Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition and the ACLU of Colorado Condemn Douglas and El Paso County Lawsuit

April 25, 2024
Press Release
  • ICE Resistance

Denver, CO – The Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (CIRC) and the ACLU of Colorado stand united in supporting Colorado laws designed to protect the civil rights of all Colorado residents and ensure all Coloradans can participate in building strong communities. Douglas and El Paso Counties filed a lawsuit last week to challenge two Colorado laws – HB19-1124 and HB23-1100. These laws are crucial to safeguarding Coloradans from arbitrary overreach, detention, and deportation.

The two laws protect the fundamental principle of ensuring the safety and well-being of all residents in our state. A broad coalition of business, faith leaders and community organizations, joined by some in law enforcement, helped pass these bills.

  • HB19-1124 – The Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition documented hundreds of Coloradans’ stories who were forced into deportation after seeking assistance as a victim or witness of crime or being profiled by local law enforcement. The law’s initial versions were originally named “Virginia’s Law”. Virginia bravely reached out to law enforcement for help during a domestic violence incident. Instead of assistance, her contact with local law enforcement and their collusion with ICE ensnared her in deportation proceedings.

  • HB23-1100 – Over the years, countless abuses have been documented that have been perpetuated by ICE, private detention centers like the GEO Immigration Detention Center in Aurora, and by law enforcement agents working with ICE. This bill limits opportunity for these abuses by halting the concerning practice of law enforcement agencies collaborating with ICE to detain Coloradans in local jails and prevents the establishment of new private immigration detention facilities. Across Colorado, this collaboration has resulted in distrust and fear among immigrant communities about seeking aid from law enforcement.

El Paso and Douglas County officials seek to take Colorado backwards. 

When local law enforcement colludes with Immigration to undermine constitutional protection from unwarranted detention and searches, individuals fear reaching out to local law enforcement, crimes go unreported, and our communities suffer. The ramifications are profound as Coloradans with long roots in our state are ripped from their loved ones and communities unnecessarily. These existing protections make our entire state stronger. 

The attempt to dismantle these protective laws is not only misguided but inherently discriminatory. It disregards the contributions of hundreds of thousands of Coloradans, many of whom have called this state home for decades, contributing to its economy, culture, and social fabric. Immigrants are essential members of our community, and denying them equal protection under the law is both unjust and unconstitutional.

Colorado’s laws ensure that all residents, regardless of immigration status, can access justice without fear of disproportionate punishment or deportation. We affirm the inherent dignity and rights of all individuals, regardless of immigration status, to fully participate in our society. We will continue to stand firm and united against these short-sighted, politically motivated attacks against our immigrant communities and Colorado residents. 

To learn more about immigrant protection laws, including HB19-1124 and HB23-1100, as well as the positive impact these laws have had in the lives of Coloradans, join our webinar May 6th at 6pm. Register here