Teller Commissioners and Sheriff Criticize Governor Legislative Action to Freeze ICE Agreements

Officials, Though, Say Current Practices Will Continue


Editor’s Note:  Enclosed is a joint statement, released by the Teller County Commissioners and the Teller County Sheriff dealing with a recent legislative bill signed by Governor Jared Polis, barring local governments from engaging in certain agreements with the ICE (U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement) agency dealing with federal immigration procedures.  In the past, this legislation was often referred to as the anti-Teller bill.  Although losing the battle, the elected officials maintain they are winning the overall war to keep dangerous non-citizens off the streets. 


The Teller County Commissioners (Bob Campbell, Dan Williams and Erik Stone) and Teller County Sheriff (Jason Mikesell) recently asked Governor Polis to veto HB 23-1100 (the bill dealing with ICE’s arrangements with local governments, pertaining to the handling of illegal immigrants). We stand by the positions in our veto request letter.


We are disappointed the Governor signed the bill but appreciate the time he took to consider our position. We especially appreciate his signing statement, in which the Governor expressed his “longstanding opposition to any state law that prevents local law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration officials, sometimes referred to as ‘sanctuary cities’” and that he “will ensure Colorado is not, nor should be, a sanctuary state.” He also acknowledged that local governments like Teller County “can still participate in coordinated law enforcement actions with federal law enforcement and, as the Colorado district court recently held, local governments can still collaborate with the federal government to enforce federal immigration law.”  


The district court case the Governor referenced is the case brought by the ACLU against Teller County Sheriff Jason Mikesell that sought to invalidate the Sheriff’s 287(g) Memorandum of Agreement with ICE. The Teller County District court dismissed all the ACLU’s claims and ruled that Sheriff Mikesell has the legal authority to enter into the 287(g) agreement with ICE as a function of his statutory duty to keep and preserve the peace in Teller County.


The Teller County Sheriff’s officers who receive training, certification, and authorization from ICE to act as Designated Immigration Officers (DIO) lawfully engage in specified immigration enforcement functions as de facto federal officers under ICE supervision. HB 23-1100 does not impact the 287(g) agreement, so the Sheriff’s Office intends to maintain this lawful program designed to enhance public safety by reducing the number of criminal noncitizen offenders released back into the community.  


Finally, we appreciate the Governor’s statement that he will call on the General Assembly to address the financial impact on Teller County because of HB 23-1100 and look forward to working with the Governor on this.


Submitted by Teller County Commissioners (Bob Campbell, Erik Stone and Dan Williams)

And Teller County Sheriff (Jason Mikesell)