OCTOBER 22, 2008
A Colorado city’s continued violation of a statewide law forbidding sanctuary for illegal immigrants has led a veteran lawmaker to call on the governor to cut its funding.
Colorado’s legislature passed a measure in 2006 prohibiting cities and local governments from implementing sanctuary policies allowing illegal aliens to live within their borders without fear of punishment, yet the state’s capital has practically ignored the law.
Long a sanctuary for those in the country illegally, Denver has brushed off the ordinance which passed with strong bipartisan support. Besides forbidding sanctuary for illegal immigrants, Senate Bill 90 requires all local law enforcement officers to report to federal immigration officials any person arrested in their jurisdiction who is reasonably believed to be an illegal alien.
Cities and counties throughout the state must always cooperate with federal officials concerning the status of any person in Colorado and they must file annual reports documenting the number of illegal immigrants reported to federal authorities. Local governments that fail to report suspected illegal immigrants will not be eligible for state grants.
According to Tom Tancredo, who represents Littleton in the U.S. House, Denver continues to skirt the law and should be stripped of state money. The Republican legislator says there is “abundant evidence” that the state’s most populous city has failed to implement the anti-sanctuary law.
Denver became an illegal immigrant sanctuary in 1998 when Mayor Wellington Webb signed an executive order condemning federal distinctions between legal and illegal immigrants and committing city officials to the delivery of services to all residents, regardless of immigration status.
Keeping with the sanctuary tradition, the city’s police department has a policy of not asking about a suspects’ immigration status. In fact, an illegal immigrant who had been arrested in Denver—but not reported to federal authorities for deportation—went on to murder two women and a toddler in Aurora last month.
With a lengthy criminal record, the illegal alien (Francis Hernandez) had been arrested 16 times by seven local police departments in Colorado yet was never reported to the feds. In early September he ran a red light and slammed his sports utility vehicle into a pickup truck occupied by two women. The violent impact pushed the truck more than 100 feet into a nearby ice cream shop. A 3-year-old boy, enjoying his favorite flavor, was killed and so were the women in the pickup.
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