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More counties join lawsuit challenging Colorado laws on federal immigration statutes

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(The Center Square) – Four Colorado counties joined Douglas County in an amended lawsuit against Democratic Gov. Jared Polis and the state challenging the legality of state laws regarding immigration.

Douglas County announced Elbert, Garfield, Mesa and Rio Blanco counties are now parties to a lawsuit originally filed by Douglas and El Paso counties. The suit claims two state laws prevent local governments from cooperating with the federal government on immigration matters. Approximately 25% of the state’s population resides in the six counties, according to a media release.

The original petition was filed in Denver District Court in April. The 13-page complaint claimed two state laws prohibit law enforcement from arresting and detaining illegal immigrants and prohibit state courts from sharing information with the federal government. The laws also prevent local governments from entering agreements with the federal government regarding enforcement of immigration regulations.

Douglas County’s amended lawsuit is the eighth action taken by its Board of Commissioners to address “the local impacts of the national migrant crisis,” according to the media release. Previous actions included emergency adoption of an ordinance prohibiting drivers of commercial vehicles from stopping and unloading passengers in unincorporated areas of the county, except for planned, scheduled and documented destinations. It also sent a letter to Democratic Denver Mayor Mike Johnston requesting a repeal of two laws making the city a sanctuary for immigrants.

“Your community’s overall well-being is at the forefront of these tough decisions as your Board of Douglas County Commissioners works to address local impacts of the national migrant crisis,” according to the release.

House Bills 19-1124 and 23-1100 are contested in the lawsuit, which addresses four areas.

“HB 19-1124 violates the Intergovernmental Relationships Provision because it prohibits the state and its political subdivisions from cooperating with the government of the United States in immigration enforcement, a function the federal government is lawfully authorized to conduct,” the suit states.

The lawsuit alleges HB 23-1100 is a violation as it prohibits the state and its political subdivisions from contracting with the federal government.

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