By Rick Sallinger

DENVER (CBS4) – Denver has long been known as a Sanctuary City for illegal immigrants even though it has no formal policy to that effect.

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In 2015 it received approximately $175 million in federal funding — money the new president is threatening to pull. But Brendan Greene of the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition says he would not expect the president to follow through with his threats.

“The constitution in no way has changed since Trump became president, and many of the protections that we had as a community before his presidency continue to exist,” Greene told CBS4’s Rick Sallinger.

CBS4's Rick Sallinger interviews Brendan Greene of the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (credit: CBS)

CBS4’s Rick Sallinger interviews Brendan Greene of the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (credit: CBS)

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock issued a statement noting, “Denver has a history of being a city of opportunity for everyone and we plan to maintain our character. We are and will continue to be a welcoming and inclusive city where all people are valued.”

“Sanctuary City” normally means local police will not ask for an arrestee’s immigration status or detain them for that purpose alone.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Boulder’s city council has formally voted to become sanctuary city realizes it could lose some $18 million in federal funding, mainly in transportation, according to city spokesperson Sarah Huntley.

“They decided that they wanted to send a strong message that we are an inclusive, diverse and welcoming community for all including people who might not be documented, “she said.

Nevertheless, in communities with illegal immigrants, the rhetoric coming from Washington is not what they want to hear. While Aurora is on some lists of sanctuary cities a statement indicates, “The City of Aurora has never adopted any policy related to the term “Sanctuary City.”

Denver Statement

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Below is a statement from Mayor Michael Hancock that details the city’s stance on the matter:

“Denver has a history of being a city of opportunity for everyone and we plan to maintain our character. We are and will continue to be a welcoming and inclusive city where all people are valued.

It is commonly understood throughout the U.S. that the term “sanctuary city” has no precise meaning or definition. Denver does not have a formal policy of non-cooperation with the federal government on immigration enforcement and we have always complied with federal immigration laws. What Denver will never support is unlawful detention in our jails.

I believe that it is too early for us to be creating contingency plans based upon what President-Elect Trump has said. First, we need to see if this is a commitment he plans to see through and to what extent.”

Aurora Statement

The City of Aurora has never adopted any policy related to the term “Sanctuary City.” Our focus is on enforcing local laws and providing the best public safety services we can to our entire community. Every individual who has been arrested and detained at our 72-hour detention facility is fingerprinted. Those prints are transmitted to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation who notifies Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

It is difficult to say what, if any, impact will be seen by cities across the country.

Boulder Memo To City Council

bouldercolorado.gov/weblink8/0/doc/138047/Electronic.aspx

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CBS4’s Rick Sallinger is a Peabody award winning reporter who has been with the station more than two decades doing hard news and investigative reporting. Follow him on Twitter @ricksallinger.