DENVER – The Denver Sheriff Department is welcoming the decision by federal immigration officials to stop publishing a controversial weekly report targeting jurisdictions deemed “uncooperative” with federal immigration enforcement efforts.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement started releasing the report in late March, but it quickly drew backlash from law enforcement agencies and various cities and counties around the country that said the report contained erroneous information. So-called “sanctuary cities” have been targeted under the new administration and threatened with the loss of federal funding.
Simon Crittle, a spokesman for the Denver Sheriff Department, which operates Denver’s jail, said the department “had serious concerns about erroneous information” being released by ICE.
“Their last report incorrectly stated we failed to alert them when a particular individual was being released. In fact, we gave them three hours’ notice,” Crittle said, adding that ICE “failed to communicate” with DSD before it released its list and “did not cross-check their information with ours.”
Crittle also reiterated that DSD does not detain people on ICE’s behalf unless ICE has a criminal warrant, but it does share information and cooperate with the federal agency – as is the case with all Colorado sheriff’s departments.
Last week, Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Shrader sent out a lengthy letter also reiterating that the county was not a “sanctuary county” despite ICE’s claims.
“Jefferson County has been unfairly and inaccurately labeled a ‘sanctuary county’ by advocacy group and as non-cooperative by the federal government for my decision to decline [ICE] requests to hold certain foreign-born inmates beyond their release dates,” Shrader wrote. “Through its ICE hold requests, the same governing body that created our Constitution is asking me and all local sheriffs to violate the nation’s founding principles as well as the oath we took when sworn into office.”
His letter detailed past instances in which ICE had meddled with Jefferson County inmates, including one case in which the sheriff’s department was sued by the ACLU in 2009, when an inmate was held beyond his release date at ICE’s request without an approved warrant.
Shrader said that last year, 1,109 foreign-born inmates were booked into the county’s detention facility and that ICE “indicated interest” in 94 of those people, though it did not ever present a warrant for any of them.
He said the ICE and Department of Homeland Security weekly release, which came as a result of an executive order signed by President Trump, was “replete with errors, specifically where Jefferson County is concerned.”
When the initial report came out, Boulder Sheriff Joe Pelle said the county was in compliance with federal laws and that the sheriff’s office would continue to follow its current policy.
Sarah Rodriguez, a deputy press secretary for ICE, told the Washington Post earlier this week that the publication of the report would be “temporarily suspended” and that after the agency reviews its reporting method, the report would again be published.
A DHS spokesman also told The Post that errors in the report were a main reason for its suspension.
“We’ve identified that there have been some data-processing errors,” said the DHS spokesman, David Lapan. “That’s why the decision was made: Let’s take a pause and make sure that we look at this holistically and make sure that we’re getting it as accurate as possible.”
But The Post also reports that when the report may resume is still up in the air because DHS and ICE have yet to define exactly what a “sanctuary city” is.