DENVER - The decades-old debate over whether Denver is a "sanctuary city" is coming to a head in the next month.
Denver is faced with a choice: cooperate more fully with the Trump administration's immigration agents, or, face a loss of about $400,000 per year in funding for law enforcement.
Monday, the city of Chicago showed Denver a possible third option: sue the federal government.
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock's office told Next it's too early to say what, if any role Denver would have in supporting Chicago's lawsuit.
The 46-page suit attacks Attorney General Jeff Sessions' plan to deny funding for sanctuary cities on several levels, claiming it's unconstitutional, it interferes with Congress' ability to dictate spending and interferes with the rights of local governments to decide their own law enforcement priorities and practices.
In the 2017 fiscal year, Denver is due to receive $423,000 in what are known as Byrne JAG grants. The program's formal name is the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program.
The Trump Justice Department's website notes that Edward Byrne was a New York City police officer killed by violent drug gangs. That's true. What the website doesn't mention is Officer Byrne was ambushed and killed that night in 1988, while he was protecting an immigrant from Guyana, who had informed on drug dealing in his neighborhood.
Denver, Chicago and other cities with sizeable populations of people in this country illegally have pointed out that while Attorney General Sessions highlights people here illegally who commit crimes, there are others here illegally who are victims of crimes, or who are cooperative witnesses against dangerous criminals.
It's worth remembering, as the Trump administration makes the Byrne JAG grant program the tip of its spear thrust at sanctuary cities, that Officer Edward Byrne's final act on Earth was to give his life protecting an immigrant who wanted to make their city more safe.
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