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Unplanned bus drop-offs prohibited in Douglas County in response to influx of immigrants

Potential penalties for unplanned drop-offs from commercial vehicles in Douglas County include a $1,000 fine per passenger and the seizure of the vehicle.
Posted at 6:58 PM, Apr 02, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-02 20:58:41-04

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. — In a unanimous vote, Douglas County Commissioners approved a new ordinance that would prohibit any unplanned passenger drop-offs from commercial passenger vehicles.

The county acknowledged they have not received any buses carrying immigrants, but consider the ordinance as a preemptive measure.

Transportation from ride shares, RTD, state or municipal vehicles or taxis are exempt.

Dougco approves ordinance prohibiting immigrants arriving on buses

A company in violation could be fined up to $1,000 per passenger unloaded, and in some cases, the vehicle itself could be seized by the county for being a public nuisance.

"Those plans are questionable. I think we should absolutely look into whether it's even legal. It's not at all surprising that Douglas County is even considering this," said Gladis Ibarra with the Colorado Immigrants Rights Coalition. "I think this is very much a coordinated effort and I'm wondering if the residents of these counties are actually asking for this."

Not a single citizen showed up in person or online to the special public hearing that was scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

Commissioners attributed that to collecting relevant feedback during a separate town hall last week.

Commissioners spoke to the issue prior to the vote, saying it all comes down to not having adequate resources to house or properly serve immigrants.

They said it would be best for the health and welfare of the community and newcomers if immigrants did not come into Douglas County.

"A year ago, the City and County of Denver was very welcome to migrants and feeling very capable of being able to care for those migrants and provide for their welfare," said Commissioner George Teal. "Well, I think they're starting to change their mind on that and so I think it's just a matter of time that they start having a change of policy."

Teal and the other commissioners expressed concern over the possibility that Denver could start sending immigrants into neighboring communities, a claim that Denver officials said is not true.

The final vote passed the measure as an emergency ordinance, meaning the changes are in effect immediately.

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