The Durango City Council will consider a resolution Tuesday to make it clear: The city is not and never has been a sanctuary city.
“There is a huge amount of misunderstanding that needs to be rectified,” said City Manager Ron LeBlanc.
Durango’s position on immigration law was recently questioned publicly, and the town was listed by the website sanctuarycities.info as a municipality that shelters undocumented immigrants.
Since then, the city and La Plata County have been getting phone calls about the issue, LeBlanc said.
San Francisco is a high-profile example of a sanctuary city. It prohibits employees from helping Immigration and Customs Enforcement with immigration investigations or arrests unless it is required by federal or state law or a warrant, according to its website.
Local police do contact federal authorities when an undocumented person commits a crime, said Ray Shupe, a spokesman for the Durango Police Department.
However, the city does not make stops based on the suspicion that a person might be violating immigration law, he said.
LeBlanc asked site managers at Sanctuarycities.info to take Durango off the public list. But a site manager refused because Durango had been listed in a congressional report, according to an email exchange. The site manager, who is not named in the exchange, did not produce the report. On the site, it says the managers do not have a copy but that it is widely cited on the Internet.
City Council has addressed this issue before, in a 2004 resolution. That document said all people will be “treated equally and with respect regardless of immigration status.” The new resolution also discourages discrimination.
In 2004, the intent of the resolution was to encourage victims of crimes to come forward regardless of immigration status, Shupe said.
“They feel like they are going to be deported if they come forward,” he said.
The local police ask for identification when victims who are in the country illegally come forward to report a crime, but police do not turn them into ICE, Shupe said.