The Mayor and the President: Hancock on immigration rules, release of murder suspect

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock is offering a defense of all of Denver's citizens - including those who don't have U.S. citizenship and are in this country illegally.

DENVER - Next is continuing its week-long conversation with Denver Mayor Michael Hancock. This time, the Mayor talks about immigration and a fiasco between Denver authorities and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that may have left one dead.

The Mayor and the President, Part 1: Mayor Hancock on his working relationship with President Trump

The Mayor and the President, Part 2: How federal environment regulations impact Denver's goals

The Mayor made it clear in an interview with Kyle Clark that he believes that the current immigration system needs an overhaul. 

"The reality is that we have a broken immigration system." Hancock continued, "We have 11 million people here [in the country illegally] and we must be careful how we deal with individuals under this broken system, because we're going to end up hurting them more than we do helping them."

Legal or illegal, Hancock wants the people of Denver to stay in Denver.

"This city is great because of the diversity of this city and how we have been fundamentally able to be an inclusive a welcoming city. Those things are the hallmarks and true values of who we are. Our economic security is tied up into the productivity of everyone who lives here and works here--legally or illegally."

RELATED: Mayor Hancock: Let Washington call Denver 'whatever they want'

A testy situation arose in early February when the Denver Sheriff's Office allowed the release of a man who entered the country illegally. 

VIDEO: Mayor Hancock speaks about Ever Valles release

That man, Ever Valles, is now suspected of shooting and killing someone at an RTD light rail station. ICE had flagged Valles for possible deportation when he was arrested for car theft in October.

Just 26 minutes before his release, Denver authorities faxed ICE the details of when Valles would be eligible to leave. By that time, it was too late. Valles was gone.

RELATED: Suspect in murder at RTD station had been sought for deportation

RELATED: Family of light station rail murder victim 'livid'

RELATED: Records show 10-hour delay in ICE notification at Denver jail

Hancock offered his take on what could have happened differently.

"The reality is [ICE] knew where he was all along in our system. They could have issued a warrant--they didn't--which would have allowed us to detain him longer. It's unfortunate. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Cruz family."

The Mayor says he has not reached out to the Cruz family, because he wants to know exactly what happened first. He also reassured folks that Denver is not in the business of protecting criminals.

"I want to be very, very clear about this. We do not shield criminals. Our number one responsibility to the people of this city is the safety of the people who live here...we follow the law."

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