Legal experts and activists on both sides say the proposal is more moderate than Chicago, San Francisco
Denver city officials are poised to take a stand on immigration Monday night that likely will rankle federal authorities and the Trump administration.
But even if the proposed immigration policy ordinance were to put some federal grants at risk or invite other federal backlash, national observers with differing views say it’s also likely that Denver would remain overshadowed by other cities.
Chicago, San Francisco and New York are among those that have long been more forceful in protecting immigrants who are in the country illegally, including by refusing to share jail release dates or barring nearly any communication with immigration officials.
“In writing, it’s absolutely a sanctuary city policy,” Chris Chmielenski, a spokesman for Arlington, Va.-based NumbersUSA, said about Denver’s proposal. His group favors more immigration restrictions and opposes such efforts.
“But at the same time,” he added, “it’s not to the level of some of the other cities.”
Denver’s approach — which would give current policies and practices the force of law while adding some new ones — shares a common intent with similar-minded cities: to assure fearful immigrants that police and city employees won’t do anything, including asking about or sharing their legal status, that might put them at more risk for deportation.
Officials say the stance is needed, in part, to ensure victims of crimes and witnesses feel secure enough to report crimes and cooperate with police.
But in some key ways, Denver has taken a moderate tack. Most notably, the measure agreed upon this month by Mayor Michael Hancock and its City Council sponsors maintains the sheriff’s practice of giving U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement a heads-up before releasing inmates wanted on a detainer.
Because of that, Chmielenski — while no fan of the proposal — predicted that Denver “may end up being OK” in any federal crackdown.
By Jon Murray for THE DENVER POST
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