Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents will no longer be allowed to arrest people for civil immigration violations in or around courthouses in Colorado.
Gov. Jared Polis signed Senate Bill 83 into law Monday. It prohibits agents from making civil arrests while a person is in the courthouse or on its property or if the person is going to or from a court proceeding.
The bill excludes civil arrests related to a judge’s contempt-of-court order or other judicially issued process. A violation of the law could lead to a judge finding the agent in contempt of court, or the person could be subject to civil penalties from the attorney general.
Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver, said the bill sends a message that everyone deserves protections, particularly at a time when immigrants are fearful of accessing services. That includes witnesses, defendants and victims of crime.
The new law would allow immigrants who came to the country illegally to participate in the judicial process without worry about being deported.
“No one should feel like they can’t access justice through the courts because of their immigration status,” she said. “I think it makes it very clear to ICE that we want people to feel safe in our communities.
An ICE spokesperson previously told The Denver Post that the agency could continue the practice, which is “often necessitated by local policies that prevent law enforcement from cooperating with ICE efforts to arrange for a safe and orderly transfer of custody in the setting of a state or county prison or jail.”