By Shaun Boyd
DENVER (CBS4) - Two bills at the state Capitol have made Colorado Ground Zero in the immigration debate as other states use the legislation as a blueprint.
Rep. Dave Williams, R-Colorado Springs, is the sponsor of a bill cracking down on so-called sanctuary cities.
"We are a nation of laws and we need to uphold the rule of law," Williams said.
Williams says he's bringing the bill because of people like Denver police officer Donnie Young who was killed in 2005 by a man in the country illegally.
"That illegal alien had three prior encounters with local law enforcement and they did nothing to notify federal immigration officials," said Williams.
Under his bill victims could sue the city where the suspect lives if it doesn't enforce immigration laws and elected officials in that city.
"It could potentially not only be politicians having to fork over their own money in a civil suit, but having to go to jail if they were culpable ... because they're the ones creating the environment and if we're going to nip this in the bud so that communities can be safer then we have to force politicians to have skin in the game and be responsible for the actions they take," Williams said.
Rep. Joe Salazar, D-Thornton, says the bill is unenforceable and unconstitutional.
"It just smacks of further attempts to be divisive and terrorizing of communities," Salazar said.
He plans to bring his own bill.
"It basically says we reserve our power as a state government to decide how we're going to use our resources. We're not going to be bullied by a Trump administration to engage in immigration policing," Salazar said.
He says it's not the job of local governments to enforce federal immigration policy.
"If that's what he wants to champion -- being the human dog whistle for Trump across the nation -- that's what Rep. Williams is going to do," Salazar said.
Williams says he's been contacted by lawmakers in Ohio, Maine and Alaska who are modeling bills after the one he's introduced.
"If Joe Salazar and the Democrats want to deny victims their rights to safety, security and justice, then they can go ahead and make that case to the voters. I'm going to make the opposite," Williams said.
Neither bill is expected to make it to the governor's desk with Democrats in control of the House and Republicans in control of the Senate.
for more features.