Group studies immigration

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As the debate about illegal immigration heats up, a Denver think tank is set to release a study about its scope and effects.

The Bell Policy Center, a liberal nonprofit, will release a report Thursday that assesses the economic effects of immigrants, immigrant demographics and political proposals aimed at slowing illegal immigration.

Heather McGregor, a spokeswoman for the center said the report, which is based on existing research, is aimed at laying out the facts about immigration in preparation for what she expects to be an emotional debate about the issue.

"Clearly, it's a big issue in Colorado, and we expect it to be a big issue in 2006," she said.

The center conducted the study because a ballot initiative is expected next year that would restrict governments from providing non-emergency services to illegal immigrants.

The amendment to the constitution would allow citizens to sue the state and local governments for providing non-emergency services to people in the country illegally.

William Herron of Evergreen and his group, Defend Colorado Now, is pushing the initiative.

Herron tried to get the initiative on the 2005 ballot, but legal challenges by opposition groups blocked it.

Herron did not return calls for comment Tuesday.

The Bell Policy Center opposes Herron's legislation. The study it will release Thursday will explain the group's stance on the issue, McGregor said.

Brandon Johansson can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 213, or bjohansson@craigdailypress.com.

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