According to reporting from The Denver Channel, Colorado District Court Judge Eric Bentley recently ruled that the El Paso County sheriff violated state law by holding people who were suspected to be in the country illegally. Immigrants were being held for ICE even after their Colorado case had already been fully resolved. Judge Bentley determined that this is forbidden by state law. Here, our Denver deportation defense lawyers provide an overview of this case and explain the implications of the decision.
The lawsuit, in this case, was filed in February of 2018 by the Colorado American Civil Liberties Union. The state’s branch of ACLU stepped in after learning that two immigrants in El Paso County were being held by the Sheriff’s office even after they posted their bond. El Paso County — as well as several other Colorado counties — argued that it had the right to hold people suspected of being undocumented immigrants. These immigrants were being held on behalf of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). In reviewing the case, Judge Eric Bentley determined that this action by El Paso County was not permitted under Colorado state law. In his ruling, Judge Bentley stated that Colorado law enforcement agencies have no legal authority to hold immigrants once they have posted their bond, completed their sentence, or have otherwise resolved their criminal case.
As a result of this decision, Colorado counties can no longer hold people that it suspected of being undocumented immigrants while they wait for a response from federal immigration offices. Once a person’s Colorado state case is resolved, they must be released. That being said, unlike some other U.S. states — most notably, California — Colorado is not a sanctuary jurisdiction. State and local law enforcement agencies in Colorado are still allowed to provide general cooperation with federal immigration officers if they choose to do so. This means that Colorado counties can continue to notify ICE when a suspected undocumented immigrant is about to be released from jail.
At Joseph & Hall P.C., our Colorado deportation defense lawyers are strong, aggressive advocates for our clients. If you or your family member is facing deportation or removal in Colorado, we are here to help. Our law firm has offices in the Denver Metro area, Colorado Springs, and in Eagle County. To set up a fully confidential review of your legal case, please do not hesitate to contact us today.
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