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I represent many undocumented immigrants in my district who fear for their safety and believe they have no rights in our country. This is quite the contrary, the 14th Amendment of the Constitution reads, “Nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the law.” Undocumented persons have a constitutional right under the Fourth Amendment to deny any officer from entering their residence without consent, absent a search warrant. It is our duty as local authorities to ensure our immigrants in Denver have these rights upheld.

Since sharing my opinions as an ally to our undocumented neighbors, I have received some pushback. This has only made me want to fight harder to ensure our undocumented immigrants feel safe in their community. City Council and the City of Denver has written to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) requesting that they do not troll for undocumented immigrants in public spaces such as court houses, schools, and churches. You can read our letter to ICE by following this link. Make no mistake, we have no interest in attempting to shield violent offenders, rather those who are attempting to build a life for their family and be a part of the American Dream.

We need all citizens to not feel persecuted in public spaces so that they can report crimes to the police, escape abusive relationships, and participate as witnesses in court. ICE patrols near and around schools has also had an adverse effect on school attendance. Studies have shown that missing school at a young age can negatively impact a young person’s chances of success in life.

Not only have we written to ICE to keep our public spaces free and open, but my colleagues and I are also working on sentencing reform within our criminal justice system. By lowering the amount of time an individual spends in jail by one day, offenders will not have to be reported to ICE for deportation. Sentences that would be lowered would be for minor infractions, while high-level offenses would remain unchanged.