Two of the biggest police departments in the state of Colorado are making a point of saying they won’t get involved in enforcing federal immigration law.
The Denver and Aurora police departments released statements this week in response to questions received from the community about President-elect Donald Trump’s call for mass deportations of people living in the country illegally.
“Immigration enforcement is handled at the federal level – not by local law enforcement,” read the statement from Denver Police. “The Denver Police Department has not participated in those enforcement efforts in the past and will not be involved in the future.”
On Tuesday, Aurora Police posted a statement to its Facebook page.
For many in the Latino community, there are more questions than answers about what life will be like after President-elect Trump takes office.
“It’s just that feeling of not knowing what’s going to happen,” said Bianca Acosta.
Acosta said she left her home in Zacatecas, Mexico when she was just 15-years-old and came to the United States illegally.
“Heartbreaking,” Acosta said of leaving her family, “but you gotta do what you gotta do to look for a better future.”
Acosta attended a meeting Tuesday evening with Coloradans for Immigrant Rights in Denver to have some of her questions answered. Acosta was aware of the statements made by the Denver and Aurora police departments.
“It gives a little bit of a relief knowing that relationship that the immigrant community has created with the police department,” she said. “They’re showing up now. They’re showing their support, but we are still afraid.”
During an interview on “60 Minutes,” President-elect Trump talked about deporting up to three million people living in the country illegally who had committed crimes.
Denver and Aurora police have made it clear their officers won’t be doing that work.
“We applaud Denver and Aurora for standing up,” Brendan Greene said.
Greene is the campaigns manager for the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, a statewide organization that fights for immigrant rights in Colorado.
“Doing the work of immigration doesn’t do anything to build trust with the community and can actually be damaging to police work,” Greene said.
The Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition is counting on maintaining that trust, and so is Bianca Acosta.
"I think it's mostly about keeping their word accountable," Acosta said.
9NEWS reached out to Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock Tuesday afternoon for comment on DPD’s non-enforcement immigration policy. His office released the following statement:
“Denver is a welcoming and inclusive city where all people are valued. We would not be who we are today without the talents, successes and hard work of our diverse population. We have and always will continue to comply with federal immigration laws, but what Denver will never support unlawful detention.”
During a September interview on Balance of Power, Gov. Hickenlooper said he would resist efforts to enact a mass deportation program.