Does Coffman agree with Krieble that new immigrants should, someday, have a political voice?

The idea of having a voice in government is so central to the ideals of America that you wonder how politicians like Rep. Mike Coffman can contemplate giving millions of undocumented workers “legal status,” without offering them the hope of becoming citizens and participants in the democracy that surrounds them, such as it is.

But reporters apparently haven’t asked Coffman the question of whether an underclass of workers should reside in America with no political voice. It would be interesting to hear what he has to say.

When questioned on this topic, conservative Helen Krieble, who advocates the “Red Card” guest-worker program for undocumented immigrants, surprised me by saying that political representation for immigrants is necessary but, she said, it can wait, perhaps years.

On KBDI Channel 12’s Studio 12 program last week, in response to Attorney Aaron Hall’s assertion that this class of workers needs a voice, and access to representation, and that citizenship would give them this protection, Krieble said:

(@ 48:45) I couldn’t agree with you more on that. I just think that it’s important to have that citizenship piece – it’s just so broken, and it is such a very serious issue, that there will be huge numbers of regulations and requirements that are associated with that….

(@ 53:45) Citizenship will be the tough part. At least a year more, two or three years, to get the citizenship part right. Work permits can be addressed this spring or fall… Let’s get this done. There is a pathway to citizenship currently, it is not linked to guest worker program. The pathway to citizenship is coming, but we’re going to take our time to get it right.

Recognizing the need for a path to citizenship is new territory for Krieble, whose plan has been endorsed by GOP strategist Dick Wadhams. There’s no mention of it on her website, and a recent Denver Post article explicitly points out that a path to citizenship is not part of her plan.

Krieble, who resides in Parker, said on KBDI that the need for legal workers is so great, and the complications of figuring out how to offer citizenship so numerous, that we should get going with work permits.

If you’re looking for proof that delaying a decision about citizenship will smooth things out, you better erase from your mind the debate about immigration reform over the past decade or so.

Still, especially in light of Krieble’s new thinking, it’s worth finding out what Coffman and others who are opposing a path to citizenship think about Krieble’s point, that new immigrants deserve a political voice.

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