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Monday February 6th 2023

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Boulder City Council Asks Staff for a Report on ICE Program


At least five Boulder City Council members agreed to ask Boulder city staff and police to report on the impact of a proposed program of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) on local law enforcement and safety in the community. The ICE program, dubbed “Secure Communities,” was initiated by the Bush Administration in 2008.

The ICE program is controversial, and police departments in cities as diverse as Alexandria, VA, Salt Lake City, San Francisco and Washington, DC have expressed serious reservations about the program’s impact in their communities. A New York Times editorial of August 17 called on the Obama administration to jettison the program, or substantially reform it.

Colorado’s immigration law is already one of the toughest in the nation, requiring local police to send ICE the fingerprints of anyone about whom there is a reasonable suspicion that they are in the country illegally.

The Council discussion about the ICE program at Tuesday’s meeting consumed a small portion of the Council’s attention, and came after extensive discussion of the main issues for consideration: mainly, the City’s revised snow and ice enforcement program and the Clean Energy Future program.

The Council was reluctant to get into a debate about immigration. The timing of the report requested of the staff coincides with the Council’s normally scheduled consideration of the annual legislative agenda that will be subject of a study session on November 9. The legislative agenda contains the City’s priorities for state and federal laws that have an important impact on the City, including a wide range of topics from funding for transportation, education, human services and the federal labs to land use and tax policy.

The opening sentence of Camera reporter Heath Urie’s article on the issue proclaims that the City “will take a stand on a controversial federal program that uses fingerprints to identify illegal immigrants.” In fact, the Council expressed reluctance about wading into this area, but felt that more information from local law enforcement was needed about the ICE program.

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