DENVER (AP) — U.S. immigration officials are asking a federal judge to force Denver to turn over information about three men accused of crimes who are subject to deportation after the city refused to comply with its order to do so.
In a continued escalation of the conflict between federal officials and so-called sanctuary cities, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement filed a complaint in Denver federal court Thursday asking that a judge enforce administrative subpoenas it issued to the Denver’s sheriff department last month for information such as addresses, identification and arrest reports on the two Mexican nationals and a Honduran. ICE originally also sought information on a fourth person whom it has since found and arrested so it is not asking the court to require Denver to turn over information in that case.
Accusing ICE of seeking the information for “political reasons,” Denver said it would not comply with the subpoenas unless a judge determined that they were appropriate.
Denver officials declined to comment on the latest move by ICE on Monday, as did the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Colorado, which is representing ICE in court.
According to ICE, all three men have been deported multiple times. One of the men from Mexico was arrested for sexual assault and the other for vehicular homicide. The Honduran man was arrested on domestic violence charges.
Two of the men ICE is currently seeking information on have been released from the jail, and one was still being held. Denver jail officials notified ICE before the two were released. But there was not enough time for ICE agents to get to the jail before they were freed, according to the ICE court filing.
In a letter last week explaining the city’s refusal to comply with the subpoenas, Chad Sublet, the attorney for Denver’s Department of Safety, said that ICE already had access to the state and federal database to which the city feeds information. He pointed out that ICE had already accessed biometric data like fingerprints about the men that the Denver jail had shared when the men were booked.
However, in its court filing, ICE said the database often does not have updated address information and only very basic information about criminal allegations.