KUSA - Democrats hope to fire up Latino voters in Colorado over a U.S. House vote last week to de-fund President Barack Obama's program to extend temporary legal status to immigrants who entered the country illegally as children.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee launched a radio ad campaign on Spanish-language stations Monday targeting Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colorado) for voting with most other most Republicans to effectively undo the deferred-deportation program, which has been criticized as a form of executive-branch amnesty.
Listen to the ad here: http://bit.ly/18olhu3
"Congressman Coffman wants to restart the deportations of 800,000 young people who grew up in this country, worked hard and are just looking for their chance to achieve the American dream," a Spanish-speaking announcer said.
The President modeled the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program after the terms of the failed DREAM Act, which would have given this group of immigrants a pathway to permanent legal status.
The DACA program allows people who illegally entered the country before reaching age 16 to legally work and reside in the country.
Democrats are hoping to turn the tide against Coffman, who represents the swing district encompassing Aurora and suburbs north and south of Denver.
"It's hypocritical and dishonest for Washington Democrats to criticize anyone for having extreme views on immigration when they hand-picked Andrew Romanoff," Tyler Houlton, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, said. "It's hypocritical and dishonest for Washington Democrats to criticize anyone for having extreme views on immigration when they hand-picked Andrew Romanoff, who once bragged about passing the toughest anti-immigration laws in the nation as Speaker of the Colorado House."
He points to a 2006 law passed while Romanoff was Speaker that requires Colorado law enforcement officers to report people suspected of being in the country illegally. The law imposes that requirement only for suspects who have been arrested for criminal offenses.
The issue dogged Romanoff in his unsuccessful 2010 bid for US Senate.
Coffman won re-election by a 2-point margin in 2012 against Democratic Challenger Joe Miklosi.
High turnout and support from Hispanic voters are viewed as a key factor in Democrats' effort to wrest the district away from the GOP.
Former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff has already started a campaign to challenge Coffman in 2014.
Rep. Coffman released a statement saying: "I strongly support giving a path to citizenship for the children who grew up and graduated from school here as part of a comprehensive immigration reform package but within these I.C.E. memos there is simply too much prosecutorial discretion."
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