An effort to block ICE agents from making courthouse arrests in Colorado will test Gov. Polis on immigration |

An effort to block ICE agents from making courthouse arrests in Colorado will test Gov. Polis on immigration

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement says courthouse arrests are “far safer for everyone involved, including our officers and the person who’s being arrested.”

A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent. (Provided by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement)

Colorado lawmakers this year are seeking to pass a bill that would bar U.S. Immigration and Customs agents from making arrests inside of and around courthouses across the state.

If signed into law, it would be one of the — it not the — strongest statewide limitations yet on the agency’s ability to carry out immigration enforcement in Colorado. 

“This is among the more progressive attempts by state legislators to protect people who have legitimate business in state courthouses to access those proceedings without fear of arrest by immigration officials,” said César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández, a University of Denver law professor who focuses on immigration policy.

ICE says the measure, Senate Bill 83, is a so-called sanctuary policy that will put its agents at risk. If it becomes law, the measure could serve to further escalate tension between officials and the state, which has been rising since last year, when state lawmakers blocked county sheriffs from holding inmates solely on immigration-related charges after they posted bail or served their criminal sentences. Immigrant advocates say the legislation is a necessary step to ensure equal access to Colorado’s justice system. 

The measure represents a test for Gov. Jared Polis, who last year upset immigrant advocates by not supporting a sweeping attempt to effectively eliminate Colorado law enforcement’s ability to assist federal immigration agents. He worried about the impact it could have on state-federal law enforcement partnerships by politicizing them. 

Read more here.

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