Denver Officials Won't Give ICE Info 01/17 06:22
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Denver officials on Thursday said they would not hand
over information requested by U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement on four
men wanted for deportation.
ICE, the Homeland Security agency tasked with arresting and deporting people
in the U.S. illegally, sent four administrative subpoenas earlier this week to
law enforcement looking for information on three Mexican nationals and one
Honduran who had been in custody in Denver.
It was the first time subpoenas had been sent to a law enforcement agency
--- an escalation of the conflict between the Trump administration and
so-called sanctuary cities.
Henry Lucero, deputy executive associate director for ICE's Enforcement and
Removal Operations, said Wednesday that the agency doesn't want to get into the
business of subpoenaing fellow law enforcement agencies --- he called it a last
resort. But because of changes in how municipalities work with ICE, it could be
necessary to expand the practice to other cities in order to catch dangerous
people and deport them, he said.
ICE officials believe they have the legal right to do it under the
Immigration and Nationality Act. If a law enforcement agency doesn't comply,
ICE officials said they could work with federal officials to take the subpoena
to a judge who could hold them in contempt. ICE officials had no additional
Chad Sublet, Senior Counsel to the Department of Safety in Denver, noted in
a letter to ICE officials that the subpoenas were administrative --- not issued
by a judge --- and there was no verifiable information on the documents to show
the purpose was for law enforcement and not civil immigration enforcement.
"The documents appear to be a request for information related to alleged
violations of civil immigration law," he wrote. "Based on these facts, we are
denying your request."
Sublet wrote the subpoenas could be "viewed as an effort to intimidate
officers into help enforcing civil immigration law."
He also disputed that Denver had failed to comply with initial requests by
ICE for information on foreign nationals wanted for deportation, attaching
documents that showed law enforcement had responded to 88 requests by ICE
between October and December of last year.
One of the men sought by ICE was from Mexico and had been arrested for
sexual assault, another for vehicular homicide and a third for child abuse and
strangulation assault. The Honduran man arrested on domestic violence charges.
All had been removed from the country previously. Three were released from
custody and one was still in custody.
ICE officers rely on help from local law enforcement. Over the budget year
that ended Sept. 30, officers arrested about 143,000 people and deported more
than 267,000. More than 92,000 of the arrests were of people with criminal
But immigrant advocates and some lawmakers say ICE is targeting people who
have been in the U.S. for decades, who have families and pay taxes --- and who
should not be their focus.