City Councilors Pat Davis and Klarissa Peña introduced a resolution Wednesday that would ban U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement from entering the properties without a warrant.
Under the previous mayoral administration, ICE agents had been afforded office space inside the Prisoner Transport Center and were allowed to check the immigration status of everyone arrested and detained by the Albuquerque Police Department at the center before they were transferred to the jail.
Another subsection of the resolution states that no city resources, including “moneys, equipment, personnel, or City facilities,” may be used to assist ICE agents. It clarifies a 2000 resolution prohibiting the use of city resources. That resolution, which is currently in place, did not include a definition of what it referred to as “municipal resources.”
The administration of former Mayor Richard Berry had contended that office space, like that being afforded to ICE agents, was not a city resource.
“We want to be sure no future administration attempts to exploit loopholes that unfairly target our immigrant populations,” Davis said.
The resolution also prohibits city agencies and employees from inquiring about or disclosing residents’ immigration status “except as required by law.”
Advocates hope the resolution, if passed, will help reduce anxiety the city’s immigrant community is enduring.
“The fear of deportation has increased because of the Trump administration,” said Claudia Medina of Enlace Comunitario, an organization that works to eliminate domestic violence in the immigrant community.
Medina said during a news conference with Davis and Peña that a recent study showed 78 percent of advocates reported that immigrant survivors of domestic violence were concerned about contacting police.
“Immigrant victims … are more fearful to go to the police and report a crime committed against them and are less likely to go to court because they are in fear of finding ICE in court,” she said. “This resolution is going to make a difference in the lives of many victims of domestic violence.”
Davis emphasized that immigrants have safe access to all city services, including the police department, and the resolution reaffirms that.
“It simply says that no matter who you are, no matter your status or your perceived status, if you want to access city services, elected officials or City Hall, you have the right to do that in Albuquerque without having to fear that if you get a library card or sign your kid up for after-school care that a federal ICE agent might knock on your door,” Davis said. “It means that if you have an encounter with the police, that’s an encounter between you and the city of Albuquerque, if you need help.”
Nancy Montaño, a policy analyst for Peña’s office, said the resolution will likely be voted on in March.