Denver creating legal defense fund for immigrants

DENVER (AP) — Denver will set aside $200,000 to help immigrants facing deportation or other proceedings.

City councilors voted 9-4 Monday night to create a legal defense fund for immigrants, including those living in the country illegally.

Earlier this year Mayor Michael Hancock proposed using $100,000 from a contingency fund for that purpose. Besides doubling the amount, city councilors also voted to create a specific line item for the defense fund.

Hancock's spokeswoman, Jenna Espinoza, says the mayor will accept the budget changes.

A panel is studying how the fund will work and how the money will be distributed.

“This is a local response to the Trump administration and what we’ve seen in the Trump administration is an active plan to undermine due process of immigrants,” said Denver immigration attorney Hans Meyer.

Yet one critic fears the move will encourage undocumented immigrants to come to Denver.

"The city of Denver is already going to shield you from ICE enforcement.  But now they're going to go take it a step further once ICE actually detains you and tries to execute on their enforcement of deportation,” said Representative Dave Williams, a Republican from Colorado Springs.

The city's entire budget faces a final vote on Nov. 13.

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