Dozens of people packed into the room at the Denver City Council meeting on Wednesday when they considered taking a stance on protecting immigrants from federal agents.
The safety committee passed the ordinance by a vote of 6-1, reported CBS Denver, and now it goes to the full council for the first reading.
The vote happened on the same day as Pres. Donald Trump endorsed the RAISE Act, an immigration bill aimed at reducing legal immigration overall, as well as giving priority to applicants who can already speak English.
RAISE, Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment, seeks to take the higher qualified people from other countries, those with “job skills” , speak multiple languages, and have higher education levels.
The new program contradicts and nullifies the Statue of Liberty’s inscription, “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” and replaces it with something like, “Give us your highly educated English speaking computer programmers and scientists.”
A focus of the debate was whether a proposed ordinance to protect for undocumented immigrants is within the scope of Denver’s legal authority.
Denver City Council members Robin Kniech and Paul Lopez are spearheading the bill. More than 100 people were in attendance to urge council members to approve the ordinance.
Among those in attendance at the meeting was Victor Galvan who told CBS4 Investigator Rick Sallinger he is in the country without proper paperwork.
“Are you worried about being arrested here today?” asked Sallinger.
“Definitely not worried about being arrested here today. I have a lot of community around me and I don’t think they would allow it,” replied Galvan.
The proposal does not list Denver as a sanctuary city or give hardened criminals a free pass.
The proposal would not require local authorities to share immigration status or hold inmates with an immigration detainer past their release date.
An immigration attorney, who backed the proposal, reiterated that it complies fully with the law. She said that first, it is the council’s job to protect residents and their tax dollars, which it does.
“Your duty, number two, is to comply with the U.S. Constitution at all times. This ordinance does that. Your job, number three, is also to comply with and not be inconsistent with the federal law or state law. This ordinance does that as well. This ordinance simply says that we are not going to violate the constitution simply because the federal government is asking us to,” said immigration attorney Joy Athanasiou.
This debate comes as Denver Mayor Michael Hancock is preparing to sign a new policy that pushes for similar policies and creates a legal defense fund for immigrants, according to CBS Denver.
“We want people to trust the judicial system and we need them to show up,” said Hancock.
(Article By Jeremiah Jones)