Denver leaders to introduce joint plan to protect immigrant rights in face of ICE

City council members Paul Lopez and Robin Kniech. A city council committee meeting on sentencing reform as it relates to undocumented immigrants, May 11, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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Denver’s city leaders recently have been considering two separate proposals that would limit the city’s cooperation with federal immigration authorities. One came from city council members, while the other came from Mayor Michael Hancock’s office.

Now, the two groups are supporting a third option together.

Council members Robin Kniech and Paul López had been pushing to change Denver’s laws in ways that would cut off certain information and access that the city currently may provide for immigration agents. For example, it would forbid the city from cooperating when agents request notification about immigrants’ impending release from jail.

While they were working on that, Mayor Michael Hancock’s office announced that it was considering issuing an executive order that would pursue some of the same goals. Spokesperson Amber Miller rejected the idea that the two proposals were in competition, though they took different approaches to certain issues, such as notification, and some immigrant advocates criticized the mayor’s proposal.

Whatever differences there may have been, they appear to be settled. A “new proposed ordinance” will be introduced on Wednesday, “with the support of Mayor Hancock and Council Members López and Kniech,” according to the mayor’s office.

It’s unclear what that bill will say and how much it will change from previous proposals, but more details should be available soon, the office said.

Jenna Espinoza, a spokesperson for the mayor, stressed that it’s “not a compromise, rather a new ordinance,” which Kniech and López’s spokesperson also said.

The mayor’s office still intends to move forward with an executive order, she wrote in an email. It’s unclear what Kniech and López plan to do with their current ordinance.

Andrew Kenney

Author: Andrew Kenney

Andrew Kenney writes about public spaces, Denver phenomena and whatever else. He previously worked for six years as a reporter at The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C. His most prized possession is his collection of bizarre voicemail. Leave him one at 303-502-2803, or email akenney@denverite.com.