Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and Council Members Reach Immigration Policy Agreement — But Hold Back Details

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and two City Council members on Tuesday said they reached an agreement on competing proposals to step up the city’s resistance to federal immigration enforcement.

But all three were mum on the details ahead of a planned release of a new council proposal Wednesday — while saying through spokespeople that they considered it a consensus proposal, not a compromise by either side.

“I’m just as anxious as you are to see what that language is to make sure it reflects our community concerns,” said Julie Gonzales, a supporter of the old council proposal. She is the public policy director at the Meyer Law Office, an immigration law firm.

The council proposal by Robin Kniech and Paul López had taken the most hard-edged approach, winning favor from several immigrant advocates. Among other provisions, it had aimed to prohibit the Denver Sheriff Department from notifying the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency when jails are about to release inmates wanted on a federal immigration detainer, in most cases. Such inmates usually are living in the country illegally.

But two weeks ago, Hancock — who disagreed with shutting off communication with ICE about releases — floated a proposed executive order that also would step up resistance to the recent ICE crackdown but differed in some of the details. His order also would create an immigrant legal defense fund.

Both sides were responding to community concerns about immigration policies pursued by the Trump administration to combat illegal immigration, including more aggressive enforcement actions in Denver such as arrests by ICE agents in local courthouses.

And both proposals attempted to address fears by increasing the city’s resistance to ICE, but Hancock and the city attorney’s office have said they also hoped to avoid making Denver more of a federal enforcement target with the city’s stance.

Kniech, López and Hancock announced their agreement Tuesday morning during the weekly mayor-council meeting.

By Jon Murray for THE DENVER POST
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