Sanctuary City: A Label With No Legal Definition

by Hannah Garcia
There is a black line on Saul Mejia’s driver’s license that seems to him symbolic of his separation from the rest of Colorado’s residents.
In reverse white text, a caveat that only appears on a specific set of state-issued IDs reads: “Not valid for federal identification, voting, or public interest purposes.”
“If I pull out my ID, people ask, ‘What’s that black line?’” he said. “It makes me feel separated, like I’m not the same as everyone else.”
Mejia, a 25-year-old college student in Denver, was able to get a driver’s license despite his status as an undocumented immigrant because of a state law allowing him to do so. Passed in 2013, it’s the kind of law that has earned Colorado and many of its cities the reputation of being a “sanctuary jurisdiction,” a political term levied as both condemnation and praise in describing places that have immigrant-friendly laws that essentially shelter them from deportation.