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Immigrants' Rights Supporters Look Ahead After Denver Win

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If President Trump eliminates the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, hundreds of thousands of immigrants could be at risk of deportation. (Pixabay)
If President Trump eliminates the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, hundreds of thousands of immigrants could be at risk of deportation. (Pixabay)
August 30, 2017

DENVER - People advocating for immigrants in Denver scored a win this week when the City Council approved a bill that puts strict limits on how officials can assist federal agents.

Corrine Rivera-Fowler, policy and civic engagement director for the group Padres and Jóvenes Unidos, said the move sends a clear message that the city has the backs of all of its residents. However, she said she was disappointed that Mayor Michael Hancock insisted on a provision that allows jails to report release dates for undocumented immigrants to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

"People of all backgrounds, sizes, types, shapes and colors - and immigration status - commit crimes, and they pay for them," she said. "Why is it that immigrants are 'sorted out' in this way? We don't believe in 'sorting' our community."

The Public Safety Enforcement Priorities Act prohibits city employees from asking residents about their immigration status or handing that information over to ICE. ICE's Denver field director, Jeffrey Lynch, said in a statement that the restrictions were dangerous and amount to an obstruction of the nation's immigration system.

Rivera-Fowler said her group plans to celebrate, then get back to work. She pointed to recent news reports suggesting President Donald Trump is set to eliminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which could put hundreds of thousands of people brought into the United States as children at risk of deportation.

"These are individuals who have been living in this country, some since they were just a few days old," she said. "Think of the teacher of your children being suddenly plopped into a country that they have no connection with, and may not even have any family there."

In the face of divisive rhetoric and actions - including the recent presidential pardon of a former Arizona sheriff convicted of contempt for racial discrimination laws - Rivera-Fowler saiod she hopes Americans will choose to come together and speak in a unified voice against hate.

A CNN report on the DACA issue is online at cnn.com.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO