As someone who may be an immigrant or related to an immigrating family member, you may already be aware of how police with the ability to check immigration statuses could be a risk to your family or community. In Aurora, police officers do not have this power, because the community wants to protect and build trust among new immigrants and current citizens.

In Aurora, Colorado, the city officials in the area have started to reach out, because the area is known as a sanctuary city, which means illegal immigrants are protected by laws to prevent enforcement officers from checking and enforcing their immigration status. The letter from Aurora claims that the police in the city aim to build good relationships with these immigrant communities and don’t aim to violate that trust by checking the immigration status of the immigrants.

In Aurora, the only time immigrants have their information checked tends to be when they are booked into a holding facility after being accused of committing a crime. There, the arrestee has his fingerprints taken and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation then looks up the information on the immigrant. That information goes on to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. That organization then checks if the individual is in the country legally or if he or she has committed a crime that should lead to his removal from the United States.

Something you should understand as an immigrant is that the city shouldn’t be able to hold you longer than four hours without evidence of wrongdoing. You should be able to ask for your attorney during this time, especially if the time limit is violated. The limit is in place to help prevent wrongful detainment, which could result in your ability to sue the city.

Source: Aurora Sentinel, “Aurora seeks to explain approach to undocumented immigrants,” Rachel Sapin, Sep. 16, 2015