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Hold Colorado Government Accountable Sanctuary Jurisdictions

Concerning holding Colorado government accountable for creating sanctuary jurisdiction policies.
2017 Regular Session
Bill Summary

The bill is known as the 'Colorado Citizen Protection Against Sanctuary Policies Act'. The bill includes a legislative declaration that states that addressing sanctuary jurisdictions is a matter of statewide concern and that makes findings about how sanctuary policies are contrary to federal law and state interests.

The bill states that it is the policy of this state to ensure, to the fullest extent of the law, that the state or a political subdivision (jurisdiction) of the state complies with federal immigration law. In addition, pursuant to a recent presidential executive order, the United States secretary of homeland security has the authority to designate, in his or her discretion and to the extent consistent with law, a jurisdiction as a sanctuary jurisdiction that willfully refuses to comply with federal immigration law. A jurisdiction that violates the following requirements is deemed to be out of compliance with the requirements of federal immigration law and is deemed to have established a sanctuary jurisdiction policy if it:

  • Prohibits, or in any way restricts any jurisdiction, official, or employee from sending to, or receiving from, federal immigration agencies information regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual; or
  • Prohibits, or in any way restricts, a jurisdiction from doing any of the following with respect to information regarding the immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual:
  • Sending such information to, or requesting such information from, federal immigration agencies;
  • Maintaining such information;
  • Exchanging such information with any other federal, state, or political subdivision of the state; or
  • Encourages the physical harboring of an alien in violation of federal law.

A jurisdiction is also deemed to have created a sanctuary jurisdiction policy for purposes of the bill if it is officially notified by the federal department of justice or the federal department of homeland security that it is not in compliance with federal immigration law or if it has been denied federal grant funds based on lack of compliance with federal immigration law.

The governing body of a jurisdiction is required to provide written notice to each elected official, employee, and law enforcement officer of the jurisdiction of his or her duty to communicate and cooperate with the federal government concerning enforcement of any federal or state immigration law. On or before July 1, 2018, and on or before July 1 of each year thereafter, the governing body of any jurisdiction in this state is required to annually submit a written report and affirmation to the department of public safety (department) that the jurisdiction is in compliance with federal immigration law and the provisions of the bill. If the department does not receive those written reports and affirmations, the department is required to provide the name of that jurisdiction to the state controller.

On or before September 1, 2018, and on or before September 1 of each year thereafter, the department is directed to compile and submit annual reports on compliance to the general assembly and to the state controller. Commencing with the 2018-19 fiscal year and each fiscal year thereafter, the state controller is required to withhold the payment of any state funds to any jurisdiction that is found by the department to have failed to comply with the compliance and affirmation requirement. The state controller shall withhold funds until the department notifies the state controller that the jurisdiction is in compliance.

The department is required to republish on its website, once the information is available, the data reported by the federal immigration and customs enforcement agency that pertains to Colorado on the apprehension and release of aliens from custody as compiled by that agency and reported weekly pursuant to a federal memorandum issued by the federal department of homeland security.

The bill waives governmental immunity protection from claims brought against a jurisdiction and against its public employees for personal injuries caused to crime victims as a result of the jurisdiction creating sanctuary jurisdiction policies in violation of the federal law. Governmental immunity is waived and compensatory damages may be awarded under the 'Colorado Governmental Immunity Act' to the crime victim if the person who engaged in the criminal activity:

  • Is determined to be an illegal alien;
  • Had established residency in a jurisdiction that had adopted a sanctuary jurisdiction policy; and
  • Is convicted of the crime that is a proximate cause of the injury to the crime victim.

The bill states that nothing in the bill relating to compliance with federal immigration laws and nothing in the 'Colorado Governmental Immunity Act' shall be construed to require a jurisdiction or a public employee to violate an applicable court ruling from the United States tenth circuit court of appeals or the United States supreme court regarding the enforcement of any provision of federal immigration law.

The bill sets forth the requirements for determining when an illegal alien has established residency in a sanctuary jurisdiction. An 'illegal alien' is defined as a person who is not lawfully present within the United States, as determined by federal immigration law or by a federal immigration agency.

The bill includes a severability clause. The bill takes effect January 1, 2018, and applies to acts or omissions occurring on or after said date.

(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)




Bill Text

The effective date for bills enacted without a safety clause is August 7, 2024, if the General Assembly adjourns sine die on May 8, 2024, unless otherwise specified. Details