Business not for job hunters -- or John Hickenlooper

Amid the white-hot debates raging over Arizona's new immigration law, it's harder than ever to separate the spluttering from the substance when it comes to immigration policy. Especially if you're trying to make sense of the über-patriotic sentiments found online at

A project of the Federal Immigration Reform and Enforcement (FIRE) Coalition, the website provides an outlet for frustrated citizens to rat anonymously on the illegal aliens among us -- and more pointedly, to expose the employers of said aliens. But judging from the Colorado entries found there, the information provided is both dated and often less than reliable.

Most of the reports seem to be to be more than four years old , aside from a couple of 2009 entries having to do with some Koreans at an Aurora store who "wear normal clothes because they prepare to escape when ICE or officers come in market."

And the quality of the documentation that the folks in question are undocumented? Let's just say it ranges from hearsay to hysterical. Here's a report on custodians at DIA: " I have frequently seen several suspicious, non-English speaking Mexicans at Denver International Airport in janitorial positions. I asked a few of them questions (directions), none being able to understand/speak English well enough to answer. A lot of Americans are out of work and would appreciate these jobs."

No doubt. Along with the usual suspects -- Wendy's, McDonald's, Wal-Mart, various roofing and construction companies -- several of the targeted businesses happen to be restaurants in which Denver Mayor and gubernatorial candidate John Hickenlooper has had an interest. Restaurateur Pete Contos (Satire, Pete's Gyros Place, etc.) also comes in for a fair amount of heat -- but again, we're talking anonymous screeds from several years ago.

In light of the current fervor over the issue, in Colorado and throughout the West, it's surprising the site hasn't been better maintained. The people at FIRE should take a gander at NoJobsJohn and other GOP-sponsored sites if they want to get their Looper-bashing in before the fall elections.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Alan Prendergast has been writing for Westword for over thirty years. He teaches journalism at Colorado College; his stories about the justice system, historic crimes, high-security prisons and death by misadventure have won numerous awards and appeared in a wide range of magazines and anthologies.
Contact: Alan Prendergast