APRIL 22, 2008
A Colorado legislator faces a formal ethics complaint, possible suspension and expulsion over his comments opposing a bill to grant illegal immigrant farm workers—mostly Mexican— expedited federal visas.
During a heated debate over the proposed law in the state House, Republican Representative Douglas Bruce said that Colorado doesn’t need “5,000 more illiterate peasants.” He also stirred controversy last week for dubbing the bill the "Illegal Alien Importation Act."
Bruce was immediately forced off the floor and one fellow lawmaker, Democrat Terrance Carroll, said the comments were “premeditated bigotry” and an insult to the entire state. The remark could result in a formal ethics complaint that would require a hearing and possible suspension, censure or expulsion.
Bruce stands by his description of the state’s illegal immigrant workers, pointing out that he verified the terms in the dictionary. He confirmed that illiterate means somebody who is lacking in formal education or is unable to read and write. “I don’t think these people who are planning to come over here and pick potatoes or peaches are likely to have much of a formal education,” he said.
As for the word peasant, Bruce said the dictionary verifies that it means a person who works in agricultural fields. The lawmaker says he can’t blame the illegal aliens for trying to find a better life in the U.S. but maintains that lawmakers should not pave the way for more to come.
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