Denver City Council set to decide fate of immigration ordinance

Posted at 10:00 AM, Aug 27, 2017

DENVER -- The Denver City Council will vote Monday night on a proposed ordinance to change the city’s public safety priorities laws regarding immigration and law enforcement cooperation with federal agents.

“There are certain practices that we have been already employing as a city and what we’re trying to do is memorialize some of those existing policies,” councilman Paul Lopez told Anne Trujillo on this weekend’s Politics Unplugged.

The proposed ordinance is called the Denver Public Safety Enforcement Priorities Act. If passed, it would create a working group of experts and locals who will monitor the efficacy of the policies, which include helping teach immigrants and refugees their legal rights, protecting any victims of or witnesses to crimes regardless if they are in the U.S. legally or not, and helping kids who are separated from their families because of federal immigration enforcement.

It would also set in city ordinance language prohibiting city employees from collecting information on people’s immigration status, and would prohibit the sharing of people’s personal information for the purpose of ICE’s enforcement.

Part of that would mean that the Denver Sheriff Department would have to continue notifying ICE of pending releases “to the extent they are able.”

The new proposed ordinance differs from what had been discussed recently in two ways: it clarifies language on when and what information a city employee can share, and it requires sheriff’s deputies to advise inmates of their legal rights before they’re released.

“It’s no mystery to know that this administration has been very outright and at times very radical in how they are approaching enforcement, immigration enforcement in that conversation in our country,” Lopez said. “There’s been a lot of hysteria, a lot of rhetoric and that has a real effect, and the real effect is that people are very afraid.”

Politics Unplugged airs Sundays at 4:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Denver7.