Denver reaches compromise on immigration ordinance

The city of Denver appears poised to pass an ordinance putting its immigration policy into writing, a move that could potentially put it at odds with the federal government under President Donald Trump.

KUSA - The city of Denver appears poised to pass an ordinance putting its immigration policy into writing, a move that could potentially put it at odds with the federal government under President Donald Trump.

“No matter what you read in the tweets, nothing in this bill violates the law,” at-large city councilwoman Robin Kniech said. “This bill follows the law.”

In summary, the ordinance would:

-Put existing city policies into writing that would prohibit detaining people beyond their sentences
-Formalize the policy of prohibiting city employees from collecting information on immigration or citizenship status, except when already required by law.
-Prohibit sharing information about individuals for the purpose of immigration enforcement unless required by state and federal law. With this being said, the Denver Sheriff’s Department will still be able to notify ICE about inmates who are released when able. 
-Put into writing existing practices that prohibit the use of city resources or city cooperation with civil immigration enforcement, including providing access to secure areas or facilities.

This is something of a departure from a previous iteration of the bill, which did not require any notice to an inmate’s release without a warrant.

This was a source of controversy since earlier this year, the city came under fire for only giving ICE 26 minutes’ notice before releasing an inmate from a downtown Denver jail. Ever Valles was a known “immigration enforcement priority” before he was arrested and charged with the murder of a man at a light rail station.

City officials say this law came about because “when immigrants fear city involvement in immigration enforcement, they are less likely to trust police or fire officials, to report emergencies, or to testify or appear at court.

“Our entire community is safest when everyone trusts the city and utilizes law enforcement agencies,” the proposal reads.

The deal is a win for the Meyer Law Office.

Attorney Hans Meyer says it creates clear rules of engagement and he feels he can tell his immigrant clients they will be treated fairly by the city.

"Today’s announcement allows people like me to tell my clients you can trust local police, you can trust local government, you can report crime, you can come to court to pay your tickets and you don’t have to worry about ICE manipulating our local systems for a mass deportation program. And that’s important because it allows people to trust their local community which makes people more safe,” Meyer said. 

During a news conference on Wednesday afternoon, Mayor Michael Hancock said he opposed federal immigration policy under the current administration.

“There is a painful lack of leadership at the federal level,” Hancock said.

“We will not be bullied,” he went on to say.

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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