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Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Denver council to consider repealing 2008 car-impound initiative aimed at illegal immigrants - The Denver Post

Denver council to consider repealing 2008 car-impound initiative aimed at illegal immigrants - The Denver Post

Denver City Council members next month will consider repealing a 2008 initiative passed by voters that was intended to impound vehicles driven by "illegal aliens."

Denver has never enforced the immigration portion of Initiative 100 because of potential civil rights lawsuits. But unlicensed drivers who have their cars towed under the law must pay about $2,600 in bonds and fees in addition to the towing and impound costs to retrieve their vehicles.

That is patently unfair, said Councilman Paul Lopez, who is pushing to repeal the initiative.

"The collateral damage that this law created is huge," Lopez said. "There is no process for someone to prove their innocence. . . . And it's ridiculous to think that getting your car out of the impound is equal to one month's pay."

On Monday, the council approved the first stage of the repeal, setting a July 11 date for the final vote after a public hearing.

Lopez in April 2010 pushed for a repeal but backed off, agreeing with then-Mayor John Hickenlooper that the decision should be made by voters.

Lopez has changed his stance, saying the council has the authority to change the law and that asking taxpayers to pay for an election is unnecessary.

The initiative's backer, Dan Hayes of Jefferson County, said the council should honor the voters' intent.

"The voters passed it," he said. "It's an abuse of power. This is just unheard of. They didn't have the guts to do it before the election. Now they are all elected, and now they are going to repeal it. They are cowards."

Denver's charter makes it possible for the City Council to repeal laws, even those approved by voters, with support from a supermajority, or two-thirds of the 13-member council.

Two council members have voiced opposition to repealing the measure — Charlie Brown and Jeanne Faatz.

"The people of Denver voted for it," Faatz said. "I am not convinced that it is broken."

Initiative 100 passed in August 2008 by a 4,163-vote margin, but critics say that the text of the actual law was confusing and misleading.

The city attorney's office said Denver law enforcement officials couldn't enforce the immigration portion on the threat of certain litigation.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

you know this should not be about immagration. I believe that cars should be imponded and taken away from all people driving with suspended licenses. When you look at all the bad accidents that are hapening they involve people with suspended licenses. Get these killers of the road and the way to do that, is to impound thier cars. Save lives......