National News

Denver council committee passes immigration ordinance proposal to full council

Posted August 2

— A Denver City Council committee voted 6-1 Wednesday to pass an amendment to the full council that would change the city's public safety priorities laws regarding immigration and law enforcement cooperation with federal agents, setting up a possible showdown with Mayor Michael Hancock.

Hancock on Tuesday released a fact sheet on his proposed route for the changes: an executive order that would further strengthen some of Denver's rules on how city and county employees interact with federal immigration authorities, and would also create a legal defense fund for immigrants targeted by authorities.

Mayor Hancock said his proposal was based off the amendment that the council's Safety, Housing, Education and Homelessness Committee voted to pass to the full council Wednesday.

But several immigration activist groups and lawyers immediately pushed back against that characterization Tuesday, arguing that by going the executive order route, the mayor wasn't changing some key policies that the amendment, which would be engrained in city ordinance, does change.

Specifically, the groups, including immigration lawyer Hans Meyer, said the mayor's order wouldn't change the process by which Denver law enforcement has to notify immigration officials of immigrants' activities and pending releases from jail.

They have pushed to go through the amendment process, which has been pushed by councilors Paul Lopez and Robin Kniech.

Their push now heads to the full council, which could set it up for a showdown with Hancock. The council says its push does more to memorialize some of the policies already in place in practice that are not written into city code.

The mayor's office confirmed that one of the major facets of both pushes-the legal defense fund-would be funded through donations.

Hancock said in a statement Tuesday that he was "grateful" to Lopez and Kniech for their efforts and said, "Our goals are shared."

For more information on both the executive order and the amendment heading through the council, click here.

This is a developing news story; check back for updates.

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