Update: On June 22, President Donald Trump tweeted that, at the request of Democrats, he is delaying the ICE operation planned for June 23 for two weeks "to see if the Democrats and Republicans can get together and work out a solution to the Asylum and Loophole problems at the Southern Border. If not, Deportations start!"
Keep reading for our original story, first published on June 21, with a number of updates added before Trump's tweet:
Immigration and Customs Enforcement will begin a large-scale operation targeting individuals for deportation across ten cities on Sunday, June 23, according to multiple news outlets. Denver is included on that list, the Miami Herald reports.
ICE declined to confirm that an operation will soon take place in Denver, but elected officials around Colorado have started expressing concerns about the specter of such an operation.
"We are an inclusive, compassionate and welcoming city, and the the threats of this White House, which are only a distraction from its failures, will never weaken our resolve," says Mayor Michael Hancock.
Earlier this week, President Donald Trump hinted at the operation, tweeting, "Next week ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States." Trump tweeted again on June 22, writing, "The people that Ice will apprehend have already been ordered to be deported. This means that they have run from the law and run from the courts. These are people that are supposed to go back to their home country. They broke the law by coming into the country, & now by staying."
The deportation operation has been in the works for months; the Washington Post reported on it as early as May 13. The paper also just reported that the operation could target up to 2,000 families.
"This is absolutely terrifying. We are preparing for our hotline to be more active than usual in the upcoming weeks," Gladis Ibarra — a staff member of the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, which runs a hotline for individuals to report ICE activity — writes in an email.
ICE headquarters declined to confirm whether Denver will be targeted in the planned operation. "Due to law-enforcement sensitivities and the safety and security of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel, the agency will not offer specific details related to enforcement operations," ICE says in a statement to Westword.
Westword had sent six emails and called Department of Homeland Security headquarters multiple times last month, asking for confirmation as to whether Denver would be targeted in upcoming ICE operations. At the end of May, DHS headquarters finally responded after the sixth email but declined to comment.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Westword's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Denver's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Aside from Hancock, other politicians have weighed in on the planned ICE operation.
“ICE has confirmed that it will be conducting operations against immigrants," says Diana DeGette, the Democratic representative from Colorado's 1st Congressional District, in a statement. "I have asked for more specific details, but the agency has so far refused to provide any. What this administration is doing to these immigrant families is shameful. Instilling fear in the hearts of families across the country by announcing these nationwide raids, while continuing to lock up kids at the border, is not who we are as a country. The people who are fleeing to this country are often doing so out of desperation. We should be doing everything we can to help them, not tearing families apart.”
A spokesperson for Governor Jared Polis issued the following: “Our office has reached out to the federal government for more information but have so far not been able to get a clear answer about this operation and whether it involves actions in Colorado. We will continue to monitor the situation.”
First updated on June 21 to include quotes from Representative Diana DeGette, Mayor Michael Hancock and Governor Jared Polis's office.