Judge: Colorado sheriff cannot hold people for immigration

DENVER (AP) — A Colorado judge is barring a sheriff’s department from continuing to jail people suspected of being in the country illegally on behalf of federal authorities, saying that the practice violates their constitutional rights.

District Court Judge Eric Bentley ruled late Thursday that El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder has no authority to hold people once they have posted bond, completed a sentence or otherwise resolved their state case.

The Colorado American Civil Liberties Union filed the suit in February on behalf of two men and all future jail inmates, arguing that the sheriff’s agreement to house people on behalf of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement did not make the practice legal.

A spokeswoman said Friday that Elder plans to appeal the ruling.

A similar lawsuit is pending against another Colorado sheriff.

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