Earlier this month, while attempting to access the Denver Immigration Court located in the Byron G. Rogers Federal Building, Managing Partner David Kolko was denied entry to the public lobby of the federal building and the Denver Immigration Court when he declined to show photo identification to federal agents guarding the building. Mr. Kolko fully agreed to proceed with regular and necessary security screening, including the use of a metal detector and having all possessions screened with x-ray. Based upon his refusal to provide photo identification or to be detained by federal agents and undergo an unconstitutional criminal background check, he was denied entry into the lobby of building and was not permitted to attend a required immigration court hearing with his client.
The Federal Protective Service’s requirement that individuals entering the Denver Immigration Court present U.S. government issued photo identification or be subject to a criminal background check in order to gain entry to a U.S. Court is both coercive and an intimidation practice that violates basic civil liberties and the U.S. Constitution.
Those unable or unwilling to show photo identification issued by the U.S. government were subject to federal criminal background investigations and detained by federal authorities during the pendency of that investigation. One of our clients, who was required to appear in Immigration Court or face deportation and separation from his U.S. Citizen child, did not have identification issued by the United States government and was subjected to such detention and background investigation before he could be admitted into the Court building to attend his government scheduled immigration hearing.
Our client is not alone; many individuals required by the U.S. government to appear in Immigration Court do not possess any U.S. government issued photo identification. These individuals are faced with the choice of subjecting themselves to an unconstitutional criminal background check in order to gain entry to the U.S. Immigration Court, or refuse the criminal background check, be denied entry into the Immigration Court and be ordered deported from the United States for their failure to appear at a scheduled hearing.
In conjunction with the Colorado Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, Mr. Kolko filed suit in federal court seeking an injunction to stop these abusive and intimidating practices. Last week, the federal government agreed to cease this behavior and allow access to the building for all people, pending the outcome of the lawsuit.
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