DENVER (CBS4) – Denver Mayor Michael Hancock sent a letter to Immigration and Customs Enforcement asking agents to avoid operations at “sensitive” locations.
The letter, signed by 18 city, county, and school officials, referenced recent ICE activity near a Denver school and a courthouse.
City leaders said that the agents’ work was jeopardizing public safety and was also inciting fear and anxiety within the community.
ICE officers’ presence at a home across the street from Colorado High School Charter in March upset students and staff, according to the letter. The operation took place within plain view of parents and students during the school’s morning drop-off time.
A parent recorded video of the operation and posted it on Facebook.
“I don’t think they should be doing it around kids and near schools,” said Misty Archibeque, another parent of a student who attends the DPS charter high school. “There’s another way to do it, another time maybe.”
Hancock’s letter also came on the heels of cellphone video showing ICE officers inside the Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse in February. A staff member with the Meyer Law Office recorded the video of the undercover agents outside of a defendant’s courtroom hearing.
Denver City Attorney Kristin Bronson said the agents’ presence in the courthouse had prevented some victims of crime from testifying in court.
“We’ve already had domestic violence victims who have contacted us in pending cases, and let us know that they were unwilling to continue with those cases and testify in court for fear of deportation,” Bronson said.
In response to CBS4’s request for comment on the letter, an ICE spokesperson said that ICE would respond to the mayor directly. The spokesperson said that ICE policy does not consider courthouses to be sensitive locations, and that agents make arrests there only after exhausting other options.
ICE agents avoid schools, the spokesperson said, unless they have approval from a supervisor or under exigent circumstances.