Republican State Rep. Dave Williams led a delegation of Colorado GOP lawmakers to the White House Thursday to talk about so-called sanctuary cities and what to do about them.
Williams, a freshman lawmaker from Colorado Springs, has elevated the treatment Denver, Aurora and Boulder have extended to undocumented immigrants into equivalence with the national positions favored by President Trump. That is, they are sanctuary cities that should be punished.
He wrote to Trump last year urging the administration to move against Denver, when city officials said they wouldn't participate in federal roundups or raids of immigrants.
Trump said he wanted to hear from lawmakers across the country, since the administration is in a heated legal battle over local immigration policies in California. Williams was allowed to bring friends - at their own expense - to the meeting Thursday with the White House Domestic Policy Council. He was joined by Republican Reps. Kevin Van Winkle of Highlands Ranch, Tim Leonard of Evergreen and Steve Humphrey of Severance.
Williams told the Associated Press in advance of the White House confab that he's hopeful U.S. Attorney Jeff Sessions cracks down on cities that won't get involved in immigration enforcement. Colorado lawmakers who disagree point out that the U.S. Constitution forbids local cops from enforcing federal laws.
Williams has argued that it's not enough of a justification to provide safe harbor for undocumented residents violating immigration laws, or putting the public at risk when violent criminals are released before federal agents can pick up and deport them.
A Williams' bill last year would have allowed local government officials to face civil or criminal penalties if public policies on immigration led to the injury of citizens. That bill went nowhere.
"Cities like Denver and states like California are allowing criminal aliens to run loose, to kill, murder, maim or hurt our fellow Americans," Williams told Denver-based AP reporter James Anderson in advance of the White House meeting.
The Justice Department filed a lawsuit against the state of California Tuesday "to save lives and keep dangerous criminal aliens off our streets," according to the White House.