DENVER — U.S. immigration officials are asking a federal judge to force Denver to turn over information about four men accused of crimes who are subject to deportation after the city refused to comply with its order to do so.
In a continued escalation of the conflict between federal officials and so-called sanctuary cities, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement filed a complaint in Denver federal court Thursday asking that a judge enforce administrative subpoenas it issued to the Denver’s sheriff department last month for information such as addresses, identification and arrest reports on the three Mexicans and a Honduran.
Accusing ICE of seeking the information for “political reasons,” Denver said it would not comply unless a judge determined that the orders were appropriate.
Denver officials declined to comment on the latest move by ICE on Monday, as did the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Colorado, which is representing ICE in court.
According to ICE, all four men have been deported multiple times. One of the men from Mexico was arrested in Denver for sexual assault, another for vehicular homicide and a third for child abuse and strangulation assault. The Honduran man was arrested on domestic violence charges.
Three of the men have been released from the jail, and one was still being held. Denver jail officials notified ICE before the three were released. But there was not enough time for ICE agents to get to the jail before they were freed, according to the ICE court filing.
In a letter last week explaining the city’s refusal to comply with the subpoenas, Chad Sublet, the attorney for Denver’s Department of Safety, said that ICE already had access to the state and federal database to which the city feeds information. He pointed out that ICE had already accessed biometric data like fingerprints about the men that the Denver jail had shared when the four men were booked.
However, in its court filing, ICE said the database often does not have updated address information and only very basic information about criminal allegations.