Denver’s City Council expanded and codified its existing policies concerning illegal aliens being held in prison for crimes they have committed by a vote of 10-0 on Monday night. City employees are now banned from asking suspects about their immigration status or allowing ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) officials access to their jails to interview suspects they have flagged for retention unless that have a federal arrest warrant.
Said Councilman Paul Lopez: “We’re not going to let anyone [enlist local police] to do their dirty work … not even a sitting U.S. president, not even a rogue agency. If [that rogue agency, ICE, has] any business with us whatsoever … show us a warrant.”
The bill, entitled the Public Safety Enforcement Act, was passed in response to a request from Republican state Representative Dave Williams from Colorado Springs to the Justice Department to investigate the immigration policies being followed in Denver.
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said that Williams was just trying to capture headlines for himself and said the ordinance is “sending a message” to Williams and anyone else wanting to meddle in Denver’s affairs: "Denver is sending a clear and resolute message to our community that we stand with the immigrant [legal and illegal] and refugee communities and are committed to remaining a city that is safe and welcoming for all."
The mayor also claimed the act would somehow enhance the safety and security of the city: “Local government’s ability to protect and serve all of our people is enhanced when community members feel safe coming forward as either a victim of or a witness to a crime, regardless of their legal status. Through this ordinance and the other steps we are taking, Denver is building a trusting relationship with our immigrant and refugee communities that will improve the safety of our city and help everyone feel more secure.”
One wonders if 32-year-old Tim Cruz feels comforted by Hancock’s words. Cruz, it will be remembered, was murdered in February by Ever Valles, an illegal immigrant who had been released on bail but without Denver authorities notifying ICE, who had been looking for him for previous violations. Denver, following rules that are now “codified” as of Monday night, didn’t inform ICE, even though the federal agency had issued a retention order for him in the event he showed up.
ICE said that Valles was a gang member whose prior record included misdemeanor drug and drug paraphernalia possession convictions, as well as charges pending from October for “vehicle theft, vehicular eluding and weapon possession by a previous juvenile defender.” On February 17, Valles and an associate held up Cruz and then shot him to death at a Light Rail station in Denver.
ICE spokesman Jeffrey Lynch issued this response to the council’s vote:
By passing this irresponsible ordinance, the City of Denver’s leadership has codified a dangerous policy that deliberately obstructs our country’s lawful immigration system, protects serious criminal alien offenders, and undermines public safety. Unfortunately, with this established policy, we can expect to witness more tragedies like we saw in the recent case of Ever Valles, a known gang member and an immigration enforcement priority, who was released in December 2016 by Denver County without ICE being properly notified. He was later arrested and charged with murdering a 32-year-old man at a Denver light rail station just seven weeks after he was released from Denver County Jail.
By unanimously distancing itself further from ICE, the Denver city council increases the chances that another criminal illegal alien sought by ICE will be set free to rape, rob, and murder an innocent. One wonders if the members of the city council will then stand up and admit responsibility for that crime, unanimously.
Photo of Denver from https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22554030