The issue was unavoidable, and Mayor Hickenlooper knew that he had to address it head on. Denver is not a "sanctuary city," he declared, citing the fact that police had made some 6000 referrals of arrestees to La Migra over a three year period, or roughly 2000 a year, which works out to about 7 per day. His opponents in the Governor's race Republican Dan Maes and third party candidate Tom Tancredo both beg to differ.
Of course, Denver is not an official "Sanctuary City." Such a designation would be contrary to Colorado State law regarding such declarations and would, if enforced, immensely negatively impact state monies earmarked for the city. Certainly, Denver under Hickenlooper has made no announcement that they are a sanctuary city, but reality is not always officially acknowledged these days. Is Denver, in fact, a de facto "santuary city."
Still those of us who occasionally listen to KHOW's Peter Boyles, about whom it can be said that regardless of your feelings on his views is very intelligent and well-read, know that the terms Denver and Sanctuary City are synonyms in his book. Examples of illegals who have committed heinous acts and whose citizenship was never questioned by authorities have been easy to find over the years, not to mention give Boyles about half the ratings and the audience he has acquired over the years.
El Centro de la Raza, which displays a plaque outside of it's headquarters a plaque thanking the Mayor and the City for it's help to the Center, is oftentimes characterized as a "hiring hall for illegals," but is that enough to give the City, de facto sanctuary status? Probably not.
However, if you work in a downtown Denver office building, as I have had occasion to do during that period, and have any interaction with a good number of the janitorial crews, you quickly come to realize that not only is English a distant second language to most of those working on these crews, it is almost never used when the crew members are speaking with one another. I'm not sure how much English a legal immigrant is expected to know or use, but I would suspect it is some, at least. What was amazing to me, however, was a good number of the workers drove considerably nicer cars than I owned. Likely the evening janitorial job is not their only source of income, or at least it would seem so.
The "alternative" weekly Westword carries a column entitled "Ask a Mexican," in which, the "Mexican," sometimes perhaps tongue in cheek, its hard to tell, talks about "reconquista," which is, of course, the Mexican "reconquest," of the Southwest, likely to be accomplished demographically rather than invasion from Mexico.
Despite Denver's large Hispanic population, however, Denver itself was never a part of a Spanish or Mexican territory. Denver was a part of the Louisiana Purchase from France. The Arkansas River, which goes through Pueblo among other cities, was once the border between French and Spanish territories, with the territories south of the Arkansas belonging to Spain and later Mexico, the Republic of Texas and finally the United States.