Joey BunchJoey BunchAugust 27, 20176min394

Rep. Dave Williams is accusing Denver Mayor Michael Hancock of pandering to the “alt left” with a city policy not to help enforce federal immigration laws. The Republican from Colorado Springs is calling on President Trump to crack down on Denver.

The Denver City Council is set to vote Monday night on the Public Safety Enforcement Priorities Act,  proposed by the mayor policy “to reduce fear within the immigrant community and clarify for everyone that Denver is not engaging in immigration enforcement.”

“Your support for this so-called ‘public safety’ ordinance is troubling to say the least,” Williams wrote to Hancock, according to the letter dated Aug. 22 that Williams provided to the Colorado Springs Gazette. “After reading the proposed measure and considering its merits, one can easily determine that this is nothing more than attempt by your office to pander to the alt-left and other open border (sic) militants, while further endangering citizens and lawful immigrants who reside in Colorado.”

Hancock dismissed Williams’ assertion Sunday.

“We are not going to engage in an obvious effort by Mr. Williams to create some headlines for himself,” Hancock told Colorado Politics Sunday. “Should he care to educate himself on the ordinance and why it does not violate federal law, we are glad to refer him to Google search. With a little effort, he would clearly see Denver is taking positive actions to unite people and protect their rights, safety and contributions to our city.”

This month, when the proposal was announced, Hancock said, “With these next steps, Denver will send a clear message that every person, no matter their immigration status, can feel safe when interacting with the city and law enforcement, and know that our No. 1 priority is the safety and health of everyone in Denver.”

In addition to the ordinance Hancock supports, his office said he is working on an executive order on the same subject to:

  • Create a legal defense fund for immigrant
  • Create a working group of experts, stakeholders and city staff to track the impact of Denver policies.
  • Make sure city employees and law enforcement get training on laws and legal rights.
  • Teach immigrants and refugees about their rights.
  • “Protect victims and witnesses regardless of their immigration status.”
  • Assist children and families who are separated because of deportation.

The U.S. Constitution vests immigration enforcement with federal agencies, primarily Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Those, like Williams, who oppose policies that make it easier for undocumented residents to remain in the U.S. illegally, say local governments should not adopt policies that could make it harder for federal agents to do their jobs, however.

In the last legislative session Williams sponsored a bill that would have allowed government officials in jurisdictions deemed “sanctuary cities” to be arrested or sued for violent crimes committed by undocumented residents. He cited Denver, Aurora and Boulder.

“It’s pretty obvious this bill violates the U.S. Constitution,” Denise Maes, public policy director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado, said at the time. “Fourth Amendment rights are fundamental foundations of our democracy, and this bill is contrary to that.”

She and other opponents argued that immigrants would be less likely to report crimes they witness or are the victims of, if they are afraid to talk to police because of immigration status.

Williams went on to write in his letter to Hancock last week, “It is disgraceful that you would rather pander to the radical, alt-left special interests by promoting unlawful activity while refusing to protect or even acknowledge the victims of illegal immigration.”

In another letter dated two days later, on Thursday, Williams told Trump he is a Latino lawmaker and wants the president to assign additional resources to Colorado to block “sanctuary city politicians who are attempting to pass policies that will attract more criminals to Colorado.”

He concluded the letter, “It is clear that Denver officials are determined to allow criminals to run loose on the streets and deny Coloradans their rights to safety and justice. As such, your administration is our best hope to stop this lawless behavior.”

President Trump has proposed deputizing local law enforcement to help, however. He also has proposed withholding tax dollars from sanctuary cities.

Editor’s note: This story was corrected to say that Hancock’s executive order would further extend the proposed ordinance, but his order on the same subject is not part of the ordinance that he supports.


Ernest LuningErnest LuningAugust 10, 20177min481

After 54 years of “silliness,” switchblades are again legal in Colorado, and knife rights activists are cheering. “Today we celebrate a sharper future in Colorado,” said Doug Ritter, chairman of Knife Rights — motto: “A Sharper Future” — at a press conference Wednesday at a knife factory in Golden. Ritter, whose organization is dedicated to repealing bans on switchblades and other automatic knives, was on hand to thank state Sen. Owen Hill, R-Colorado Springs, and state Rep. Steve Lebsock, D-Thornton, for sponsoring legislation that overturned Colorado’s ban, in effect since 1963. The law passed by wide margins in the Legislature and took effect Wednesday.


John TomasicJohn TomasicFebruary 22, 20176min386

Civil rights protesters gathered Wednesday at the Capitol to protest the “Colorado Politician Accountability Act,” a hot-button Republican House bill being heard in the House State Affairs committee. The bill, <a href="" target="_blank">HB 1134</a>, is sponsored by Colorado Springs freshman Rep. Dave Williams. It taps into the harsh view of so-called sanctuary policies that marked the Trump presidential campaign last year and dovetails with the immigration and deportation executive order issued by the president this week.


Mike McKibbinMike McKibbinFebruary 10, 20174min270

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock will co-host a public forum Saturday, Feb. 11, to help tell immigrants and other community members about what the city can and will do in response to President Donald Trump’s recent executive actions regarding immigration. In a statement released the same day Trump announced a ban on immigration from several mostly Muslim nations, Hancock said it was unfortunate Trump took the action, after Denver and other cities across the country, "have continually looked to and asked for Washington to act on comprehensive immigration reform." "Instead, communities and families will now be penalized for the federal government’s failure to act," Hancock said. "The executive orders signed today put our economic security as a nation at risk, and I am deeply disappointed. We are a proud nation of immigrants and Denver’s number one priority is the safety, health and wellbeing of everyone who lives in our city. That is why we will not support taking unlawful or unconstitutional actions on behalf of our federal law enforcement, while continuing to comply with federal immigration laws."