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Keller signs bill reaffirming ABQ’s ‘immigrant friendly’ status

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — With advocates looking on, Mayor Tim Keller signs a resolution reaffirming Albuquerque’s “immigrant friendly” status during a ceremony in the Mayor’s Office at the City-County Building on Tuesday. (Steve Knight/Albuquerque Journal)

With advocates looking on, Mayor Tim Keller on Tuesday signed a resolution reaffirming Albuquerque’s “immigrant friendly” status.

Albuquerque City Council members approved the resolution sponsored by Councilors Pat Davis and Klarissa Peña by a 6-3 vote on April 16.

The resolution reiterates the city’s policies that prevent federal immigration officials from entering city-operated areas, restricts city employees from collecting immigration status information and prohibits local tax dollars from being spent on federal immigration law enforcement.

“It codifies and makes clear this notion that we’re immigrant friendly, and we as a city are doing what we need to do as a city, as opposed to what other cities are talking about or trying to do,” Keller said during the signing ceremony. “For us, we’ve had very thoughtful research and work into this piece of legislation.”

The resolution also states that Albuquerque is a “safe place for immigrants from all countries, as well as for war refugees, people of color, Muslims, Jews, LGBTQ people and people with disabilities.”

The City Council in 2000 first passed a immigrant-friendly resolution, which established policy for the city to treat all persons with respect and dignity regardless of their immigration status, ensured that immigrants who live in the city limits have access to municipal services and programs and instructed the Albuquerque Police Department not to enforce federal immigration laws.

Last year, councilors approved a memorial that commits to continuing the policies and statements established under the 2000 resolution. That memorial did not require approval by Mayor Richard Berry as do ordinances or resolutions.

Under Berry’s administration, immigration agents were afforded a small space within the Prisoner Transport Center to check the immigration status of arrestees.

Residents in opposition to the resolution told council members during the meeting earlier this month that the issue is not of racism. Opponents said the resolution would place the city’s safety at risk and shield criminals from law enforcement.

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