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Immigration Fear Factor

Apparently, the Undocumented-American community is having a tough time of it. No, really.

A year after state lawmakers passed what they called the toughest illegal-immigration laws in the nation, there is no proof illegal immigrants have been caught taking advantage of taxpayers. Instead, there are abundant stories of citizens eligible for services who can't prove it because they lack the required ID.

Of one side, the side that wants to prevent illegal aliens from taking our tax dollars, "proof" is demanded. From the other, anecdotal evidence comprising "abundant stories" is sufficient. Of course, abundance is also in the eye of the reporter.

"We have nothing to show that this law is doing what it was intended to do," said Maureen Farrell, executive director of the Colorado Center on Law and Policy. "The reality is that more citizens appear to be impacted than illegal immigrants."

The Post, as freuqently happens when referencing liberal think tanks, fails to identify them as such. The CCLP's mission: "The Colorado Center on Law and Policy's mission is to promote justice and economic security for all Coloradans, particularly lower income people. CCLP advocates on behalf of the the poor, working poor and other vulnerable populations though legislative, administrative and legal advocacy." Maybe so you won't notice there's no "balancing" conservative opinion.

Beyond the effects on hospitals and social-service providers, businesses have also complained that the anti- immigrant fervor generated by HB 1023 and other laws has made it harder to find employees.

Ah, that's why! There is no balancing conservative opinion! Or at least no balanced conservative opinion. There's merely, "fervor." Fervor all through the Right. Fervor! Funnily enough, it's actually generated by the law in question, rather than helping to generate it. Oh, and note that it's no longer about illegal immigrants, but all immigrants.

Other lawmakers, meanwhile, argue HB 1023 doesn't go far enough.

Sen. David Schultheis, R-Colorado Springs, said tales of how the law is hurting the homeless and indigent are a diversion tactic by social-service providers.

"That is being used as an excuse to make sure that this procedure is loose enough to ensure that anyone can apply," he said.

Schultheis never actually says the laws don't go far enough. What he does say is that social service providers want to, well, provide services, and that their claims are misleading.

Others argue that such immigrants were never draining Colorado coffers.

"People who are undocumented are here to work - not use social services," said Deb DeBoutez with the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless.

Except for the gang members who are here to funnel drug money to jihadists, that is. They're fine, law-abiding illegals.

State agencies reported this year that the package of immigration laws cost them about $2 million to put in place. But they found no cost savings through kicking illegal immigrants off of state rolls.

This is the WMD method of argument. Fine enough for a Presidential debate, not so good for what supposed to pass for journalism. In fact, cost savings was only one reason for this law. Perhaps more important was taking away a reason for people to come here.

It is estimated there are nearly 12 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. and about 225,000 to 275,000 in Colorado.

If this doesn't conjure up images of Drew Carey standing on a stage, asking these reporters to make a guess, with the audience yelling, as one, "higher, higher!" There's no source for the national numbers, they're clearly at the low end of the range. Apparently, the numbers for Colorado come from a study by the left-leaning Pew Hispanic Center, but you wouldn't know this, either.

A large number of those who are affected, especially in the case of health care, are indigent citizens. Just try mentioning that mentally ill homeless should be put in state facilities, though, and see how many syllables make it out before, "warehousing!"

Denver Health, which serves a large percentage of the indigent and homeless population, has spent nearly $2 million in the past year treating indigent patients who don't have enough identification to prove they are legal residents. The hospital cannot include such charges in its application for a refund through the Colorado Indigent Care Program.

"It means that we have $2 million less in our operating budget," said Bobbi Barrow, a spokeswoman for Denver Health.

A shooting victim who arrived at Denver Health's emergency room without insurance or state-approved ID stayed for more than a month, leaving behind a $182,000 medical bill.

Denver Health's loss will not save the state any money.

Hospitals are refunded a percentage of the money they spend each year on indigent patients. But there is a fixed amount of grant money each year, and the state divides it up among the hospitals. So just because a hospital spent more money on indigent care, it doesn't mean that it will get a bigger check from the state.

This is simply incoherent. According to the logic, they weren't going to be able to recover the money, anyway, because there's a cap on how much the state pays out. We're not told what the algorithm for dividing up the money is (did the reporters even bother to ask?), so we have no idea whether spending more or less is better.

There's more, largely about the amount of paperwork the rule is causing non-profits. Don't hold your breath waiting for the paper to endorse a flat tax.

Oh, and that "fear factor" headline. Apparently Jim Spencer was able to find work after the buyout, after all.

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