed these days by some conservatives, too.

“It’s all amnesty,” the 68-year-old Tancredo said Wednesday during the opening of his Pueblo campaign office. “I understand the emotional appeal (of making an exception for children). But until you show me a fair way to protect the rights of people who want to legally immigrate . . .”

Would he deport the 12 million undocumented workers in the U.S.? Tancredo shook his head. That’s not necessary if employers would shut the door to hiring them by verifying citizenship, he countered.

The Chieftain's photographer got a better photo than the one we were forwarded above, with GOP gubernatorial frontrunner Tom Tancredo himself standing in front of his new Pueblo campaign office surrounded by both his own campaign signs and hand made ones that said "RACIST." The larger sign you can see above is being held by former Pueblo city councilman Al Gurule:

“Pueblo’s Hispanics should just line up on the street and tell him to get lost,” Gurule said.

Just a few years ago, a fiercely nativist presidential candidate Tancredo vowed to never so much as even advertise in a language other than English–so his new "Viva Tancredo" outreach campaign to Latino Colorado voters represents at least a symbolic departure from his strident old ways. Even if, as Colorado Democratic Party chairman Rick Palacio responded:

“[Tancredo's] obviously smoking something if he thinks a Spanish language ad can somehow erase his years of fighting against the interests of Hispanics and our families.”

The fact is, Tancredo's attempts to organize Latino voters are more about making the traditional white Republican base comfortable than anything else, by giving them something affirmative to argue back when confronted with Tancredo's long and famously xenophobic history. Tancredo and his anti-immigrant record are much too well known in the Latino community to meaningfully rehabilitate his image with them. But if he can convince white Republican primary voters that he's not racist, they may not feel as much trepidation about backing him.

Lest you think this is about you, Pueblo.

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Tea Party role in failure of immigration reform absent from Gardner radio interview

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

House Speaker John Boehner announced last week that Republicans probably won't do anything on immigration reform, because "there's widespread doubt about whether this administration can be trusted to enforce our laws."

This prompted Sen. Charles Schumer to suggest that Congress pass an immigration bill this year, with the stipulation that it not go into effect until 2017, after Obama leaves office. It was a creative idea, but Boehner rejected it, leading to ridicule by Comedy Central's Jon Stewart. See below.

On KFTM radio last week, Colorado's own Rep. Cory Gardner sided with Boehner about being unable to trust the president to enforce U.S. law, but he added a new twist. It was a relationship issue.

Gardner: I think there is need for reform but the bottom line is the President has to show a willingness to make sure that the law is enforced and to be able to work with Congress. And really, it’s unfortunate that the fact, this president put no effort into building relationships with Congress over the past four years on either side of the aisle. It’s really starting to hurt his policy efforts now.

Listen to Gardner discuss immigration KFTM 02 10 2014

Omitted was any consideration of the idea that the relationship-management issues involved in immigration reform had more do to with the relationship between the Tea Party and establishment Republicans, not between Obama and Congress. Especially in light of the fact that the Senate already passed a bipartisan immigration-reform bill.

KFTM should bring Gardner back to find out which relationship-building strategies might have helped him work better with Obama–and with his fellow Tea Partiers.

A Different Ken Buck Video About Domestic Violence

Ken Buck’s campaign is out this morning with a video touting his commitment to fighting domestic violence. Obviously, he’s trying to preempt some of the issues that dogged his last campaign, like his decision not to prosecute a rapist who confessed to the crime, calling the woman’s claims “buyers remorse”, or his issues with sexual harassment.

But it’s a little bizarre that he’d want to dwell on issues like domestic violence, given how abysmal and heartless his record has really been when it comes to protecting victims. Some of this came up in 2010, but I think it’s worth refreshing our memories about who Ken Buck really is, and how extreme he is on these issues.

Take, for instance, this video – which tells a very different story about Ken Buck’s unwillingness to protect a victim of domestic violence. A failure to do so that was probably driven by Ken “I eat Mexican food” Buck’s extremist, rigid anti-immigrant politics.

The video details the case of Maria Gaspar. As the Greeley Trib wrote,

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Omitted from Tancredo interview is his belief that wooing Hispanics is mostly a lost cause

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

If you've been following Tom Tancredo from microphone to microphone over the years, like I have, you know he doesn't think his position on immigration is a liability for him in getting elected governor of Colorado. He thinks he can win in spite of it.

So it was no surprise to hear Tancredo tell KNUS talk-show host Jimmy Sengenberger Sat. that he doesn't care if the Democrats hit him on immigration, if he's running against John Hickenlooper.

Tancredo: Does anyone think I won't be hit on immigration? I intend to be very, very aggressive about that particular issue.

Sengenberger: Do you want them to bring it to you?

Tancredo: Absolutely.

Tom Tancredo on KNUS says, bring on immigration debate 2-1-2014

Tancredo doesn't believe most Hispanics care about his extreme positions on immigration, which, presumably, would include his view that immigration reform is "impossible" to achieve in Washington. (His solution is to require businesses to use e-verify to make it impossible to hire undocumented immigrants.)

Instead, the GOP gubernatorial front-runner argued in Saturday's radio interview that he'll try to reach Hispanics by talking about the importance of legal immigration as well as fiscal conservatism and such. For details, Tancredo directed listeners to VivaTancredo.com.

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GOP on Immigration: Change of Heart or “Long Con?”

Reps. Cory Gardner, Mike Coffman, Scott Tipton, and Doug Lamborn.

Reps. Cory Gardner, Mike Coffman, Scott Tipton, and Doug Lamborn.

Alex Altman writes for TIME Magazine:

Reformers have spent months waiting for House Republicans to lay out a plan to rewrite U.S. immigration law. Now that the GOP has finally made its move, they can’t agree what to make of it.

The blueprint released Thursday is “a game changer,” according to Tamar Jacoby, president of the pro-reform business coalition ImmigrationWorks USA. Or perhaps it’s “a joke,” as Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, told the Washington Post. “It’s a hoax is what it is. It’s like fool’s gold.” [Pols emphasis]

Reform advocates, who pored over the GOP’s 800-word “standards for immigration reform” with the fervor of NSA code breakers, came away divided about whether it represents a genuine effort to untangle one of the knottiest policy problems facing Congress. The divergent reactions proved that the immigration movement is no more a monolith than the famously fractious House Republican conference.

Here in Colorado, as the Denver Post's Allison Sherry reports today, immigrant advocates are largely positive:

[Immigration activist Ricardo] Martinez felt hopeful. He said if House Republicans, who control that chamber and the current destiny of immigration reform, want to make it easier for law-abiding yet undocumented immigrants to obtain legal status, it could be possible for that same group of people to eventually become citizens.

"We can have a conversation about no special path to citizenship," said Martinez, who runs Padres Unidos and regularly flies to the nation's capital for immigrant advocacy. "No one was ever asking for a special path. … At least they're here. It's good there is a conversation going here."

Speaking with Rep. Cory Gardner, who these days appears to lead the Colorado GOP congressional delegation, Sherry heard lip service paid to "moving ahead" on at least one line-item within the larger debate over immigration reform:

"There are people in the conference … I'm not quite sure where they're at," Gardner said. "I don't know what would satisfy them. … We shouldn't wait. It's been over a year now since we said border security was important, and here we are with no border-security bill moving out of the House. The longer we wait, the longer the system continues to be broken."

According to Sherry, Gardner doesn't want to "start a conversation" about what to do with the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants currently in the United States "until the border is secure." In the past, this is the same language used by Republicans which was denounced by immigration reform proponents as a false promise–it's doubtful the border would ever be "secure" enough to make Republicans happy, so calling for all manner of pie-in-the-sky reforms "once the border is secure" is a way to placate reform advocates without actually committing to anything. That's one of the reasons why reform proponents have always preferred a comprehensive bill, like what passed the Senate last year, ensuring all aspects of this complex problem are addressed. Despite that, as you can read above, many reform proponents, even up to President Barack Obama himself, are responding favorably. Others remain skeptical.

The rest of the Republican congressional delegation, Reps. Mike Coffman, Scott Tipton, and Doug Lamborn, all declined comment for Allison Sherry's story today.

Politically, the fight over immigration reform this year affects Coffman more than any other Republican in the Colorado delegation. Formerly a hard-line anti-immigrant Republican in the mold of his predecessor Tom Tancredo, redistricting has forced Coffman to dramatically soften his rhetoric. Coffman no longer represents Tancredo's base of support, and now represents one of the most competitive districts in America. Since barely surviving in 2012 against a second-tier opponent, Coffman is rhetorically a changed man on the issue of immigration–calling for, among other things, a path to citizenship for undocumented children who enlist in the military.

Unfortunately for Coffman, that rhetoric has worn thin after he was given critical subsequent opportunities to vote his newfound conscience on actual legislation–and he failed to do so.

After Obama's address last week, Coffman's response angered Democrats for being belligerently out-of-step with even fellow Republicans, many of whom were offering conciliatory statements after a strong performance by the President. Political liberals hammered Coffman on immigration in particular, saying "it appears that Coffman has been playing immigration reform supporters for fools the whole time." That message went out mere hours before the GOP released their new "principles" on immigration–which, it should be noted, Coffman has yet to publicly endorse.

With the scene laid, we'll pose the question to our readers: should Republican gestures toward immigration reform be taken in good faith by Democrats? Can the "piecemeal" approach advocated by Republicans, apparently starting with "border security," produce acceptable results in an election year? Should immigration reform proponents "go easy" on Republicans, especially Coffman, in hope of obtaining results? Even in an election year? Or is this whole effort by Republicans just a delaying action to keep the issue at bay through November?

The answers to these questions, safe to say, are consequential.

Epic Video: Rep. Jared Polis Explodes In Defense of Immigrants

Huffington Post's Ashley Alman reports, C-SPAN video above–this will wake you up on a cold morning.

Shortly after Rep. Joe Garcia (D-Fla.) recognized the Dreamers present in the gallery during his floor speech, Speaker Pro Tempore Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) noted that it was out of order for him to announce the presence of guests in the gallery. [Rep. Jared] Polis erupted over the comment.

"You think they want to be spending their time here, Madam Speaker?" he asked. "Is that what you think? You think they want to be here in the gallery, probably traveling at their own expense to Washington? And you're saying we're addressing them, and that's what you're upset about Madam Speaker? I want you, Madam Speaker, to address the reason that they are here! They are here because our government is tearing apart their families, Madam Speaker!"

"Will the gentleman from Colorado understand all members–" Walorski began, before being interrupted by Polis.

"No, will the speaker understand that the speaker is obstructing H.R. 15 from coming to the floor? Will the speaker understand that?" he demanded. "Will the speaker understand that the speaker is preventing H.R. 15 from coming to the floor and that is why there are men and women in the gallery that potentially face deportation and their families are being torn apart? It's very simple. It's very simple. It's very simple, Madam Speaker. Very simple."

Jimmy Stewart said it best in Mr. Smith Goes To Washington: "great principles don't get lost once they come to light. They're right here; you just have to see them again." We're not sure if we've ever seen such a compelling indictment of the obstruction that has dominated national politics for the last several years. Certainly not on the floor of the U.S. House. The frustration evident in Rep. Jared Polis' voice in this case results from his longstanding support for comprehensive immigration reform, once again being stymied in the Republican-controlled House. That said, immigration reform is far from the only pressing issue to be neglected by Congress in recent years, and we have to think some of that frustration is visible here as well. Some might consider Rep. Polis' raw emotion to be an inappropriate breach of congressional decorum.

Those people in the gallery he was standing up for, and their supporters everywhere, will not.