Denver to expand immigration legal aid program

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A large banner was hung on the City and County Building on Feb. 15, 2018.

DENVER — The city of Denver will extend a program that provides legal defense for immigrants who are fighting deportation.

Mayor Michael Hancock held a news conference Tuesday with immigration groups to make the announcement.

The announcement comes one year after the program was enacted. Denver set aside $200,000 from the general fund to help immigrants facing deportation or other proceedings.

Donations from foundations and organizations grew the fund in the past year. The fund is for immigrants, including those living in the country illegally.

Hancock signed an executive order in August 2017 to create the fund and the Denver City Council unanimously passed an ordinance limiting how the city works with federal immigration officials.

The Vera Institute of Justice’s Safety and Fairness for Everyone Network said the program has been a success.

In the first year, 38 percent of cases represented by SAFE attorneys have been successful, meaning the immigrant was allowed to stay in the country, officials said.

Only 3 percent of cases were successful if an immigrant went through a hearing without a lawyer, the SAFE Network said.

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