ICE Sanctuary Cities

In this Feb. 26, 2018, file photo, a banner to welcome immigrants is viewed through a fisheye lens over the main entrance to the Denver City and County Building in Denver.

The Denver City Attorney’s office spoke out in response to the Supreme Court on Monday rejecting the Trump administration’s bid to throw out a California immigrant-sanctuary law that limits local police cooperation with federal immigration authorities.

“The decision leaves in place the largely favorable Ninth Circuit decision regarding the California laws," city attorney spokesperson Ryan Luby told Colorado Politics in an email. "It is worth noting that a Ninth Circuit decision is not binding on Denver in the Tenth Circuit, but we are pleased that the Ninth Circuit decision is in line with Denver’s policies and practices.”

The justices’ order leaves in place lower court rulings that upheld the law. Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas voted to hear the administration's appeal.

The Trump administration said the 2017 state immigrant-sanctuary measure conflicts with federal immigration law and makes it harder to deport people who are in the country illegally.

California argued that encouraging local police to participate in federal immigration enforcement is counterproductive because it makes people less likely to report crimes if they believe they’ll be deported for doing so.

In February, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock’s office condemned a federal appeals court decision that ruled the U.S. Department of Justice can deny grant money to so-called sanctuary cities and states that refuse to provide information to federal immigration officials.

The grant program awards about $250 million a year to help reduce gang violence in prisons, improve 911 call systems, enhance crime laboratories’ capabilities and build investigative task forces.

“To put the safety of entire communities at risk by withholding funding that cities have a right to receive is dangerous,” mayor’s office spokesman Mike Strott told Colorado Politics in an email February 27. “While this ruling doesn’t affect Denver at the moment, this continued assault on immigrant communities by this administration remains very troubling. Our ordinance and our approach follow federal law — we’ve already beaten the Trump administration in court over this issue, and if we have to, we’ll do it again.”

Meanwhile, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement took Denver to federal court and in April ultimately won its legal battle to force the city’s sheriff to comply with subpoenas seeking more information about jail detainees who were in custody or recently released.

Prior to the federal judge’s ruling, which the city isn’t planning to appeal, the Denver City Attorney’s Office had said the city wouldn’t comply with the subpoenas because they aren’t signed by a judge, and that the city doesn’t share information that will be used to enforce immigration law. 

Editor's note: This article has been updated with a revised statement from Denver City Attorney's Office spokesperson Ryan Luby. 

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