DENVER (CBS4) – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement filed a petition in U.S. District Court Thursday asking a judge to enforce three subpoenas requesting information about immigrants arrested in Denver.
In January, the Denver Sheriff Department received administrative subpoenas from ICE requesting additional information about four inmates, including where they live and work. The four men had been arrested on charges including vehicular homicide, domestic violence and sexual assault.
The subpoenas were not signed by a judge. Per a city ordinance, Denver does not comply with subpoenas unless they are court-ordered or primarily related to a criminal investigation.
In an email to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Chad Sublet with the Denver Attorney’s Office said the information requested was already available to ICE through federal databases.
“The fact that ICE has access to this data and in fact already has the data itself, undermines any assertion these subpoenas were issued in good faith and demonstrates that the information is not relevant to any legitimate inquiry as it is unnecessary and duplicative,” Sublet said in the email.
ICE Officials first contacted the Denver Sheriff Department last year to request jail release notifications for the four inmates.
Under Colorado law, jails are not required to notify ICE ahead of an inmate’s release. The Denver Sheriff Department has a policy to fax a notification to ICE when an inmate enters the release process. The policy is enforced at ICE’s request.
ICE officials claim the Denver Sheriff Department is not giving them enough notice to take inmates into custody. Jail officials are not allowed to facilitate the transfer of an inmate into ICE custody. In many cases, ICE officials will wait in the jail lobby until the inmate is released.
“On the three inmates released, ICE received 48 minutes notice on Mr. Torres-Ibarra, one-hour and 48 minutes notice on Mr. Alvarez-Pacheco and two-hour and two-minutes notice on Mr. Ramires,” said Ryan Luby, spokesperson for the Denver Attorney’s Office.
In the petition filed Thursday, ICE said they were notified at 1:18 p.m. that one inmate would be released between 1:20 p.m. and 3:20 p.m. that same day. The agency claims ICE personnel were not able to immediately and safely respond in that window of time.
In December, ICE criticized Colorado law after an undocumented immigrant was released from the Arapahoe County Jail and later arrested and charged with attempted murder. The Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office tells CBS4 they notified ICE before the inmate was released from custody.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office will not comment on the new court filing due to open litigation. The Denver Attorney’s Office said it will not produce records in response to the subpoenas unless it is enforced by the court.