Hot Sheet

Republican proposal would leave ‘sanctuary cities’ up to the vox populi

Author: Dan Njegomir - March 27, 2018 - Updated: March 27, 2018

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State Sen. Tim Neville, R-Littleton. (Photo courtesy ColoradoSenateRepublicans.com)

Policy makers will continue to debate just how much “sanctuary city” laws serve as cover for immigrants in this country illegally. There’s little to debate, however, about how well such policies serve Republicans — as a poll-tested hot-button issue and a platform from which to throw darts at the immigrant-friendly Democrats who run cities like Denver.

Hence, an announcement Monday by the state Senate Republican press shop that one of the GOP caucus’s members has introduced legislation to send the entire issue to the statewide ballot for voters to sort out. Littleton Republican state Sen. Tim Neville’s Senate Bill 220 will place a prohibition against “sanctuary city” policies on the Nov. 6 ballot as a referendum.

Says the Senate GOP press release:

The scope of Neville’s bill is quite narrow; it only prohibits interference in federal immigration law enforcement through ordinances or official policies that restrict communication and cooperation with federal immigration agencies. It does not impose penalties beyond those imposed by the federal government on jurisdictions that violate the law.

Neville, who shores up his caucus’s right flank and is outspoken on illegal immigration, is quoted:

By deliberately obstructing federal immigration law enforcement, sanctuary policies endanger public safety by allowing convicted criminal aliens released from local jails to avoid being taken into custody by federal authorities for an immigration court hearing and possible deportation. … Sanctuary cities are restricting the communication and cooperation between local law enforcement and federal law enforcement agencies, and that must stop.

Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir is the opinion editor for Colorado Politics. A longtime journalist and more-than-25-year veteran of the Colorado political scene, Njegomir has been an award-winning newspaper reporter, an editorial page editor, a senior legislative staffer at the State Capitol and a political consultant.