Denver Council Members Step Up Stand Off With Feds Over Undocumented Immigrants

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4min 46sec

Pushing to make their city more welcoming to people living in the country without documentation, two Denver City Council members, Paul Lopez and Robin Kneich, are advancing a bill to formalize -- and in some cases, expand -- policies that limit cooperation with federal immigration officials.

"If they weren't living in the shadows before, they certainly are now," Lopez said of those immigrants, who face the prospect of ever-tightening law enforcement driven by the Trump administration. "They are afraid to call the cops when they need to. They're afraid to call 911 when there's an emergency."

"That's a sad thing. It's absolutely unacceptable," he added.

The city council members say that while Mayor Michael Hancock has put some policies in place that shield immigrants, they want laws on the city books so that, when a new mayor takes office, the laws will stand on their own.

If adopted, their proposal would mean that Denver authorities will not hold people without a criminal warrant, city officials including police will not ask someone about their immigration status, city money will not be used for immigration enforcement, and Denver police will not share information with federal authorities unless it's already in law.

Denver has come under some criticism lately after the jail allowed an undocumented immigrant bond out a day after he was involved in a fatal fight with another inmate. Immigration authorities had asked to be alerted before the man was released, but did not arrive in time to take him into custody. He has since reportedly been detained.