DENVER—Illegal entry into the United States may be a federal issue, but try telling that to Dave Schultheis.
The state representative from Colorado Springs marked the start of the 2006 legislative session Wednesday by introducing three bills aimed at countering the wave of illegal aliens from Mexico.
Three other Republicans submitted bills as part of a package aimed at cracking down on employers who hire illegal aliens. And Democratic House Speaker Andrew Romanoff hinted that he might introduce legislation requiring high school students to show English proficiency before graduation.
Gone are the days when illegal-entry issues were the province of a few hard-liners from border states. This week, legislators from Arizona to Massachusetts marked the start of the 2006 session with bills on topics ranging from in-state tuition for illegal aliens to using radar to track border crossers.
The National Conference of State Legislatures ranked the immigration issue sixth in its forecast of the top 10 issues for 2006. Last year, legislators considered 300 bills on immigrants and refugees and approved 36, a figure expected to be surpassed this year.