Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition applauds the Court of Appeals decision to reinstate the lawsuit against Teller County’s 287(g) agreement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The lawsuit brought on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Colorado, a CIRC member, aims to end the agreement which uses taxpayer dollars to fund dangerous ICE enforcement in local jails.
ICE routinely spreads fear by harassing, arresting, and detaining our friends, neighbors, and family members. Instead of allowing people to pursue their immigration cases from their homes, ICE breaks apart families, removing vital breadwinners, and traumatizing the youngest and most vulnerable. Communities are safer when law enforcement serves all members of the community regardless of immigration status, and any collaboration with ICE makes that impossible.
The Teller County sheriff’s office has long been notorious for its mistreatment of immigrants. It remains the only county in the state that formally cooperates with ICE through a 287(g) agreement supported by local tax dollars. Every other county in Colorado has recognized the harm that these agreements cause to community safety because transforming local law enforcement into federal immigration agents breeds mistrust, endangering everyone. Teller County Sheriff Mikesell has continued to publicly endorse this dangerous practice, forcing the people of Teller County to fund his prejudice against immigrants. CIRC envisions a state in which there is no cooperation between local law enforcement and ICE in order to create safe, equitable and just communities in every county. This lawsuit brings us one step closer to that vision.