DENVER (KDVR) — A bill that would restrict local cooperation with federal immigration detention is advancing through the Colorado legislature.
If passed, House Bill 23-1100 would prohibit local and state governments from entering into immigration detention agreements, including through private entities, and would require them to terminate any that already exist.
The bill passed the House on its third reading in February and is now assigned to the Senate Judiciary committee. If lawmakers clear it and the governor signs it, the law would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2024.
County paid for immigration detention agreement
Local governments around the country can contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to detain people living in the country illegally, and those governments receive payment in exchange. Currently, the Teller County Sheriff’s Office is the only Colorado law enforcement agency listed as a participant.
Teller County Sheriff Jason Mikesell testified at the Capitol in opposition to the bill. He said the measure would put detainees at risk of being separated from their families and send them to places that may deliver inadequate care.
Bill sponsor Rep. Naquetta Ricks, who migrated to Colorado as a teen, said proponents “want to make sure we limit this into the future and to make sure Colorado is a place that will respect people who are undocumented.”
A similar bill in New Mexico failed on Tuesday.
Colorado already has a 2019 state law that restricts local cooperation with immigration authorities. A judge, however, recently ruled that Teller County still has the legal authority to enter such an agreement.
Sponsors of the bill include Ricks, D-Arapahoe; Rep. Lorena Garcia, D-Adams and Jefferson; Sen. Sonya Jaquez Lewis, D-Boulder, Broomfield and Weld; and Senate Majority Whip Julie Gonzalez, D-Denver.