During a recent interview with Westword, former Congressman Tom Tancredo, who's running for governor, said City of Denver employees who assist Immigration and Customs Enforcement representatives in ways that go beyond current city policy could be fined up to $1,000. Turns out he's right, as indicated by a slide from a PowerPoint presentation sent to city employees, one of whom shared it with Tancredo. The graphic, on view below, notes that violations during interactions with ICE agents can lead to fines, jail time and even firing.
This approach was alluded to during an August press conference covered by our Chris Walker for a post headlined "City Council and Mayor Come Together in New Immigration Legislation."
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and Deputy City Attorney Cristal DeHerrera were among those who took part in the event, and an excerpt from Walker's coverage reads: "One significant change from the mayor's draft executive order is that city and county employees — including with probation offices, pre-trial services and the Department of Corrections — will be prohibited from communicating with ICE unless presented with a warrant. Employees who fail to follow this mandate would be subject to discipline, including possible termination."
This prospect received little additional press attention, and Tancredo didn't know anything about it until the anonymous employee sent him the aforementioned slide, seen in the following screen capture:
At its center of the image, as you can see, is this sentence: "If you receive a request from the Department of Homeland Security or ICE asking for someone's personal information (including whereabouts) or about a person's immigration or citizenship status, take the following steps."
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Further details can be found along the left side of the image. At the top of the rail is a declaration: "When in doubt, give CAO a shout! CAO is the City Attorney's Office." Beneath these lines are less chipper admonishments: "Please be aware that...any employee who violates this ordinance is subject to discipline up to and including termination...." and "Any employee who knowingly or intentionally violates this ordinance is subject to criminal prosecution and may be fined up to $999.00 and a term of incarceration not to exceed 300 days in jail."
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As one of the country's best-known immigration hardliners, Tancredo is appalled by this language and ICE-related strategies overall in Denver, which he considers a so-called sanctuary city.
If he's elected governor next year, Tancredo said, "I would do my best to outlaw sanctuary cities. I can't do that unilaterally, but there are financial disincentives that can be applied, and I would absolutely do that."
Regarding city employees fined after running afoul of Denver's ICE rules while he's in office, Tancredo notes, "I would establish a fund, probably with private money, to defend them if that happens."
To our knowledge, it hasn't yet — but it could.