Immigrant rights groups called it “racist,” but outgoing Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter yesterday decided to join 35 other states in signing onto the federal Secure Communities program, aimed at speeding deportations of illegal immigrants convicted of crimes, the Denver Post reports. “Immigration is this very difficult issue for us as a nation,” said Ritter, who leaves office next week. “Most of what can or should be done has to be done at the national level. The federal government has utilized Secure Communities as one way of attempting to figure out what law violators there are that are illegal immigrants and make an effort to prioritize those in that group who represent the worst of the offenders.”
Emotional opponents of the plan shouted angrily at him as he walked away from reporters. “It’s good you’re out of office, a–hole!” one woman yelled. Ritter, a Democrat who did not seek a second term, will be succeeded by Gov.-elect John Hickenlooper, also a Democrat and upon whose plate the issue would have fallen had Ritter not signed the agreement before leaving office. Hickenlooper issued a statement in support of the plan and confirmed he would not rescind the the agreement.