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CO Police Tell Immigrant Victims of Domestic Violence to 'Come out of the Dark'

June 22, 2007

Greeley, CO - Recent high-profile immigration raids may be pushing more and more immigrants into the shadows, but Colorado police say they've been trying pull victims of domestic violence out of that darkness for years.
Greeley Police Chief Jerry Garner says it was already hard to get immigrants who are victimized to report crime, long before the Swift Meatpacking raids brought national attention to the town.

“No matter how many times it seems that we let that community know that we're not the immigration police, that we want you to report crime to us, and that we want you to let us know when you're a victim. Because of their experience with their home law enforcement, they've been reluctant to do that.”

A new state law passed last year requires local police to report suspected illegal immigrants to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, better known as ICE. But Weld County Sheriff John Cooke points out that there is one important exception written into the law.

“That [law] specifically exempts victims of domestic violence being reported to ICE as a contact.”

Cooke notes that local police are often caught in the middle of the current immigration debate. Garner and others have gone on Spanish-language radio in the state to try and inform immigrants of their rights.

Eric Mack/Jamie Folsom, Public News Service - CO