Two new proposals set into motion by Denver Mayor Michael Hancock aim to protect people in the country illegally.
Hancock is working on an executive order while the city council fine-tunes new ordinances.
“We enforce local laws, we do not enforce federal laws,” City Councilwoman Robin Kniech said during an interview with 9 News Wednesday after the city council meeting.
Denver’s City Council’s proposal, which limits the city’s cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, easily passed through to committee.
According to 9 News, Hancock announced a draft executive order earlier in the week removing Denver from immigration enforcement. City Council members Paul López and Robin Kniech proposed the ordinance that passed committee via a 6-1 vote.
The ordinance prevents jail employees from contacting ICE about an individual’s release without a signed warrant from a federal judge or magistrate. ICE would also need a warrant to gain access to secure areas of a jail that are off-limits to the public.
“This bill is not about changing (ICE’s) responsibility, it’s not about impacting their job, it’s about simply saying, ‘we are not required to do it, and it’s not appropriate for us to do it,’” Kniech tells 9 News.
Under current police, jail staff members give ICE agents warning about individuals they’re interested in before they’re released, according to 9 News.
Showing they’re more interested in adding layers of bureaucracy than working hand-in-hand with federal authorities, Kniech argues federal authorities know who is in jail, and a courtesy call forewarning them about a pending release is not a legal obligation.
“They will continue to know who’s in our jail based on the federal requirements,” Kniech tells 9 News. “We will continue to follow the law and if you have a warrant, you get access to our jail, you get access to inmates and that is the practice in our country.”
Earlier this year, the city found itself in a controversy for giving ICE only 26 minutes’ notice before releasing an inmate from the 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.
According to 9 News under the proposed city council ordinance, jail employees would not be required to give any notice to ICE of an inmate’s release without the warrant.
“They will continue to know who’s in our jail based on the federal requirements,” Kniech tells 9 News. “We will continue to follow the law, and if you have a warrant, you get access to our jail, you get access to inmates and that is the practice in our country.”
Passed to committee, the proposed ordinance will face its first vote before the full council Aug. 21 and a final vote Aug. 28, according to 9 News.
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