ICE Subpoenas Denver Officials Requesting Info On Undocumented Migrants But State Lawyer Says They’re Not Valid
It is the right, under the constitution, of state and local governments, including law enforcement, to refuse to cooperate with federal law. In other words, if the federal government issues a mandate, local officials do not have to comply. That is why some cities abide by Sanctuary policies to protect undocumented immigrants that are being persecuted by government agencies such as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). However, ICE isn’t bowing down to the constitution and is taking matters to the courts.
Earlier this week, Homeland Security has issued a subpoena to Denver law enforcement to get information on three Mexican nationals and one Honduran who were previously in custody.
“Since we have no cooperation at the Denver justice center, we are modifying our tactics to produce information,” Henry Lucero, deputy executive associate director for ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations, said, according to the Associated Press.
According to the AP, Denver officials have 14 days to respond to the subpoena in three of the cases, but in the other, they have three days to respond. ICE officials allege that all four foreign nationals have been in jail for sexual assault and child abuse and have been previously deported.
“In the past, we had full support. We collaborated in the interest of public safety,” Lucero added. “This is a drastic change. And one ICE is forced to do and puts other agencies on notice that we don’t want this to happen. We want to protect the public.”
Officials at the Denver mayor’s office said they would not comply with the demands of ICE because the paperwork issued by ICE are not proper subpoenas but rather administrative forms and not legal document signed by a judge.
“The documents appear to be a request for information related to alleged violations of civil immigration law,” Chad Sublet, Senior Counsel to the Department of Safety in Denver, wrote, according to Time magazine. “Based on these facts, we are denying your request.”
Sublet also said that Denver officials have collaborated with ICE on information previously with other requests. He showed documentation that proves Denver responded to “88 requests by ICE between October and December of last year.”
Despite the support of local officials of Sanctuary policies, the majority of those cities have been struck by ICE as they have conducted numerous raids there, including in Denver.
Cities including Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago all have protections in place for undocumented people, but that has only fueled ICE to conduct raids there and elsewhere. Last year in September, ICE conducted raids in Colorado and Wyoming and, within four days, arrested 42 undocumented immigrants.
“It is our belief that state sanctuary policies [do] not keep the community safe,” John Fabbricatore, the acting director of the Denver ICE field office, said last year, according to KDVR news.
“We don’t believe deportation is ever the answer to what criminal activity might be going on,” Jordan García, with the Colorado Rapid Response Network, said in response to the raids.
In 2017, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock signed a law that stated law officials would not comply with ICE in any capacity.
The Denver Public Safety Enforcement Priorities Act was first signed unanimously by the Denver City Council, which was then signed by Mayor Hancock. The mandate “bans city officials from asking an arrested individual’s immigration status.”
While some city officials have prohibited the collaboration between local officials and federal agencies, that has not stopped some from working with ICE to arrest undocumented immigrants.
Last year in September, the Milwaukee Police Department assisted ICE agents in the detainment of a local resident who was undocumented. Even though Milwaukee does not have a Sanctuary policy in place, Police Chief Morales had previously said a year before they would not collaborate with ICE.
“I promised to bring back the public trust,” Morales said in 2018. “My job is to bring (back) trust from the community and work with them; my job is not to go out and enforce those types of laws.”
Those statements are why people were outraged that local Milwaukee officers assisted ICE in the detainment of an undocumented father.
“Chief Morales is gonna love to see police collaborating with ICE,” a bystander said last year as he witnessed ICE and local police working together during that arrest. The Mayor of Milwaukee and police stood on the same grounds that police would “not inform federal immigration officials of whereabouts or behavior of any suspect illegal immigrant.” However, that’s only if a person has never been arrested for a serious crime.