Mexicans in Colorado, regardless of immigration status, urged to report crimes

November 17, 2014
Photo: John Walsh, Carlos J. Bello, John Suthers
From left: U.S. Attorney John Walsh, Mexican Consul General Carlos J. Bello, and Colorado Attorney General John Suthers sign a "memorandum of understanding," designed to protect the rights of Mexican nationals in Colorado who are crime victims.

Carlos Bello, the Mexico Consul General in Denver, says many crimes go unreported in immigrant communities. 

“They don’t have to be afraid of it because the authority, now, backs them up," Bello says. "They will not go to [immigration offices] for that.”

Officials spent almost a year and a half working on the agreement. John Walsh, the U.S. Attorney for Colorado, says under the agreement, immigrants need to know they can report crimes without fear, even if they're in the country illegally.

“What it does is commit these three governments to work together to enforce the law and to make sure that the law is fully implemented to protect victims of crime of whatever nationality," Walsh says.

The Mexico Consul General says the next step is educating Mexican communities about their rights under U.S. and Colorado law.

The announcement does not change existing law, says Carolyn Tyler, spokeswoman for Colorado's Attorney General.

"All victims of crime are entitled to the same protections," Tyler says.

CPR's Pat Mack contributed to this report.