Denver police chief takes questions about how officers handle undocumented immigrants

DENVER -- The room at Denver’s police headquarters was packed with people asking questions about how officers handle undocumented immigrants.

Question after question came from two groups concerned about how undocumented immigrants are treated.

The groups wanted specific answers about the Denver Police Department's immigrant policies. Many of them fear federal enforcement agencies might go too far.

Police said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents are on the streets of Denver in bigger numbers and the people at the meeting said they are worried.

"I understand the mothers may be afraid to get out of their houses for fear somebody will grab them," a woman said.

Members of the ACLU and People Power wanted to know specifically if officers work with ICE agents when it comes to undocumented immigrants.

"A lot of people in our community want to make sure we are protecting all of our residents," said Nathan Woodliff-Stanley, executive director of the ACLU Colorado.

The groups focused on nine policy areas they say directly impact undocumented immigrants who have been arrested. Their concern is police might be working too close with ICE agents.

“We are providing police (protection) the same way we did prior to the Trump administration and since the Trump administration," Denver police chief Robert White said.

The group talked about everything from how ICE agents dress to whether officers ask about immigration status to how and when officers cooperate with the agents.

"If ICE has a [criminal] warrant, like any other agency, if they have a [criminal] warrant and we lock that individual up we have a responsibility to notify the agency that initiated the warrant," White said.

He said he agreed with most of the ACLU’s concerns.

"I’m proud that so many of the values that we are going for are, if not already codified, generally agreed to by the chief," said John Larson with People Power.

Both groups said they still have a lot of questions.

But most of those are for the Denver sheriff and how his deputies work with ICE agents when it comes to undocumented immigrants in the jail.