Denver Listed as Uncooperative by ICE in Weekly Report Ordered by Trump

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a  Denver campaign rally.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a Denver campaign rally. Brandon Marshall
When President Trump issued an executive order on January 25 threatening to pull federal funding from so-called sanctuary jurisdictions, the order mentioned that the Department of Homeland Security would start publishing a weekly report calling out jurisdictions with jails that refuse to honor Immigration and Custom Enforcement “detainer requests," wherein ICE asks jails to hold suspected undocumented inmates for periods longer than 48 hours after their sentences end, allowing ICE to screen and possibly detain the individuals for deportation hearings.

This week, the Trump administration made good on its promise: DHS posted a report on its website purportedly showing all declined detainers between January 28 and February 3.

According to the report, 206 out of 3,083 detainer requests across the country that week were not honored, and they included jails in four counties in Colorado: Denver, Boulder, Jefferson and Weld.

The declined detainer from Denver County concerned an individual who was allegedly in jail for driving under the influence.

click to enlarge
Declined Detainers in Colorado between January 28 and February 3.
DHS Report
Federal courts have ruled that it is not illegal to decline a detainer request from ICE unless presented with a criminal warrant.

But as Westword noted in the February 2 article, “Does Trump Consider Denver a Sanctuary City Based on ICE Reports?,” the fact that Denver's local law enforcement does not cooperate with ICE detainers suggests that the Trump administration may already consider Denver a “sanctuary jurisdiction” — even if, unlike some cities like San Francisco or Boston, Denver has not gone so far as to issue a proclamation or pass policy declaring itself a sanctuary city.

At the time of that article, when asked about the possibility of DHS publishing weekly reports of declined detainers, Mayor Hancock's spokeswoman Amber Miller said, "Posting the [declined] detainers is, in our view, an act of bullying and trying to push us to act unconstitutionally. We're not going to do that. The mayor has said that from day one of being in office.”

By U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Department of Homeland Security) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
At various forums on immigration since January 20, the city has said it will sue the federal government if it pulls federal funding from Denver on the basis of the city not voluntarily helping federal immigration enforcement.

When asked about the DHS report published this week, Miller says, “Denver does not shield criminals, and we will always honor federal warrants. We're focused on enacting policies and practices that protect people’s safety and their rights, including the rights of immigrants, while allowing federal authorities to focus on immigration enforcement that removes dangerous and violent felons from our streets. We should all focus on creating a system where federal and local governments respect each others' respective roles and work together to eliminate any gaps."

Simon Crittle from the Denver Sheriff Department said that his office is still reviewing the accuracy of the report. “The ICE report is very unclear,” he says.
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Chris Walker is a freelancer and former staff writer at Westword. Before moving to the Mile High City he spent two years bicycling across Eurasia, during which he wrote feature stories for VICE, NPR, Forbes, and The Atlantic. Read more of Chris's feature work and view his portfolio here.
Contact: Chris Walker