During an interview with the Weld County district attorney, conducted the day after federal agents raided a Greeley meatpacking plant, radio host Peter Boyles falsely claimed that Greeley is a "sanctuary city" for illegal immigrants. Colorado Media Matters has noted that Boyles also repeatedly and inaccurately has declared that Denver is a "sanctuary city."
During the December 13 broadcast of his 630 KHOW-AM radio show, Peter Boyles falsely claimed that "[o]f course" Greeley is a so-called "sanctuary city" for illegal immigrants. As Colorado Media Matters has noted, Boyles also has declared on numerous occasions that Denver is a sanctuary city. However, the designation is not accurate for either city.
Boyles' declaration about Greeley came at the conclusion of an interview with Weld County District Attorney Kenneth R. Buck, held the day after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents raided a Swift & Co. meatpacking plant in Greeley and reportedly captured approximately 300 workers suspected of being in the United States illegally. Boyles had stated to Buck that "many people ... tell me that Greeley is a sanctuary city" and asked whether Buck "ever heard that term." Buck replied that he had and said that he had asked the Greeley "city council to support bringing an ICE office to Greeley and the city council declined to do so." Buck also stated, "I'm not disagreeing with that term."
As Colorado Media Matters has noted, a 2004 report by the U.S. Congressional Research Service -- Congress' nonpartisan research and analysis arm -- identified "sanctuary cities" as those that have adopted "a 'don't ask-don't tell' policy where they don't require their employees, including law enforcement officers, to report to federal officials aliens who may be illegally present in the country." The report's list of U.S. "[c]ities and counties currently that have sanctuary policies" did not include any in Colorado. Furthermore, a Colorado statute enacted May 1 prohibits sanctuary policies, which the statute defines as "local government ordinances or policies that prohibit local officials, including peace officers, from communicating or cooperating with federal officials with regard to the immigration status of any person within the state."
Moreover, as the Greeley Tribune reported on December 13, ICE -- the federal agency charged with enforcing immigration laws -- works with law enforcement officials in Weld County, where Greeley is the county seat. ICE coordinates activities for northern Colorado through a field office in the town of Brush and an agent stationed at the Eaton Police Department. The Tribune outlined the procedures for "Working With ICE":
1. When a foreign-born person commits a crime, Weld County Jail officials report him or her to ICE.
2. ICE checks to see if the person is in the country legally. This often requires fingerprints or pictures since some use aliases, Buck said.
3. ICE evaluates the severity of the crime. ICE will usually hold someone who is in jail on suspicion of homicide, rape or sexual abuse of a child. A DUI offense, however, doesn't usually warrant a hold, Buck said.
4. If ICE decides to put a hold on an inmate, an agent interviews the person at the jail and makes another decision about whether to maintain the hold.
5. The person goes through the justice system, and if convicted, the person serves his or her sentence in the jail.
6. When the sentence is done, ICE comes to pick up the person to begin deportation proceedings.
As the Rocky Mountain News reported on December 22, 2005, the Greeley city council asserted "neutrality" on the issue of immigration after being "a flash point of the immigration controversy ... over a plan to establish a federal immigration office there." The News further reported:
After a series of protests, community forums and postponed decisions that inflamed emotions, council members unanimously agreed at a packed meeting that they had no standing to endorse opening an ICE office.
Instead, they came out foursquare for enforcement of all laws, including immigration ones. They did not specifically endorse or oppose the question of the ICE office.
The News also noted that, according to the Department of Homeland Security, ICE maintains offices in Denver as well as Alamosa, Brush, Craig, Durango, Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction and Pueblo.
From the December 13 broadcast of 630 KHOW-AM's The Peter Boyles Show:
BOYLES: So overall, as we end this, will you continue to -- I mean, as a, as a district attorney in Weld County, what can you do about this issue? Can you prosecute these kinds of people more -- like employers? I mean, the -- you know, the illegal guy for an aside -- and now the new laws are gonna be enacted January 1. The state laws. I mean, because there's many, many people, District Attorney, quite frankly, that tell me that Greeley is a sanctuary city. Have you ever heard that term?
BUCK: I've heard the term and, and I've been in front of the city council, and I've asked the city council to support bringing an ICE office to Greeley and the city council declined to do so.
BOYLES: Sanctuary city. Sure. Of course.
BUCK: I'm not disagreeing with that term.
BOYLES: Yeah. No. Listen. We'll have you back. God bless you. Merry Christmas. Thank you, sir.
BUCK: Thank you.
BOYLES: All right, you're welcome. The DA. You heard it. 630 KHOW. Denver's talk station. Eighteen after the hour. Of course that's a sanctuary city. Of course it goes on.