U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) criticized a new Colorado law that bars local law enforcement in the state from holding individuals suspected of immigration violations in custody at the federal agency’s request.
Gov. Jared Polis on Tuesday signed House Bill 1124, which prohibits local law enforcement from detaining suspects based on ICE detainer requests.
The federal agency called HB 1124 a “dangerous policy” the undermines federal immigration law enforcement in a statement on Wednesday.
“By signing Colorado’s House Bill 1124, the state has codified a dangerous policy that deliberately obstructs our country’s lawful immigration system, protects serious criminal alien offenders, and undermines public safety,” said Alethea Smock, a spokesperson for ICE. “Rather than honoring immigration detainers issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and allowing law enforcement agencies to work together to keep criminal aliens behind bars, criminals will now be returned to the streets throughout Colorado.”
Smock added that the law is irresponsible and will “have tragic future consequences at the expense of innocent citizens, lawful residents and visitors.”
ICE often issues detainers to local law enforcement agencies across the country requesting they hold detained illegal immigrants in custody for up to 48 hours so the agency can take over custody.
“ICE places immigration detainers with law enforcement agencies on deportable aliens arrested and detained on criminal charges. By placing the immigration detainer, ICE seeks to take custody of aliens if they are released from local custody for any reason,” the statement said.
Local law enforcement can still cooperate in court-ordered warrants, just not comply with detainers under the new law.
Proponents of the new law, which is called “Protect Colorado Residents From Federal Government Overreach,” argue it will protect immigrant communities in the state.
“Thank you to all of the people who helped to make this a reality and advocate for our immigrant community,” Rep. Adrienne Benavidez, D-Commerce City, one of the bill’s sponsors, said in a Facebook post on Tuesday. “Everyone should have the right to safely and confidently interact with law enforcement without fearing that they may be turned in to the federal agencies.”