Denver braces for possible ICE raid, groups speak out in favor and against operation

DENVER — Denver groups and officials are speaking out both for and against possible upcoming Immigration and Customs Enforcement operations.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock told CNN he believes an upcoming ICE operation will include rounding up children.

ICE will reportedly go after 2,000 immigrants with criminal histories already listed for deportation in 10 cities, including Denver.

In a televised interview he tweeted out, Hancock said, “We have on pretty good authority that ICE is actually making calls to cities that they are targeting and reach out to the Human Service Departments and asking for assistance in the event that they are rounding up children."

The Mayor’s office said the Denver’s Human Services Department  has not been contacted by ICE.

As news spread of the proposed crackdown, Denver Public Schools sent this message to parents: “Denver public Schools is committed to making sure all of Denver Public schools know their rights and  that our schools are safe and welcoming places for all students including for our immigrant students.”

Still, undocumented immigrants like Lupe Lopez of Fort Morgan are concerned.

She and her husband are fighting deportation.

"We are a little bit nervous because you never know because sometimes immigration goes looking for one person and then they take away other people," Lopez said.

But groups like the Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform say the enforcement is necessary.

"The people that will be apprehended have been ordered to be deported. What’s imperative in this whole situation is that the rule of law be enforced. The American worker is he one that is actually suffering the worst," said Stanley Weeks, Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform research director.

Weeks also said many immigrants come to the U.S. illegally for economic reasons.

But Lopez said she was running from violence in Guatemala and feared for her life and had nowhere else go.

FOX31 reached out to ICE to ask if there were any possible raids scheduled in Denver. The agency said it would not release information due to security concerns.

In preparation for the possible raids, more than 100 new members have signed up to help the Colorado Rapid Response Network, a group that helps immigrants who feel they are being unfairly targeted by ICE.

“The bits about the children being separated and the horrific conditions that they were living in came out that was it. That was the last straw," Cynthia Katsarelis said.

During the past two weeks the network has been placing posters in various business with its hotline number and showing immigrants how to get help.

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