Immigration battle heats up in Albuquerque, Santa Fe

Joy Wang
February 23, 2017 06:11 PM

Two of New Mexico's largest cities have drawn their lines in the sand in the battle over whether to enforce federal immigration laws.


City leaders in both Santa Fe and Albuquerque moved forward on policies Wednesday evening. The Albuquerque City Council passed a memorial reaffirming the city's position while Santa Fe passed a resolution that omits the word "sanctuary" from its policy.

Civil rights organizations say what happened in Santa Fe was a step moving forward to make sure immigrant families feel safe.

"It sends a message that no matter where you are from [and] no matter the immigrations status, that you are welcome in Santa Fe [and] that you are part of Santa Fe community," said Emmanuelle Leal, an official with the group Somos un Pueblo Unido. "And that Santa Fe will be there for you because immigrant and everyone in our city contribute and are part of our community deeply."

Leal said the resolution passed by the Santa Fe City Council includes multiple policies that protect confidential information, including immigrant status.

"The general feeling after the vote was just joy and pride that Santa Fe once again will be a leader in the national movement to defend immigrant families," he said.

That same feeling also felt in Albuquerque, where the city council passed its own version. Albuquerque passed a resolution making it an immigrant friendly city in 2000 but reaffirmed that policy on Wednesday.

Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry has said the city is not a sanctuary for criminal activity. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials can check immigration status if someone is arrested.

"[The memorial] identifies that you know no one will be discriminated against their race, religion, creed, color, or otherwise sexual orientation and that policies within the police department as it relates to immigrant status check will not be part of our standard operating procedures," Albuquerque Chief of Staff Gilbert Montano said.


Joy Wang

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