Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and two City Council members want to prevent federal authorities from protecting Coloradans from violent criminals. In doing so, they may commission a federal crime.
A Denver Post news article says Hancock wants an executive order to “make clear that local law enforcement and jail deputies cannot aid in the enforcement of federal immigration laws. It would bar them from allowing federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers into secure areas of jails and other buildings to arrest immigrants without a warrant, and they would not be allowed to maintain written information about foreign nationals being held in local jails.”
Hancock swore in his oath of office to uphold the Unites States Constitution. The Supreme Court of the United States, in 1876, interpreted that Constitution to give federal government exclusive authority over immigration. That means no mayor can decide who resides in the country.
Additionally, the order could violate 8 U.S. Code 1324. It says any person who “conceals, harbors or shields from detection” an illegal immigrant “in any place, including any building,” or “engages in any conspiracy” to do so, or “aids or abets” doing so may be fined, imprisoned or both.
The mayor’s order would establish a legal defense fund for illegal immigrants, and would punish city employees who violate his order by subjecting them to “discipline up to and including termination.” Got that, Denver employees? Respect federal law, and the city will punish you. Disrespect federal law, at the city’s demand, and you could be fined or imprisoned.
None of that goes far enough for Council members Robin Kniechand and Paul López. They want a permanent ordinance that bars any level of cooperation with federal authorities, under any circumstance, even if immigration officials believe an inmate poses an imminent threat to public safety upon release.
Don’t get confused. These are not proposals to prevent proactive or aggressive enforcement of federal laws by local cops. They are not written to help Dreamers obtain educations, or to protect the vast majority of illegal immigrants who lead peaceful lives, work to support households, pay taxes and create jobs throughout Colorado.
On the contrary. These proposals aim to protect illegal immigrants who have been arrested and jailed on suspicion of non-immigration related offenses — some of whom have rap sheets full of violent crimes. Hancock, Kniechand and López would rather release them to Colorado streets than cooperate with federal officials.
The whole thing smacks of Democratic partisan politics, given that President Barack Obama deported more illegal immigrants than any of his predecessors combined during the 20th century. Obama, like President Donald Trump, wanted to separate the good from the bad. Trump will have a hard time matching the 2.5 million-plus deported by Obama. Yet, we didn’t see anything during Obama’s years approaching this level of contempt for federal law.
By coddling criminals and/or suspects, Denver will exacerbate hostilities toward legal residents and illegal immigrants who don’t commit crimes. They will undermine the spirit of law enforcement inter-agency cooperation that has forever enhanced public safety.
The proposals infuriate Hugo Chavez-Rey, a naturalized citizen and Peruvian immigrant in Denver. His Sister and brother-in-law, a retired professional soccer player, own a business in Peru. They have tried for 10 years to immigrate legally but cannot get permission.
“They’re not the type who would jump the border or overstay visas,” said Chavez-Rey, explaining the two would bring their business to the states and create jobs. “They can’t get into this country, but we are doing everything to keep criminals here illegally and put them back on our streets.”
Chavez-Rey contrasts that to the immigration policies of his native Peru.
“I traveled back to visit my mother,” Chavez-Rey recalled. “Customs in Peru knew I was born there, but that I was an American citizens. They wanted to know why I was there, how long I would stay and where I would stay. I told them I was there to visit my mother, would stay with her, and would be there for 30 days. I ended up needing to stay a few more days. On day 31, customs called asking why I had not left the country. My native Third World country enforces immigration laws, even involving a native-born son, yet we won’t deport criminals who have no right to be here.”
The Denver proposals take immigrant coddling to a level of insanity that belongs in an asylum.
“How can the Mayor encourage criminals and prohibit our police force from taking action?” asks Cuban immigrant Maria Guzman-Weese, of Westminster.
When the next violent offender injures or kills an innocent victim, because jailers could not work with ICE, city officials will have blood on their hands.
Don’t be stupid. Not all immigrants are assets to our state. Honor members of our peaceful and productive immigrant community by protecting them, and others, from the fraction of immigrants who have abused our welcome by committing serious crimes.
the gazette editorial Board
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