Immigration could decide congressional race in Colorado

With 20 percent of its residents identifying as Latino and its schoolchildren hailing from a remarkable 130 different nations, Colorado’s 6th Congressional District is among the most diverse in the entire United States. These factors considered, it should come as no surprise that immigration reform may be one of the most prominent issues in the upcoming race for this district’s congressional seat. The election race features Andrew Romanoff, who served in the Colorado House of Representatives from 2000 to 2008, and Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo.

Coffman, who has traditionally stood in stark opposition to President Barack Obama’s efforts at comprehensive immigration reform, has recently demonstrated a change in policy in light of the tight race. After voting against Obama’s Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (DACA), a plan that allowed extended stays in America for young immigrants who meet certain criteria, Coffman became one of only 11 total Republicans to vote against a motion to reduce Obama’s authority to give immigrants legal status.

Romanoff, who has been a supporter of comprehensive immigration reform for some time, took note of Coffman’s change of heart in a statement issued by his communications officer, Denise Baron.

“We’re glad to see Congressman Coffman follow Andrew Romanoff’s lead,” Baron said in a statement. “It’s a shame that it took a strong opponent and a tough election to reverse his votes for the moment and suspend his attack on DACA.”

Coffman’s efforts to curry favor among the immigrant population in Colorado don’t stop with his newfound views on DACA and immigration reform. According to NBC News, the congressman has been receiving Spanish lessons from a private tutor every night, with some lasting as long as two hours. He’s begun to offer answers to interviews by Latino news sources in Spanish, as well. While Coffman’s adjustments to his campaign come somewhat late in the game, they are not to be ignored in what is expected to be one of the tightest congressional races of the election season.