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Consulate concerns don’t resonate

Maybe it should have been called a virtual protest.When Glenwood Springs police chief Terry Wilson helped the Consulate General of Mexico obtain space at the city Community Center to issue ID cards and passports, he received more than 100 calls objecting to his actions.People fumed that the city was aiding and abetting the issuance of matricular consular cards that lawmakers have declared largely invalid in Colorado.But it was interesting that, come the day of the event, there were no protesters to be found.Maybe that was because so many of them were from out of the area, or even out of state.Opponents of illegal immigration have shown themselves to be an organized political force, capable of monitoring activities even in small rural towns and seizing on the opportunity to argue their points vociferously.But their fervor doesn’t seem to be widely shared locally. There’s been hardly a peep from the local public about the subject.Maybe we’re all just a little more tolerant locally.Maybe we also recognize the reality that even immigrants who are here illegally contribute much to our local economy and local communities.Perhaps, too, we’re not persuaded by those who call Wilson a “rogue cop” and demand an investigation at the state level because the city provided a taxpayer-funded facility, and waived its normal rental fees, to facilitate the event.In fact, the city was far from an active partner in the allegedly shady goings-on. Rather, it simply agreed to help out a fellow governmental entity as a simple matter of courtesy.Deputy state attorney general Jason Dunn told the Post Independent late last week that he saw nothing illegal in the actions of the city or Mexican government.”Whether or not a local government chooses to allow the Mexican consulate to use its space for activities is a local matter. It’s up to them,” he said.It also doesn’t appear to Dunn that it’s illegal for the Mexican government to issue the matricula consular. For that matter, it doesn’t even look to be illegal for Mexicans to present the card to authorities, Dunn said. Rather, the law only restricts state and local governments in terms of when they can accept the card as valid ID.Supporting a point made by Wilson, Dunn said one of the apparently valid uses of the card is by police, in the case of emergencies.Meanwhile, the card remains an important form of identification for Mexicans in dealing with their own government, in both the United States and Mexico.Opponents of illegal immigration have legitimate concerns about the need for the United States to uphold its immigration laws. But using tactics such as harassing a small-town police department with endless phone calls, and making derogatory comments about illegal immigrants and well-meaning police chiefs, does their position little good. It also lends credence to suspicions that at least some of their motives are borderline racist.The failure of locals to speak up in support of them after their recent outburst may have spoken volumes about the questionable merits of their complaint and their means of expressing it.


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