Denver, Colorado- the fear of being deported has caused some witnesses and victims of violent crimes to skip court — ultimately allowing several cases to be dropped and the suspects to walk free.
City attorney Kristin Bronson says because of this, local safety is on the line.
“Our police department doesn’t care whether people are documented or undocumented,” Bronson said. “Whether they are citizens of the U.S or not. If they are living here or traveling through Denver, they are entitled to the protection from our police department and sheriff’s department.”
However, the city does not control the actions of federal (ICE) agents.
“Victims need to feel comfortable to come forward,” Bronson said.
Her office is in the process of dropping four domestic violence cases since President Donald Trump announced a more aggressive deportation policy in January.
The victims in those cases were afraid of running into officers at court who could deport them.
Last week, lawyers from Meyer Law Office filmed three ICE officers in the Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse. ICE is allowed to be there in plain clothes and says often if they can’t track down a person elsewhere, court is a reliable way to find them.
“The level of anxiety in the community is very new,” Bronson said.
“We’re not only talking about non-citizens and immigrants as defendants of crime, but also as witnesses,” Julie Gonzales with Meyer Law Office said.