Albuquerque and New Mexico haven’t been found on lists of communities targeted in the latest round of immigration raids planned by the Trump administration, according to advocates and community leaders.
But there has been an uptick in Immigration and Customs Enforcement activity through the local court systems, they said during a news conference Monday protesting the administration’s immigration policies.
Community organizer Hilaria Martinez said her husband has been among those targeted, saying he was picked up by ICE agents when he went to his place of employment with his probation officer following a criminal charge that didn’t require jail time.
“My husband was detained for 55 days in a detention center in Otero County,” she said. “He described horrible conditions, including extreme cold and a small blanket, little privacy … and a refusal to respond to his medical needs, even after he requested to see a doctor.”
Martinez – who describes herself as a mom and small-business owner who volunteered for years with Albuquerque Public Schools – said her family isn’t alone in being targeted, both here and nationwide.
Under the Trump administration, “many families who have lived here for many years are increasingly being targeted by ICE,” she said.
“We hear there’s been a presence of ICE in metro court,” said Fabiola Landeros, “We’re fighting against this.”
Martha Laura Garcia, an attorney at the New Mexico Immigrant Law Center, said her organization has witnessed “ICE officers target community members with minor or no criminal entry at all, using the criminal justice system as a dragnet, which has undermined all of our rights to a fair day in court.
“We have witnessed how every corner of the immigration system, even those who qualify for protections because they are victims of crime and human trafficking, is being used to funnel people into the deportation process. Enough is enough. It is apparent that the federal government doesn’t have the accountability or the interest in providing a safe and meaning process for asylum-seekers or immigrants to seek recourse.”
She said her organization was aware of a Trump administration policy announced Monday that would make asylum-seekers who pass through another country first ineligible for asylum at the U.S. southern border. The rule, expected to go into effect today, also applies to children who have crossed the border alone.
“Right now, we are on standby, seeing how they are going to be implemented to see how we can respond to provide services to the people who are coming from Central America who are asylum-seekers,” Garcia said, saying she believed the policy actually couldn’t be implemented for months.
Members of City of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County government were also at the news conference. They emphasized that local government resources would not be used to aid federal immigration enforcement.
“Trump’s targeting and criminalization of workers and families in an effort to stoke fear is misguided, immoral and runs contrary to the values we aspire to as a nation,” Albuquerque City Councilor Isaac Benton said. “Our city’s immigration policies reflect that fact. And as a community, we want to be on the side of history that stands for working families together, and recognize the humanity and contributions of all Albuquerque residents. Our policies are firm. We will use no local resources to fuel Trump’s deportation machine.”