Andrews, Boyles baselessly accused Senate President Fitz-Gerald of wanting to water down immigration reform legislation

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During recent broadcasts of their radio shows, host John Andrews of KNUS 710 AM and Peter Boyles of 630 KHOW-AM interpreted a Rocky Mountain News article to suggest baselessly that state Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald wants to "gut[]" and "soften" legislation on immigration reform.

In their broadcasts on December 10 and 11, respectively, KNUS 710 AM radio host John Andrews and 630 KHOW-AM radio host Peter Boyles interpreted an article in the December 8 edition of the Rocky Mountain News to suggest baselessly that Colorado Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald (D-Coal Creek Canyon) wants -- in Andrews' words -- to "start gutting last summer's supposedly tough [anti-illegal immigration] bills."

The article that Andrews and Boyles discussed -- "Immigration law under scrutiny: Public-benefits rules are 'overzealously' enforced, senator says" -- reported that Fitz-Gerald had "asked the Mexican Consulate for a list of government agencies that it charges may be violating the intent and spirit of the state's new anti-immigration law." The article further reported that Fitz-Gerald had expressed "a growing concern that illegal immigrants and legal Colorado residents are being denied public benefits for which they are entitled since the passage of House Bill 1023."

Enacted August 1, HB 1023 "sets strict identification checks to prove lawful presence, and is meant to deny illegal immigrants most government services," according to the News.

While discussing Fitz-Gerald's communication with the Mexican consulate about enforcement of HB 1023, Andrews asserted to his guest, U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Littleton), that Fitz-Gerald is "asking for a shopping list" to "start gutting" the provisions of the bill.

From the December 10 broadcast of KNUS 710 AM's Backbone Radio:

ANDREWS: I teased the audience before the break and I need to drop the other shoe on this interesting story from Friday's Rocky: "Immigration law under scrutiny." Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald, according to the subhead, believes that the public-benefits rules regarding potential illegal aliens are, quote, overzealously enforced. And so Senator Fitz-Gerald has asked the Mexican consulate for a list of government agencies that it believes are violating the intent and spirit of the state's new anti-immigration law. It's -- for one thing, it's not anti-immigration. That gripes me. It's against illegal aliens. But the idea that Fitz-Gerald is going to the Mexican consulate and saying, "How can we help you? I'm afraid we legislated badly last summer when we were trying to pander to the voters."

[...]

ANDREWS: Tom, speaking of erosion of progress, I know that you're only a spectator at what the state legislature does, but how symptomatic -- did you see the story on Friday --

TANCREDO: I did.

ANDREWS: -- Senate President --

TANCREDO: Fitz-Gerald.

ANDREWS: -- Joan Fitz-Gerald has gone to the Mexican consulate, for God's sake, asking for a shopping list of how they can -- how they can start gutting last summer's supposedly tough bills.

TANCREDO: That is exactly -- I did see that, and -- and that's what will happen.

Boyles read from a different part of the News article and baselessly argued that Fitz-Gerald and House Speaker Andrew Romanoff (D-Denver) sought to "soften" the legislation:

BOYLES: "House and Senate leaders" -- those are now Democrats. Well there's -- they've always been. I would suspect Romanoff and Joan. Joan. " ... [H]ave approached Colorado Governor-elect Bill Ritter about potentially drafting an executive order that would place clear-cut, concise, and consistent rules to govern -- govern the implemation (sic) of 1023." In other words, soften it.

Contrary to Andrews' and Boyles' suggestion that the legislation would have to be "gutt[ed]" or "soften[ed]" to allow for the provision of certain services to illegal immigrants, the News reported that while "[t]he law affects a wide range of programs, from unemployment to college financial aid and welfare," it "does not apply to emergency medical care, programs for children under 18, a host of medical services such as immunizations and prenatal care and certain federal programs, such as food stamps, that prohibit state intrusion." The News also noted that the Mexican consulate in Denver had "documented cases in which undocumented immigrants, as well as U.S. citizens, are being denied public benefits, police protection and other services they're entitled to."

Boyles likened Fitz-Gerald's appeal to the Mexican consulate to "calling the Colombian narcotics cartel and asking them to tell you whether or not the narcs and the DEA and the U.S. Army are violating the intent of U.S. law to keep cocaine trafficking out."

Boyles also baselessly suggested "there's a connection" between Fitz-Gerald's interaction with the Mexican consulate and the anticipated February wedding of the Mexican Consul General for Denver -- Juan Marcos Gutiérrez González -- to "a major staff member of Senator Fitz-Gerald." According to Boyles, "I got the phone call that it's either her chief of staff or her press secretary, but someone said it's her chief of staff. I've triple-checked it and that's what keeps coming back." Boyles offered no substantiation for his claim. In fact, in the case of Fitz-Gerald's chief of staff, Mary Alice Mandarich actually is married already, to former Denver Deputy Auditor Chip Spreyer.

From the December 11 broadcast of 630 KHOW-AM's The Peter Boyles Show:

BOYLES: April Washington wrote Friday in the Rocky Mountain News -- it's a lengthy piece -- "The president of the Colorado Senate has asked the Mexican consulate for a list of government agencies that it charges may be violating the intent and spirit of the state's new anti-immigration law." Let's stop there because I haven't given you the -- the "oh, my God!" or "what the hell are you talking about?" part of this. So here it is. She's an elected official. She is the head of the Colorado Senate. Why is she asking the Mexican consulate for a list of government agencies that may be violating the intent and the spirit of the state's new anti-immigration law? I want you to let that settle in for a minute. Why would an elected Democrat -- or ele -- it doesn't matter. Party doesn't matter anymore -- an elected official ask an, an agent of a foreign government for a list of U.S. government agencies that may be violating the intent and spirit of the new anti-immigration laws?

[...]

BOYLES: He -- this consulate, Juan Marcos Gutiérrez González -- "said that the Department of Corrections has started to require illegal immigrants to show documentation of lawful presence before they're allowed to visit family members." There's a true violation there. Now here comes the whammo showstopper. I received a phone call on Friday from the highest of high. The belfry. Remember the story that we heard last week that Juan Marcos Gutiérrez González is leaving because he is getting married? He will be back here in February to marry. Remember all of that? For what's behind the luggage -- for what's behind the luggage -- for what's behind the curtain and the luggage -- 303-713-8255 -- guess who the future Mrs. Gutiérrez González works for.

[...]

BOYLES: It's like calling the Colombian narcotics cartel and asking them to tell you whether or not the narcs and the DEA and the U.S. Army are violating the intent of U.S. law to keep cocaine trafficking out. Why would you do that? Of course you would not do that. So I was befuddled by it. So we called her. And then I got the phone call that it's either her chief of staff or her press secretary, but someone said it's her chief of staff. I've triple-checked it and that's what keeps coming back. But it's -- I know this much for sure: It is a major staff member of Senator Fitz-Gerald who is engaged to marry the Mexican consulate in February. Now, do you think there's a connection there?

CALLER: Do I think that there's a --

BOYLES: Yeah.

CALLER: -- connection.

BOYLES: Thank you.

CALLER: Why, why -- why ask the consul when she could just have her chief of staff roll over in bed and get the information.

BOYLES: Well, assuming that they've done that.

[...]

BOYLES: And it ends with how these -- the now powerful Democrats in the state of Colorado are going to ask Bill Ritter to issue an executive order. Read it to you. This is from your Rocky Mountain News: "House and Senate leaders" -- those are now Democrats. Well there's -- they've always been. I would suspect Romanoff and Joan. Joan. " ... [H]ave approached Colorado Governor-elect Bill Ritter about potentially drafting an executive order that would place clear-cut, concise, and consistent rules to govern -- govern the implemation (sic) of 1023." In other words, soften it.

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