Denver Mayor, City Council Compromise On Shielding Undocumented Immigrants

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and members of the City Council struck a compromise Wednesday to further shield immigrants and refugees from federal immigration officials.

The proposal prohibits most city employees from sharing information about Denver residents with ICE, and bans the police and sheriff's departments from engaging in immigration enforcement.

“This has never been more important than now,” Hancock said in announcing the agreement. To the undocumented people living in the city, he said, “We've got your back."

Council members Paul Lopez and Robin Kneich had advanced a proposal earlier that would have completely restricted city cooperation with federal immigration agents. The move, opposed by Hancock, could have increased the chances of the U.S. Justice Department punishing Denver through withholding of federal financing for various programs.

Immigrant rights advocates applauded Wednesday’s news, saying it will help people feel safer around local police. There has been a 12 percent drop in crime reporting by Latino in Denver, according to one study.

“Although the proposed ordinance does not go as far as immigrant rights advocates had hoped, the bill creates significant separation between the City of Denver and Immigration and Customs Enforcement,” said Colorado People's Alliance/ La Alianza del Pueblo en Colorado in a statement.

A variety of advocacy groups also signed on with approval including Mi Familia Vota, Padres & Jovenes Unidos, the ACLU of Colorado and the American Friends Service Committee.