President of Denver police union tells Congress city’s immigration ordinance is unsafe

WASHINGTON -- The president of Denver's police union spoke before Congress on Thursday.

He believes the city's immigration ordinance is unsafe and makes it hard to get immigrant drug dealers off the streets.

Nick Rodgers testified in front of the House Border Security and Immigration subcommittee.

He believes Denver's ordinance that bans police from asking someone about their immigration status is at the root of the city's opioid and drug problem.

He and his colleagues say it allows illegal immigrants to go in and out of jail without ever being detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.

But the Denver Police Department contends officers should not be doing the job of federal agents.

"When police officers are not allowed to interact with federal agents, it makes it impossible for federal agents to know that an illegal alien has committed this crime," said Bryan O'Neill, vice president of the Denver Police Protective Association.

"Our job is to prosecute criminal matters, not to deal with civil enforcement of a person’s status in this country," Denver police Deputy Chief Matthew Murray said. "And we respect that ICE has that job and they do that job and we don’t inhibit them from doing that job. We just don’t participate."

Rodgers was invited to testify by Congressman Ken Buck of Weld County.