A key purpose of the statewide hotline is to better track immigration enforcement in New Mexico, said Gabriela Hernandez, director of the New Mexico Dream Team, a statewide immigrant advocacy group.
“Now more than ever, we’re standing up and we’re fighting back,” Hernandez said at a media event in Albuquerque to announce the service. “We’re here to stay, and we’re here to organize.”
The program is modeled on a nationwide hotline set up in 2015 by United We Dream, an immigrant advocacy organization. Calls to the state number are answered by New Mexico Dream Team members in Albuquerque.
People also can use the hotline to get a referral to an attorney for a friend or family member facing detention or deportation.
Ambar Pinto, of Alexandria, Va., the national hotline manager for United We Dream, said New Mexico is the first state to have a locally managed hotline.
United We Dream views it as a pilot program that could serve as a model for other states.
“All the information that we get and the data we collect will help us understand how enforcement is working” in New Mexico, said Pinto, who was in Albuquerque this week to help set up the hotline.
Local management is intended to build trust with the immigrant community and encourage more people to call the hotline, she said.
The local hotline will help state activists organize a “rapid response” to enforcement actions in New Mexico by agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, she said.
Those actions could include workplace raids, which are relatively uncommon in the U.S., or individual detentions made at a person’s home, Pinto said.
“In two months, I think we will have a better understanding of how it’s happening in New Mexico,” she said.