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Mayor Hancock and Council Members López and Kniech Announce New Denver Public Safety Enforcement Priorities Ordinance

DENVER - Today, Mayor Michael B. Hancock and City Council Members Paul López and Robin Kniech announced a new proposed ordinance that will protect the valuable contributions of immigrants and refugees to our community.

The new Denver Public Safety Enforcement Priorities Act enjoys community and stakeholder support and is the result of months of conversations across the city.

The proposed ordinance memorializes existing city policies and practices, in addition to establishing some new policies. This proposal is designed to reduce fear within the immigrant community and clarify for everyone that Denver is not engaging in immigration enforcement.

New Ordinance Summary 

New Ordinance Language 

“When immigrants fear city involvement in immigration enforcement they are less likely to trust police or fire officials, to report emergencies, or to testify or appear in court,” Councilman Lopez said. “Our entire community is safest when everyone trusts and utilizes law enforcement agencies. Today we are all standing together advocating for a path forward that will help reduce this fear.”

“Currently, Denver has many policies and practices that limit city involvement in immigration enforcement,” said Councilwoman Kniech. “We are seeking to clarify and memorialize these in an ordinance so that our immigrant and refugee communities and public employees alike will know what to expect from the City of Denver.”

“This ordinance complies with all applicable laws, including the only applicable federal law, 8 USC § 1373, which requires us to release immigration status, if known, when requested by the federal government. We have carefully drafted this ordinance to maintain compliance with federal and state law while at the same time providing reassurance to our immigrant community,” continued Councilwoman Kniech.   

“Together, we are sending a message to our entire community, especially immigrants, that it is OK to report emergencies, be active in community life and participate in the city government process,” concluded Councilman López.

In addition to stating his support for the new ordinance, Mayor Hancock indicated that the administration will continue its work with City Council and stakeholders to develop a complementary Executive Order. The Executive Order is expected to be finalized as the ordinance moves through City Council consideration this month and will work to:

  • Create a legal defense fund
  • Establish a working group of subject matter experts, community stakeholders and city staff to track new developments and the impact of our policies in the changing immigration environment
  • Ensure city employees and law enforcement receive updated training
  • Help immigrants and refugees know their rights
  • Protect victims and witnesses regardless of their immigration status
  • Assist children and families who are separated

“With these next steps, Denver will send a clear message that every person, no matter their immigration status, can feel safe when interacting with the city and law enforcement, and know that our No. 1 priority is the safety and health of everyone in Denver,” Mayor Hancock said. “In the face of chaotic immigration policies coming out of Washington, we hope to foster the respect, trust and collaboration among community members, city officials and law enforcement that is critical to keeping Denver safe and thriving. Whether it’s reforming our sentencing laws, creating the city’s first hate crimes ordinance, or providing more resources, our community can rest assured that their Mayor and their City Council are all working toward the same goals to protect them and their contributions to our great city.” 

The ordinance will be filed directly with City Council on Thursday and will receive its first reading on Aug. 21 and final reading on Aug. 28 along with a public hearing.