Denver Mayor Michael Hancock: If being a sanctuary city is a good thing, then we are a sanctuary city

There is no legal definition of a sanctuary city, so a semantic defense isn’t that surprising. But.

Mayor Michael Hancock's Cabinet in the Community event. Nov. 19, 2016. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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When President Donald Trump signed an executive order this week promising to defund so-called “sanctuary cities,” Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said Denver is not a sanctuary city.

There is no legal definition of a sanctuary city, so a semantic defense isn’t that surprising. But this “who me? couldn’t be!” approach was in contrast to the mayors of New York, Chicago and Boston who all said some version of “bring it on” to the Trump administration.

Hancock took to YouTube Friday to rectify the confusion that he admittedly caused with his press statements.

“Denver has never felt the need to label who we are,” he said. ” … If being a sanctuary city means that we value taking care of one another and welcoming refugees and immigrants, then I welcome the title. If being a sanctuary city means families and young Dreamers live with hope and not fear, then Washington can label us whatever they want. If being a sanctuary city means that our law enforcement officers are expected to do the work of federal immigration authorities or violate the constitutional rights of any of our people, we reject that.”

Denver does not hold illegal immigrants without warrants from immigration authorities — which is one type of cooperation President Donald Trump is seeking — and that has not changed.

Erica Meltzer

Author: Erica Meltzer

Erica Meltzer covers government and politics. She's worked for newspapers in Colorado, Arizona and Illinois and once won a First Amendment Award by showing up in the wrong place at the wrong time. She served in the Peace Corps in Paraguay and can swear fluently in Guarani. She gets emotional about public libraries. Contact Erica Meltzer at 303-502-2802, emeltzer@denverite.com or @meltzere.