Denver council committee passes immigration ordinance proposal to full council

Mayor's executive order proposal competing

DENVER – A Denver City Council committee voted 6-1 Wednesday to pass a proposed ordinance to the full council that would change the city’s public safety priorities laws regarding immigration and law enforcement cooperation with federal agents, putting two different proposals in front of the city that hope to accomplish the same thing.

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 had facets similar to the ordinance 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 said the legal defense fund in his draft executive order 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.”

The mayor himself tweeted there would be no showdown, offering a similar statement to what his office told Denver7.

The mayor's office said Hancock has been an would continue to work with the council "to find the best option for the city and county of Denver."

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