An Aurora honor student who is in this country illegally has the support of Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, R-Colo., who on Thursday introduced legislation that would allow Jesus Apodaca and his family to become legal residents. Do you agree with Sen. Campbell's bill that would grant permanent resident status for Jesus Apodaca and his immediate family?Yes, I do.No, I don't.I still haven't made up my mind on this. Earlier this week, dozens of Coloradans showed their support for Apodaca, who had been accepted at the University of Colorado at Boulder, but was denied in-state college tuition and financial aid because of his illegal status. Others, led by Rep. Tom Tancredo, say Apodaca should be deported. But on Thursday, Campbell said, "Laws must be upheld but also must be tempered with compassion. Jesus Apodaca is clearly an exception and the kind of immigrant we should encourage." The Republican also said he felt compelled by the overwhelming compassion in Colorado to introduce this legislation. Campbell introduced the bill on Thursday to protect Apodaca and his family from deportation. Apocada, who graduated from Aurora Central High School, told the Denver Post his family crossed illegally from Mexico into the United States when he was 12. Campbell said it was unlikely that the Apodaca legislation, called a private relief bill, will pass before the Senate adjourns in mid-October. But he said the Immigration and Naturalization Service promised it would not move against the Apodacas until Congress can consider the case. Campbell said Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., chairman of the Immigration Subcommittee, also asked the INS to delay any moves. Campbell said he was moved by Apodaca's story because he himself is the grandson of an illegal immigrant from Portugal. Tancredo, a leading advocate for tighter immigration laws, said it would be wrong to make an exception for the family. He said it would tell others who immigrated legally "that they are suckers." Gov. Bill Owens, a Republican running for re-election, said this week he believes Hispanic voters recognize that not all GOP candidates share Tancredo's views. Owens this month sent out more than 60,000 direct-mail letters to voters with Hispanic last names. A spokesman said the governor would not comment on Campbell's bill until he has a chance to study it.
- September 25, 2002: Tancredo Won't Honor Term-Limits Pledge
- September 19, 2002: Outspoken Critic Of Illegal Immigrants May Have Hired Them
- September 16, 2002: Honor Student Faces Deportation