President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration has caused panic among Colorado’s undocumented immigrants, many of whom fear arrest, detention and even deportation. But for undocumented immigrants who are booked into Colorado jails, whether or not immigration enforcement will be there to pick them upon release depends on where they were booked.
Sheriffs have varying policies regarding communication with federal immigration enforcement. Some note the birthplace of every person they book upon intake, and make this information available to federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents on a daily or weekly basis. Others will share information about “foreign-born nationals” in their custody, but only if ICE requests it. Foreign-born nationals also can be visa recipients, green-card holders and citizens.
Still others refuse to share — or even collect — any of this information at all.
Sheriffs are not required to share information with ICE. Still, Trump’s executive order on immigration –and the threat of withholding federal funding from jurisdictions the administration believes are not cooperating sufficiently — has some sheriffs worrying.
Denver Sheriff Patrick Firman said he has asked Denver city attorneys to review his department’s current policy, which is not to hold anyone beyond his or her release date without a signed detainer or warrant.
In Bent County, Sheriff David Encinias told the Colorado Independent that he is planning to do the same.
“I don’t know what they’re talking about with regards to federal funding,” Encinias says. “I maybe will change my mind to holding them.”
The Colorado Independent has compiled a map showing sheriff’s policies in counties across Colorado. Check it out at coloradoindependent.com.
In related news, hundreds of Denver metro area residents, including immigrants, refugees and their advocates packed a local school auditorium Saturday as city leaders sought to reassure them that the city would not use its law enforcement agencies to enforce federal immigration law.
The Denver Immigrant and Refugee Forum took place as stories raced across the news and social media of immigration raids around the country. It remains unclear whether those raids were in response to President Donald Trump’s executive order related to deportation of undocumented immigrants. That order includes the threat of sanctions for local governments that do not cooperate with federal immigration officers.
“Now I know that we all went to bed and woke up this morning with images of roundups across this country,” Mayor Michael Hancock told the crowd gathered Saturday at Place Bridge Academy school in Denver. “I need to clarify very clearly for you that under no certain terms will our Denver Police Department change the way that it serves and protects the citizens of this city. … We will not become immigration law enforcement officers in this city.”
Among those seeking to reassure those gathered were Police Chief Robert White, Denver County Sheriff Patrick Firman and Acting U.S. Attorney for Colorado Bob Troyer.
Troyer urged calm, saying his office is awaiting further guidance from the Department of Homeland Security and the Attorney General on how the executive order related to sanctuary cities and deportation will take effect.
“That order is broadly stated, as most of those are, and without the further guidance it’s premature to panic about it, and, in particular, in Colorado, it’s premature to leap to any conclusions about what that would do to the relationships between the federal government and law enforcement in this state,” Troyer said.
For more, watch video from the forum at coloradoindependent.com
The infrastructure of Democratic Party is still changing after a series of routine elections continued at the county leadership level over the weekend.
County Democratic parties around Colorado have been holding insider elections to staff up their offices with chairs, vice chairs, secretaries, treasurers and other party officers. These county elections— known as re-org — happen every two years.
In Denver, the county party on Saturday elected a new chairman, Mike Cerbo, a former lawmaker who was president of the state’s AFL-CIO labor union. Cerbo caucused for Hillary Clinton last year in Colorado and was running against JoAnn Fujioka, a longtime party activist. Fujioka had support from a state-based group called #DemEnter, which encourages supporters of Bernie Sanders to run for local party offices.
In Adams County, teachers’ union organizer and activist Lori Goldstein was elected chair. She had support from vocal Sanders supporters such as Thornton Rep. Joe Salazar, who said prior to her election that if she won it would be an “awakening.”
Dave Sabados, who runs the Colorado Young Democrats told The Colorado Independent that he visited several county re-org meeting, and overall, he said, “I’m seeing a surge of young people stepping up and being elected whether it’s to county leadership or House district offices or onto the state central committee,”
Crowd turnout was up, too, he said. Yesterday, in the small, heavily Republican Teller county of Teller, Sabados said they had to keep pulling out more chairs in the public library for the meeting.
For more on these and other local news stories go to ColoradoIndependent.com.