PRESS RELEASES

SEPTEMBER 9, 2o18

CHBA Comments on Proposed Addition of Citizenship Question on 2020 Census

The CHBA submitted comments opposing the Census Bureau’s proposal to include a citizenship question on the 2020 Census for the first time in nearly 70 years. The CHBA contests that not only is this proposal unprecedented, but it could negatively affect the accuracy of the census results by discouraging participation from both undocumented immigrants as well as households shared by undocumented family members. Many federally-funded programs, including healthcare, education, child care, and infrastructure, tie allocations to Colorado based on the results of the census. A decrease in census participation would deprive Colorado residents of access to crucial funding. It would also result in a loss of fair representation in Congress of Colorado under the Voting Rights Act.

New CHBA Public Policy Committee Chair Carlos Romo drafted the letter on behalf of the CHBA. “The Census Bureau should deploy resources to increase census participation rates, not jeopardize the accuracy of the count with untested questions that experts say will lead to a population undercount,” said Carlos.

A copy of the letter submitted to the Census Bureau on behalf of CHBA can be found here. For additional information, or to participate in CHBA’s Public Policy Committee efforts, contact Carlos Romo at Lewis Bess Williams & Weese, 303-861-2828 or CRomo@lewisbess.com.


SEPTEMBER 3, 2o18

CHBA Past President Dolores Atencio To Receive the 2018 Primera Abogada Award

Congratulations to Dolores Atencio on being selected to receive the HNBA’s 2018 Primera Abogada Award!

The Primera Abogada Award was established to honor the legacy left by the earliest Latina lawyers, first documented in 1993 during the first Latina lawyer luncheon held at the HNBA’s San Francisco Annual Convention. That year, the HNBA premiered Las Primeras, a visual history of 21 of the first Latinas licensed in the United States. With the creation of the Latina Commission in 2008, an annual award was established to continue the tradition of recognizing and honoring trailblazing Latina lawyers, affectionately known as Primeras, for their unique and lifetime contributions to the legal profession. This award is given annually to Latina lawyer trailblazers who, licensed for 30 years or more, have achieved great distinction by opening up opportunities historically closed to Latina attorneys.

In February 2015, Dolores became the first Visiting Scholar for the University of Denver Latino Center for Community Engagement & Scholarship, to complete her project on the country’s earliest Latina lawyers licensed in the United States. From 2013-2014, she was the Scholar in Residence for DU's Colorado Women's College honors Community Based Research Project.  Prior to entering academia, Dolores practiced law for 32 years, having obtained her law degree from DU's Sturm College of Law and B.A. from Colorado College. 

Dolores is a former Commissioner of the Denver Women's Commission (DWC).  As DWC Chair, she initiated and guided to completion, Windows into Denver Women and Girls, released March 2014.  She was also president of the CHBA and the HNBA and she is a lifetime member of the HNBA's Latina Commission.  As the first Co-Chair of the Latina Commission, she oversaw the completion of the first two national studies on Latina lawyers, Few and Far Between: The Status of Latinas in the Legal Profession (2009) and La Voz de la Abogada Latina (Voice of the Latina Lawyer):  Challenges & Rewards in Serving the Public Interest (2010). 

Congratulations, Dolores!


June 26, 2o18

THE COLORADO HISPANIC BAR ASSOCIATION
IS APPALLED BY PRESIDENT TRUMP’S RESPONSE TO THE FAMILY SEPARATION CRISIS THAT HIS ADMINISTRATION CREATED

On April 6, 2018, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memorandum titled “Zero-Tolerance for Offenses under 8 U.S.C. §1325(a)” requiring federal prosecutions along the southwest border of the U.S.  In his memorandum, the Attorney General asserts that past prosecution initiatives along the border resulted in decreased illegal activities (i.e. illegal entries) and, therefore, to deter future immigrants from entering the U.S. illegally, he mandated prosecution of these misdemeanor offenses under 8 U.S.C. § 1325(a).  Prior to April 6, 2018, Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officers and Federal Prosecutors had discretion to initiate criminal proceedings against individuals entering the U.S. without permission and to effectively manage prosecutorial resources.  Many immigration advocates view AG Sessions’ action as a direct attack on asylum seekers and unaccompanied children who have been fleeing cartel violence in Mexico, gang violence in Central America, as well as domestic violence.  These asylum-seekers have chosen to come to the U.S. to protect their families from senseless and vicious harm.

In the last few weeks, approximately 3,000 children have been separated from their parents as a result of the “Zero-Tolerance Memo.”  News reports last week indicated that CBP was running out of space to place children separated from their families and was contemplating housing them on military bases.  In response to negative public opinion, President Trump said he would take action to end family separation.  However, on Wednesday, June 20, 2018, his response was not the humanitarian approach the public expected, but rather to incarcerate children with their parents in federal custody.     

The CHBA is appalled by the callous response of President Trump.  The Executive Order purports to spare families from the trauma of separation, but now aims to inflict the trauma of detention, as it calls for an expansion of jailing children with their families.  The families fleeing to the U.S. are seeking our protection. Detaining families who pose no flight risk or danger to our community, is simply unacceptable.

President Trump created this family separation crisis by implementing the "Zero Tolerance" policy requiring the prosecution for illegal entry of every single person apprehended between ports of entry. He could end the current crisis by stopping the “Zero Tolerance” policy, returning discretion to CBP officers and federal prosecutors (to focus on felony prosecutions for illegal re-entry cases), and reinstituting the successful alternatives to detention that he eliminated.

Family detention is harmful to children and their families, inflicts mental health trauma, subjects people to inadequate medical care, and prevents them from accessing legal counsel. The CHBA denounces President Trump’s creation of a detention-camp-system where families will be housed in detention facilities in remote locations that lack adequate access to resources such as attorneys, while at the same time fast-tracking their immigration proceedings.  The CHBA is further appalled by the Trump Administration’s use of this humanitarian crisis as a means to amend the Flores Settlement so that children and families can be held without bond, indefinitely. The detention of families who pose no flight risk or danger and who merely seek protection in our country is an affront to international refugee law, to our own asylum law, and to the integrity of this nation.



FEBRUARY 12, 2o18

On January 5, 2018, the Colorado Court Administrator’s Office issued a memorandum entitled “Immigration/Residency Status,” which was provided to the Chief Judge in each Judicial District. The memorandum advises Probation Departments on how/what to communicate with ICE regarding an offender’s citizenship and immigration status. The memorandum instructs Probation Officers on what to write in a Pre-Sentence Investigation regarding recommendations to the Court for probation when an offender is not a U.S. citizen. Additionally, the memorandum instructs Probation Officers to issue warrants when an offender has been deported and, thus, cannot comply with probation. Probation Departments are applying this memorandum as a directive. 

CHBA opposes the language and practices mandated in the January 5, 2018, memorandum because it dictates that Probation Officers provide personal information about an offender— including places of employment and location of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings—to ICE, which directly leads to the offender’s detention by ICE prior to probation’s completion. On February 6, 2018, members of CHBA’s leadership met with Colorado’s Court Administrator and Colorado’s Director of Probation Services to express the CHBA’s concerns regarding this memorandum and the effects it has on our community. 

CHBA members have been reporting, since 2017, that their non-U.S. citizen clients in criminal proceedings are not only detained by ICE in courthouses1, but are also detained during stages of successful probation compliance, including: probation appointments, AA meetings, urinalysis appointments, and workplaces. Probation Departments’ unsolicited information sharing with ICE has resulted in ICE’s detention of probation-compliant individuals and thwarted their successful completion of probation. Because ICE detention and deportation renders probationers noncompliant with their probation conditions, warrants are issued. The active warrants prohibit the probationer’s lawful return to the U.S. 

Pursuant to  U.S.C. § 1373(a), “a Federal, State, or local government entity or official may not prohibit, or in any way restrict, any government entity or official from sending to, or receiving from, the Immigration and Naturalization Service information regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual.” 8 U.S.C. § 1373 only pertains to information regarding a person’s citizenship or immigration status. Federal law does not mandate that Probation Departments provide ICE with: names, dates of birth, addresses, place of employment, address of employment, dates of probation appointments, dates of AA meetings, court dates, etc. Federal law only mandates that when requested, a probation officer must provide to ICE the citizenship or immigration status of a named individual. 

CHBA strongly opposes the unsolicited information sharing with ICE, which the Colorado Court Administrator Office’s January 5, 2018, memorandum facilitates. CHBA has provided proposed language to the Colorado Court Administrator’s Office urging strict compliance with 8 U.S.C. § 1373, and amendment of the January 5, 2018 memorandum. 

Courts should retain their broad discretion in sentencing because that discretion serves to protect the public, punish and rehabilitate offenders, and deter future offenses. Sentencing determinations, however, should not be based on an individual’s race, national origin, or foreign citizenship. Individuals granted the benefit of probation should remain unhindered in their ability to successfully comply with probation’s terms. CHBA does not endorse the practices of unsolicited information sharing, sharing of information beyond what the law requires, or sentencing foreign citizens to incarceration as a means of avoiding non-compliance with probation. Those practices unnecessarily interfere with an individual’s ability to benefit from the rehabilitative and restorative aspects probation. 

Many Chief Judges have prohibited ICE officials from detaining individuals in courtrooms. ICE, however, continues to detain individuals outside courtrooms. 


January 23, 2018

The CHBA opposes the Administration’s termination of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haiti, Nicaragua, and El Salvador.  Of the 300,000 individuals who have been granted TPS nationwide, over 200,000 are from El Salvador alone.  El Salvador was designated for TPS in 2001 and during the last 16 years, these individuals have established homes, businesses, and families in this country. It is estimated that over 190,000 US citizen children are affected by the Administration’s decision to terminate TPS for El Salvador. According to recent UN data,  in 2015, El Salvador’s homicide rate was 108 per 100,000 people in 2015 — the world’s highest for a country not at war.

The CHBA supports efforts to rescind termination of TPS for El Salvador and all other affected countries. 

The CHBA urges individuals affected by termination of TPS, to seek counsel from an immigration attorney immediately. 

More information here.

Statistics obtained from:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-administration-to-end-provisional-residency-for-200000-salvadorans/2018/01/08/badfde90-f481-11e7-beb6-c8d48830c54d_story.html?utm_term=.22e29c7c52ab

november 17, 2017

CHBA's Position on Denver's Sanctuary City Status

The CHBA supports the City and County of Denver in its efforts to maintain human rights for all individuals working and residing in Denver, CO.  On November 15, 2017, the US Department of Justice issued a 1373 Compliance Letter to Denver Chief of Police, Robert White, indicating that Denver Municipal Code § 28-250 violates 8 USC § 1373 by allegedly prohibiting the use of city funds/resources to assist in civil immigration enforcement efforts.  This affects the city’s eligibility for funding under the Byrne JAG grant program, which is the leading source of federal justice funding to state and local jurisdictions.  For example, the program provides funding necessary to support law enforcement, prosecution, indigent defense, courts, crime prevention and education, corrections and community corrections, drug treatment and enforcement, crime victim and witness initiatives, and mental health programs. 

In actuality, Denver Municipal Code § 28-250 prohibits the city from requesting and disseminating information regarding immigration status to assist in civil immigration enforcement efforts, unless required by federal law.  Specifically, § 28-250(a)(2) states that the city shall not request information regarding an individual’s national origin, immigration or citizenship status, and (a)(4) prohibits the dissemination of information regarding the same, except to the extent required by federal law, including 8 USC § 1373.  However, § 28-250(b) and (c) do not prohibit city funds/resources from being used to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement authorities where there is a warrant issued by a federal judge/magistrate, or when called upon to assist in law enforcement actions where the primary purpose is to enforce city, state, or federal criminal laws.  

The CHBA stands with the City and County of Denver in its position that § 28-250 does not conflict with 8 USC § 1373.  Allowing the City and County of Denver to provide for the safety and welfare of its population is important to the CHBA.  The CHBA condemns the use of the Bryne JAG grant program as a means to force the City and County of Denver to comply with federal immigration enforcement efforts that are outside the scope of 8 USC § 1373. 

Please refer to the following PDFs for more information:

november 2, 2017

2017 CHBA Award Recipients Announced

Warmest Congratulations to this Year's Award Recipients!

Chris Miranda Outstanding Hispanic Lawyer: Cristal DeHererra

Presented to an outstanding Hispanic attorney in practice more than five years who has shown a continual commitment to the Hispanic community and the principles of the legal profession.
Ms. DeHerrera is Deputy City Attorney for the City and County of Denver. She was appointed in 2014 by Mayor Michael B. Hancock, and her responsibilities include overseeing the day-to-day operations of more than 200 attorneys and staff in one of the largest public law offices in the Western US. She also advises the city on a wide range of legal and policy issues.

Outstanding New Hispanic Lawyer: Martina Hinojosa

Presented to an outstanding Hispanic attorney, in practice for five years or less, who has demonstrated a strong commitment to the Hispanic community and the principles of the legal profession.
Ms. Hinojosa is a member of the Public Finance, Incentives, and Tax Credits Group at Butler Snow. Hinojosa earned her undergraduate degree from Rice University, master’s degree from Harvard University and Juris Doctor from the University of Colorado Law School.

Outstanding Corporate Commitment Award: Molson Coors

Presented to a company that has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to the Hispanic community and that promote diversity in corporate policies and activities.

Individual Community Service Award: Veronique Van Gheem

Presented to an individual committed to providing services benefiting the Hispanic community.
Ms. Van Gheem is Senior Assistant Legal Counsel for the State Court Administrator's Office of the Colorado Judicial Branch. Ms. Van Gheem leads the Spanish-speaking clinic portion of Project Safeguard which assists women who are survivors of domestic violence in obtaining divorces and/or allocation of parental responsibilities. Ms. Van Gheem also takes pro bono immigration cases for RMAIN, is also a Law School Yes We Can Mentor, an active participant in many local and state-wide legal clinics, and Chair of the CHBA's Pro Bono Committee.


Nonprofit Organization Community Service Award: Towards Justice

Presented to a nonprofit organization committed to providing services benefiting the Hispanic community.
Towards Justice empowers America’s chronically marginalized workforce to address systemic injustice, defend family financial stability, and ensure that work is the most effective strategy for economic success in our country.




september 27, 2017

The Honorable Roger Cisneros & Adelita Cisneros

The Colorado Hispanic Bar Association mourns the loss of Judge Roger Cisneros (ret.), and his wife Adelia Cisneros.  As a founding member of the CHBA and a member of the Colorado bar since 1957, Judge Cisneros was a pillar of Colorado’s Latino/a legal community.  He was elected to the state Senate in 1964, and served twelve years in the legislature.  In 1977, he was appointed to the state district court bench, and held that position until retiring in 1986.  Judge Cisneros was a champion for Latino/as in education and in law.  Not only was he a founding member of the CHBA, he also worked to found the Latin American Education Fund (LAEF), the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), and the Latin American Research and Services Agency (LARASA)—now known as the Colorado Latino Leadership Advocacy and Research Organization (CLLARO).  Judge Cisneros’s commitment to our community is unmatched.

Adelia Cisneros was a powerhouse in her own right.  A teacher with a master’s degree in Education, Adelia was an advocate for Head Start and bilingual education in Denver Public Schools.  She taught for DPS for seventeen years, and served as President of the Parent Teacher Association at three of the district’s schools.  She also worked with her husband to found LAEF.  In addition to education, Adelia was passionate about healthcare reform and getting out the minority vote.  She was heavily involved in the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP).

Our deepest condolences go out to the Cisneros children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, as well as all family members, and all members of our community affected by this loss.  A funeral service will be held at the University of Denver, Ritchie Center, located at 2240 Buchtel Boulevard in Denver, on Saturday, September 30, 2017, from 2:00-3:30 p.m.  Burial will take place at Fort Logan National Cemetery, located at 3698 South Sheridan Boulevard in Denver, on Monday, October 2, 2017, from 12:15-12:45 p.m.


SEPTEMBER  6, 2017

The CHBA Denounces the Trump Administration’s Decision to End the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program


The Trump Administration’s decision to reverse the executive order that created DACA leaves hundreds of thousands of bright, young individuals in a shroud of uncertainty. We believe that this decision is inconsistent with the values of the United States. 

Since the Trump Administration announced it would decide on the fate of DACA, students and organizations, both in Colorado and across the country, have rallied, marched, and mobilized elected officials to urge the Administration to continue DACA, which aims to protect young, undocumented immigrants from deportation and allow them to work in and contribute to this country. Specifically, the Administration announced that the Government will no longer accept new applications under DACA, and for those already participating in DACA, renewals will only be granted for those due within six months.

President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions also tied the fate of the program and its recipients to border security and immigration reform by calling for Congressional action in a comprehensive immigration bill that would address the Administration’s campaign promises, including a wall along the southern border of the United States. The CHBA urgently calls upon Congress to pass a stand-alone bill to address the needs of DREAMers.

There are roughly 800,000 DACA recipients nationally, with an estimated 17,258 in Colorado. DACA recipients contribute to communities across our state as students, employees, and business owners. Over 15,000 DACA recipients work in our state, and a recent study estimates that Colorado could lose $850,000,000 in GDP annually from the loss of DACA workers in Colorado’s economy.

Aside from the economic impact, DACA recipients are human beings, many of whom know no other country than the United States. The Administration’s decision does not stem from fairness or humanitarian motives, but instead from hatred, fear, and ignorance.

We believe that the decision to end DACA and tie its future to the Trump Administration’s push for a border wall not only puts DREAMers’ lives at risk; it is also an attack on the immigrant community at large, including the Latino/a community. Further, it is at odds with popular opinion, as polls show that the majority of Americans support DACA and humane immigration reform. Finally, the decision to end DACA is even more troubling in light of President Trump’s decision to pardon former Arizona Sherriff Joe Arpaio, who was convicted of contempt of federal court arising from racial discrimination in law enforcement.

The CHBA is deeply disappointed in the Trump Administration’s decision to end DACA, and rejects the Administration’s approach of tying legislation safeguarding DREAMers to immigration reform that will continue to target and harm immigrant communities, particularly Latinos/as.  We strongly encourage our members to call their Congressional representatives and urge support for a stand-alone DREAM Act.  

DREAMers of COLORADO, the CHBA is here for you. Do not hesitate to reach out to us for support and legal assistance. We will continue to fight for you, for us, and for our community.  


november 11, 2016

CHBA's Commitment to Improving the Hispanic Community

To our members, friends, colleagues, and family:

After a difficult and divisive election, many of us have received numerous calls and messages over the past few days expressing fear, despair, and uncertainty. 

This is not a time to succumb to these feelings; it is time to come together and act to protect our families and our community. The CHBA remains energized and committed to having our voices heard.  We promote religious tolerance, compassionate immigration policies, women's rights, acceptance and support for other countries and cultures different than our own, protection of our natural resources, care for the sick, and justice for all.  These are our common goals.

The CHBA will continue to demand fairness and equality from our elected officials, and require a dialogue rooted in honesty and integrity.

While this election's rhetoric does not provide our country with the comfort, inspiration, or hope we as a people deserve from our elected officials, it does make our commitments even more important, urgent, and compelling.

To that end, the CHBA will continue to work diligently to educate our community. The CHBA will continue to meet and mentor our Hispanic youth from grade school to law school and into their legal careers. The CHBA will continue to fight for the expansion of Hispanic attorneys, Hispanic judges and Hispanics serving on boards and commissions, both locally and nationally. We will continue to strengthen our public service programs, such as our pro bono representation and Spanish-speaking lawyer services. The CHBA will continue to take leadership roles on local boards, committees, and nonprofits. The CHBA will actively pursue leadership opportunities, in Colorado and beyond. Finally, we will, as always, promote compassionate, fair, and comprehensive immigration reform.

The CHBA is here to serve our Latino/a community, and we will do so with the unrelenting dedication of our members and Board.  We stand with you.

Arnulfo D Hernández
2016 President of the CHBA

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