Boulder, Colorado is rushing to formalize its status as a sanctuary city in the weeks leading up to the inauguration of President-Elect Donald Trump.
“That seems to be a meaningful goal post to shoot for,” Mayor Suzanne Jones told Boulder’s Daily Camera newspaper.
“A great way to start the new year.”
The local news outlet reported the move is largely symbolic as Boulder already follows the policies of other jurisdictions classified as “sanctuary” jurisdictions. The decision appears to be an “in your face” move in response to the incoming president’s threat to defund similar cities.
The mayor and city council of Boulder directed the city attorney’s office to draft an ordinance for either the council’s January 3 or 17 meeting. It was not confirmed if the draft would contain the word “sanctuary.”
The Daily Camera reported:
Councilwoman Mary Young said that Boulder might do better to keep “sanctuary” out of any action it takes so as to at least try to minimize attention of the Trump administration. She also said that immigration workers she’s spoken to believe that action is more important than words, and that a city calling itself a sanctuary is not as meaningful as some believe.
“What matters is that we have the force of law behind it,” Young said. “That we walk the walk was more important to them than talking the talk.”
The City of Boulder appears to already be in violation of federal law requiring local officials to cooperate with immigration authorities.
The Boulder police chief, Greg Testa, told the local news outlet, “We do not detain anybody based on immigration status and we do not report immigration status to the federal government.”
The sanctuary policy would likely put the City in violation of Section 1373 of Title 8 of the United States Code. The law was passed in 1996 during the administration of President Bill Clinton to force local and state jurisdictions to cooperate with immigration officials or risk losing federal funding, Breitbart Texas reported in November. Part of the process requires the federal agency’s office of inspector general to certify that a jurisdiction is not in compliance in order to block funding.
The previously unenforced law could now become the tool for the Trump Administration to use to quickly force sanctuary cities into compliance, U.S. Representative John Culberson told Breitbart Texas earlier this month.
“The law requires cooperation with immigration officials 100 percent of the time,” Culberson told Breitbart Texas. In February, Culberson provided Attorney General Lynch with a list of more than 300 sanctuary cities compiled by the Center for Immigration Studies.
Since that time, the Department of Justice’s Office of Inspector General has certified 10 of these jurisdictions as sanctuary jurisdictions and the top ten have been notified they will not be eligible for federal law enforcement grants in the coming year.
The City of Boulder is not currently on the list of 300 sanctuary jurisdiction, but Boulder County is. The Boulder County sheriff has, along with other Colorado sheriff’s announced they will not honor immigration detainers issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents. Between January 2014 and September 2015, Boulder County officials refused to honor 19 immigration detainers, eight of which were for illegal aliens with prior criminal histories, CIS reported.
The Daily Camera reported a Colorado law passed in 2013 allowed the state’s sheriff’s to not notify ICE when there was probable cause to believe the inmate was an illegal alien. That law could place the State of Colorado in the same status as the States of California and Connecticut who have already been certified by the DOJ as not being in compliance with the law.
Since the Colorado law was passed in 2013, “the state’s sheriff’s declared they would not honor Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainers,” the local newspaper reported.
“The critical steps (for cutting federal funding to sanctuary cities) have already been taken,” Chairman Culberson stated previously. “President Trump and Attorney General Sessions will, on day one, be able to strip the funding from these sanctuary jurisdictions simply by enforcing existing law.”
“The timing on this action by the DOJ is perfect,” Culberson told Breitbart Texas. “The new administration can go right to work to force these jurisdictions to comply or simply choose to stop receiving federal money.”