Congregation Nahalat Shalom, a Jewish congregation in Albuquerque, the Islamic Center of New Mexico, and Muslims & Jews United, founded by both congregations, support passage of Albuquerque’s Council Bill R-18-7 to strengthen Albuquerque’s status as an immigrant friendly city, promote public safety, protect civil rights and defend the dignity of all residents.
We believe it is important for every person in Albuquerque, regardless of race, religion, gender, disability, national origin, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, citizenship or immigration status to fully access all city services and the justice system. This includes being able to contact city workers and police when seeking a city service, report a crime as a victim or witness, and appear in court for all civil, criminal or domestic relations matters without fearing arrest or detention by ICE agents.
In the past Albuquerque allowed Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) access to the city’s Prisoner Transport Center, where persons arrested but not convicted are taken before transport to the Metropolitan Detention Center; this ICE presence deters some victims from reporting crimes, particularly domestic violence, to police and unfairly subjects accused persons to deportation.
City facilitation of deportation of persons arrested but presumed innocent, accused defendants, family members and friends of defendants, victims and witnesses who seek city services, testify in court or petition for domestic violence restraining orders makes some community members afraid of cooperating with law enforcement and the court system. That compromises the safety of our entire city.
City complicity with ICE also affects U.S. citizens when someone who has been a witness to a crime or accident won’t come to court to testify for fear of ICE presence.
We support equal access for all persons in Albuquerque to city property and services, and believe that all of Albuquerque benefits from being an immigrant-friendly city; therefore we support passage of Council Bill R-18-7.