A community meeting on April 28, 2017 of local organizations and three Denver City Council members was the catalyst for a new ordinance in Denver that solidifies protections for the immigrant community.
Longtime immigrant rights advocate Julie Gonzales, policy director for the Meyers Law Office said that after that meeting, the community began working with City Council to reach Monday’s unanimous decision in favor of the Public Safety Enforcement Priorities municipal ordinance.
Similar to other cities across the nation including in Boulder, Colorado that adopted a similar ordinance on January 3, 2017, Denver will not cooperate with the feds in conducting immigration enforcement activities. The new ordinance:
Prohibits the jail detention of individuals beyond their sentence.
Prohibits City employees from collecting information on immigration or citizenship status.
Prohibits the sharing of any other information about individuals for purposes of immigration enforcement
The ordinance stops short though of stopping the notification of ICE when someone being released from jail is suspected of lacking documents to be in the country legally. This provision was important to maintain to Mayor Michael Hancock in order for him to sign onto the ordinance he said earlier this month.
Public comment was also unanimous in support of the measure. Thirty-two people talked about why support for immigrants is important to Denver including Howard Dotson, a pastor at People’s Presbyterian Church in Denver, “I witnessed an [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] raid across the hall from me. I saw what it did to my entire complex.” Dotson sang the chorus from the song “City of Immigrants” for the council.