DENVER – Undocumented immigrants living in fear due to the increasing amount of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrests across Colorado are getting some help in the form of a hotline.
The hotline, called the Colorado Response Network, will respond to ICE sightings across Colorado and will monitor agent activity, verify or deny so-called ICE raids and provide legal guidance to help undocumented immigrants on what to do during encounters with ICE officials.
A spokesperson for the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition also said the purpose of the hotline is to resist civil rights abuses in Colorado.
Advocates, community members, people of faith and workers came together “to create a resistance network to deportations and to stand with immigrants, refugees, and everyone who has been attacked by this administration.”
“We will not stand for ICE agents acting with impunity in our communities and will work together to defend ourselves against the civil rights abuses of a federal agency that has gone rogue,” said Nicole Melaku, the executive director of the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition.”
The spokesperson added the hotline was “a way to provide a trusted foundation in fighting the out-of-control federal immigration enforcement apparatus and to stop the spread of misinformation in immigrant communities in light of the fear brought on by xenophobic rhetoric.”But ICE officials said their concern is precisely that – misinformation. In a statement sent to Denver7, an ICE spokesman says:
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is concerned about any platform that may spread unsubstantiated claims or misinformation given that they could potentially cause unfounded concern in the community. Rumors of ICE checkpoints and sweeps are dangerous and irresponsible. These rumors create panic and put communities and law enforcement personnel in unnecessary danger. Any groups falsely reporting such activities are doing a disservice to those they claim to support.
Immigration arrests up in Colorado
Deportation fears have been felt across the state since President Donald Trump signed an executive order calling on ICE officials to crack down on undocumented immigrants with criminal histories.
In Colorado and Wyoming, arrests rose by 21 percent this year over last, and removals were up by nearly 150 percent, according to data released by ICE back in May. Non-criminal arrests rose from 28 last year to 134 this year.
But the largest increase in Colorado and Wyoming ICE actions came in removals, which increased from 323 last year to 793 over the time period this year—an increase of 145 percent.
This year, 494 of those removed had criminal convictions, and 299 were non-criminals.
The hotline will be staffed by over a hundred bilingual volunteers who will be trained to track, verify and confirm ICE arrests in immigrant communities across Colorado.
The phone number for the Colorado Rapid Response Network is 1-844-864-8341.
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