Denver Sanctuary City policy and Executive Order 116

On December 2, 2005, concerned sovereign Coloradans surprised Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper at a burrito breakfast fundraiser at El Centro - Denver's Illegal Alien Hiring Hall. Citizens questioned him on Denver's sanctuary city policy and demanded the Denver Police Manual be changed to require full cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

See pictures and video of the confrontation and of Denver's illegal alien hiring hall.

On May 8, 2005, Denver Police officer Don Young was assassinated in cold blood by an illegal alien employed at Denver Mayor Hickenlooper's restaurant. The horror is that Denver has an illegal alien sanctuary policy (Executive Order 116), implemented by former Mayor Webb in 1998, which:

  • Declares Denver's strong opposition to federal distinctions between legal immigrants and commits city officials "to the delivery of services to all of its residents."
  • Asserts that federal policy "unfairly impacts many of Denver's children, senior citizens and disabled residents."
  • Vows that the city will back legal rights of all residents in Denver, adding that Webb will urge businesses, schools, hospitals and universities to do the same.

Recently, City Attorney Finegan issued an opinion that Denver does not have a sanctuary policy and that Congressman Tancredo is wrong in saying that it does. Yet this opinion flies in the face of a 1999 City Attorney opinion on 116 that states the following:

  • Executive Order No. 116 is a limited cooperation ordinance. A limited cooperation ordinance recognizes that illegal or undocumented aliens are present in the United States in great numbers. Such limited cooperation ordinances recognize the immigration problem and offer a solution by making adjustments for the benefit of public safety.
  • Executive Order No. 116 discourages reporting of undocumented aliens who seek essential services.
  • ... illegal entry is a criminal offense which can be enforced by both state and federal officials, whereas illegal presence is a civil offense enforceable only by the INS.
  • Since the courts have strictly limited the enforcement of immigration laws by state and local law enforcement to the criminal provisions, it is clear that state and local law enforcement are under no affirmative duty to gather information on an individual's immigration status or to report a violation. Therefore, limited cooperation ordinances, like Executive Order No. 116, merely codify what the courts have already decided and that is, state and local officials have no jurisdiction to enforce civil provisions of federal immigration laws.
  • Moreover, both the present [police] departmental policy 104.5 and the interim policy, § 103.52(3) go further and restrict officers from enforcing even the criminal portions of the INA, without prior approval from a supervisor or commander.


Another order, Executive Order 119, authorized Denver to accept bogus Mexican Matricula Consular IDs, until prohibited by state law. Denver's police department operations manual states, "Generally, officers will not detain, arrest, or take enforcement action against a person solely because he/she is suspected of being an undocumented immigrant." It is not just Executive Orders 116 and 119, but rather these orders in conjunction with Denver's Police operations manual and city and police practices that embody Denver's sanctuary policy.

Denver's sanctuary policy is nothing more than a de facto amnesty for illegal aliens, including known felons. Denver's police officers are handcuffed by Denver's sanctuary policy. They are effectively prevented from notifying immigration authorities about the presence in Denver of illegal aliens. This virtual amnesty for foreign criminals places the safety and welfare of citizens at risk, and must stop.

See CAIRCO's May, 2005 Press conference and protest of Denver sanctuary policy.