New Ordinance Aims To Prevent Deportation

By Melissa Garcia

DENVER (CBS4)– A new city ordinance aims to prevent deportation for immigrants who commit low-level crimes in Denver.

Mayor Michael Hancock signed City Council Bill 0513 into law on Thursday.

denver sentence reform 6pkg frame 1 New Ordinance Aims To Prevent Deportation

(credit: CBS)

The ordinance brings changes not only for immigrants but also for citizens. In large part, it changes how much time law-breakers will spend behind bars.

Prior to the new city law, an offender of a low-level crime like blocking the sidewalk could receive the same sentence as the perpetrator of a violent crime like sexual assault.

The new ordinance makes the time fit the crime, said Kristin Bronson, Denver City Attorney.

denver sentence reform 6pkg frame 1165 New Ordinance Aims To Prevent Deportation

CBS4’s Melissa Garcia interviews Denver City Attorney Kristin Bronson (credit: CBS)

It restructures sentencing by differentiating between the severities of crimes in three different categories. Before, all city violations were lumped into one category, all punishable by up to 365 days in jail.

Crimes punishable by up to 365 days in jail automatically trigger notification to federal agencies including Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Bronson explained. Thus, legal immigrants who commit minor crimes now punishable by up to 60 days will no longer be flagged by ICE and risk deportation, under the new ordinance.

xgr sanctuary state sotvo frame 332 New Ordinance Aims To Prevent Deportation

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (credit: CBS)

Additionally, the two-fold law allows the city to prosecute hate crimes. Bronson said that Denver’s immigrant community had seen a recent increase in crimes motivated by hate.

“Harassment in the workplace, harassment over social media,” Bronson said. “We are really hoping to send a message to those that seek to target our vulnerable communities and our immigrant communities for harassment that it won’t be tolerated here.”

Diana Higuera, chair of Denver Immigrant and Refugee Commission was an advocate of the ordinance.

denver sentence reform 6pkg frame 2193 New Ordinance Aims To Prevent Deportation

(credit: CBS)

“Finally, we have the city of Denver telling us immigrants and refugees that we are welcome in the city, and that we shouldn’t be afraid,” Higuera told CBS4’s Melissa Garcia.

The ordinance comes in the wake of what Hancock calls “reckless” executive orders recently issued by the white house, including President Trump’s travel ban in addition to his heightened focus on immigration enforcement.

The law works hand-in-hand with the city’s new “plea by mail” program that allows people, including those who fear deportation, to resolve traffic tickets without appearing in court.

Melissa Garcia has been reporting for CBS4 News since March 2014. Find her bio here, follow her on Twitter @MelissaGarciaTV, or send your story idea to mkgarcia@cbs.com.

Comments

One Comment

  1. another uk and venezuela ( wait and watch )

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More From CBS Denver

CBS4 INVESTIGATES
CBS Local App
Send A News Tip

Watch & Listen LIVE