Colorado's Immigration Law Costs $13 Million Annually, Report Says

A Colorado immigration law passed in 2006 requiring local law enforcement to report unauthorized immigrants to federal officials costs the state at least $13 million each year, according to a Denver Westword article.

The story, which cited a recent Colorado Fiscal Institute study, noted that costs rise because immigrants turned over to federal immigration officials had spent an average of 22 days longer in county jails than other arrestees.

The left-leaning Institute examined the costs of arresting, reporting, and detaining undocumented immigrants. The study focused on SB90, the 2006 law that requires all Colorado local governments to report any immigrant arrested for a crime who is suspected to be in the country illegally.

More than 145,100 undocumented-immigrant arrests were reported from 2006 to 2011. The city and county of Denver pays about $1.5 million per year to arrest and detain them, according to the study, "Misplaced Priorities: SB90 and the Costs to Local Communities."

Some advocates criticize the law, arguing that it leads to racial profiling. They also say that it creates greater mistrust between immigrants and law enforcement, which can prevent some victims from coming forward to report a crime.

The Denver Westword article included the story of a teenage driver who was recently stopped for speeding. When Luis Antonio Medrano, 19, said that he did not have a driver's license, he was detained for 19 hours, according to the publication. Medrano was in the process of applying for reprieve from deportation through the immigration order passed by President Obama last summer.

"It changed how I view law enforcement and government," Medrano was quoted as saying. "The situation made me feel like I was a criminal for being who I am."