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Longmont Could Be Next Colorado 'Sanctuary' City

Proponents say sanctuary-city status provides temporary protections for undocumented immigrants until Congress acts on immigration reform. (Pixabay)
Proponents say sanctuary-city status provides temporary protections for undocumented immigrants until Congress acts on immigration reform. (Pixabay)
May 2, 2017

LONGMONT, Colo. – As the Trump administration ramps up deportation efforts, including undocumented immigrants with no criminal record, Tuesday the Longmont City Council is set to consider a sanctuary-city proposal.

Jose Beteta, executive director of the Latino Chamber of Commerce, says the move would help ensure that long-time, law-abiding residents know that it's OK to call the police - you won't be turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents - if you are a victim of or witness to a crime.

"That word, you're using the word 'sanctuary' city," he says. "And what that is doing, it's not changing the policies. It's not changing anything other than letting your undocumented population know that their city cares about them."

Beteta says Longmont already is withholding local law-enforcement resources from federal agents who want to identify and deport undocumented immigrants.

Beteta says an official city policy will help build trust between communities and police, and lead to less risk of abuse. The proposed ordinance still would allow officers to turn over people who commit crimes to ICE.

Last week a federal judge blocked President Trump's executive order to withhold funding for sanctuary cities.

Beteta says the majority of undocumented immigrants want an official path to address their status, but are essentially stuck until Congress acts on immigration reform.

"Sanctuary cities is a temporary protection on a broken immigration system that allows cities to protect all of its residents - who have not contributed any crimes, who on a daily basis contribute to the cities," he explains.

Boulder announced its sanctuary status in January; Pitkin County commissioners passed protections last week; and on Saturday advocates in Denver presented a new sanctuary-city proposal. Similar efforts also are underway in Colorado Springs.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO