Denver is still a sanctuary city - FAQ

Even though sanctuary cities have been made illegal in Colorado, it appears that Denver is in fact still a sanctuary city.

September 13, 2010 - Senator Ted Harvey, coauthor of SB 06-090, asks: "Denver is not a sanctuary city," says a Denver Post editorial. Is that a fact or is it fiction?

Fact or Fiction? Denver has been certified by a state audit report as being in compliance with SB 06-090.

FACT: The 2009 state audit was an audit of the reporting process, not an audit of the numbers submitted by cities and counties. It did not certify Denver or any city as being in compliance. For example, in 2007, 181 Colorado cities and counties reported zero contacts with ICE, yet none were audited for compliance.

Fact or Fiction? Mayor Hickenlooper claims that Denver "made over 7,000 calls to ICE since 2006."

FACT: Denver police officers made less than 500 calls to ICE since 2006 out of over 250,000 total arrests, over 15,000 DUI arrests and over 500,000 traffic stops. Over 7,000 referrals were made to ICE by the Denver county jail for individuals already in custody. Hickenlooper consistently lumps the two numbers together - Denver police referrals and jail referrals – thereby misrepresenting the extent of Denver police contacts with ICE.

Fact or Fiction? Denver operates much the same way all other Colorado cities and counties do.

FACT: The El Paso County jail operates cooperatively with ICE through a 287g agreement, which trains and deputizes jail personnel to use the ICE database to identify illegal aliens. At least five other counties including Arapahoe and Jefferson are on the waiting list for that program, but Denver city officials have steadfastly opposed joining. As far as "street arrests" are concerned, the Denver Police Department's 105 referrals to ICE in 2009 represent 4% of the 2,720 reported to ICE by its neighbor Aurora, a city half its size with only 46% as many police officers. That's a 50-to-1 ratio per capita.

Fact or Fiction? There is no official policy in Denver that obstructs police cooperation with ICE.

FACT: There are two official Police Department documents that violate SB 06-090. Denver Police Operations Manual section 104.52 requires a police officer to get a supervisor's approval prior to calling ICE. Also, a Denver PD "Training Bulletin" distributed in September 2006 says police officers need not change their procedures because of SB 06-090. As a result, in 2009, Denver police officers made only 105 "Refer to Immigration" notes on arrest reports for 63,803 individuals arrested. That is less than .002% of arrests.

Fact or Fiction? Fact or Fiction? ICE has increased its deportations from Colorado dramatically since SB 06-090 was passed, which shows Denver and other cities are now cooperating with ICE.

FACT: Although ICE contacts have undoubtedly increased since 2006, a large percentage of the individuals deported by ICE come from its expanded efforts under the Criminal Alien Program (CAP), not from local law enforcement referrals. Four years after SB 06-090 was passed, it remains true that a majority of illegal aliens arrested by local police are NOT referred to ICE under the probable cause standard of SB 06-090, are not identified as illegal aliens, and thus, are not deported.

Fact or Fiction? Fact or Fiction? According to Mayor Hickenlooper, Denver wants to participate in ICE's "Secure Communities Program," which now awaits only Gov. Ritter's approval.

FACT: Ritter and Hickenlooper have stalled a decision on the adoption of the SCP for 18 months since discussions with ICE began in April 2009. Over that period, hundreds of criminal aliens arrested for minor crimes in Denver have been released back into the community instead of being identified by ICE and evaluated for possible deportation. If Hickenlooper had endorsed the program in 2009 and publicly supported it, it would be in place today.

Fact or Fiction? Fact or Fiction? Denver city council has adopted a requirement that companies doing business with the city must use the federal E-verify program.

FACT: The new policy comes four years after the state mandated the E-verify program for all companies doing business with state agencies, but Denver's policy applies only to construction contractors, not to scores of other employers with hundreds of employees. Thus, Denver taxpayers are still underwriting the employment of countless illegal aliens.