DOJ: Bernalillo County must hand over immigration data
January 24, 2018 10:18 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The Department of Justice has threatened to strip federal money if Bernalillo County refuses to comply with immigration law, but some county leaders say they won't back down.
Bernalillo County Commission Chairman Steven Michael Quezada stood openly defiant after an ominous letter from the DOJ demanded the county prove its compliance with federal immigration law. Failure to do so, according to the letter, could result in loss of federal grants.
The county was one of several government agencies to get a letter from the Justice Department, which even threatened subpoenas to those who do not provide information regarding the immigration status of people held in custody.
"I'm going to stand my ground. … I’m protecting children, good families and good people," Quezada told the KOB on Wednesday. "We’ll just have to figure it out. If we have to relook at the budget and look at how we’re going to make it work, we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it."
On the same day as those letters were sent, one of Albuquerque's busiest downtown intersections became a staging ground for demonstrators defiant in the face of heightened federal immigration enforcement.
At Central and Broadway, organizer Marian Mendez-Cera said the support from lawmakers is important and expected.
"If they're representing a large group of people, they should know who they represent and uphold the values and principles the people they represent hold," she said.
Attorney David Reyes said his teenage client facing a first-offense DWI charge in Metro Court was arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents at the courthouse.
My client was 19 years old. He was a baby. He has no prior criminal history," Reyes said.
Fabiola Bawden works with Albuquerque's Centro de Iguladad y Derechos, an immigration and labor rights organization. She said the community rejects federal immigration enforcement in Albuquerque.
"We're not going to accept the attacks on our city, our family and our communities, so I'm really proud to be a New Mexican right now," she said.
Updated: January 24, 2018 10:18 PM
Created: January 24, 2018 12:53 PM
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