This is a story which began ramping up back in March. Liberal activists in a number of states were complaining that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was making arrests of illegal aliens in the vicinity of courthouses when they would show up for hearings. (The fact that the same thing happened on an as needed basis while Barack Obama was president didn’t appear to cross their minds.) For their part, ICE argued that illegal aliens frequently have no listed permanent address or place of employment, and if local law enforcement wasn’t going to assist them in their duties, a court appearance was sometimes the only opportunity they would have to locate the suspect.
Since that time, attorneys and prosecutors in several states, most notably California, Arizona, Texas and Colorado, have asked ICE to end this practice. Particularly in Colorado – Denver to be precise – they’ve gotten their answer. Sorry… no can do. (CBS Denver, emphasis added)
Arrests of illegal immigrants at the front door of Denver’s courthouse is getting national attention. Denver’s mayor asked Immigration Customs Enforcement agents to stop making arrests there, just as ICE will not arrest at schools or churches.
ICE rejected that request.
“When witnesses and victims of crime are not showing up to testify, now we cannot pursue the individuals who have perpetrated crime. Now, how’s that make us more safe?” asked Denver Mayor Michael Hancock.
“By not turning over criminal aliens in a safe, secure environment, they’re actually putting my officers and the community at risk,” said Phillip Miller, who oversees deportation agents for ICE.
Denver is a special case when it comes to sanctuary cities. They’ve gone far past the level of refusing to honor detainers from ICE. In recent months they have changed the sentencing structure for many “minor crimes” (which apparently includes domestic violence and assault) so that immigrants – both legal and illegal – who are convicted of crimes can avoid automatic deportation. And now they included a new wrinkle, allowing illegal immigrants to send in their plea for minor violations by mail so they can dodge immigration officials. (ABC Denver)
Fears of deportation kept many people from showing up to court and prompted a policy change allowing some to skip certain hearings.
Denver is now allowing people to mail in a plea for traffic court. The pilot program started several weeks ago as a response to the fear and anxiety city leaders were hearing from constituents.
“Because of their fear of coming into the courthouse, they weren’t showing up for their hearings which only made their legal situation worse,” said Denver City Attorney Kristin Bronson.
If the plea-by-mail scheme doesn’t do enough to thwart immigration officers, Denver has one more trick up their sleeve. They’re experimenting with the idea of allowing suspects to “show up” for hearings via Skype so they don’t have to physically walk in the door at the courthouse. At this rate we’re about six months away from Denver simply declaring that anything illegal aliens do is legal so they don’t have to interact with law enforcement at all.
One wonders how the citizens feel about this, particularly when they hear about stories such as this one out of Oregon, which also fights ICE tooth and claw. Just this week, Sergio Jose Martinez was arrested for the brutal sexual assault of one woman in Portland and the attempted kidnapping of another on the same day. As the Daily Caller explains, this was not the first time authorities had encountered Mr. Martinez.
Sergio Jose Martinez, an illegal immigrant from Mexico, had been deported at least 13 times since 2008, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) spokesperson Virginia Kice confirmed to Portland’s KATU2. Martinez, 31, was also the subject of an ICE detainer request placed Dec. 7, 2016 with the Multnomah County Jail, where he was being held on local charges.
Because Oregon law prohibits police from using agency resources to enforce immigration law, jail officials released Martinez the following day without notifying ICE.
The municipal leaders in Portland, just as in Denver, kept the streets safe for Mr. Martinez, particularly in terms of being safe from a 14th deportation. For the two women he attacked this week… not so much. The citizens of Denver need to think long and hard before they go back to the polls again and keep electing the same people who are undermining their own safety.