Senators: ICE using misleading tactics on state immigrant groups - Albuquerque Journal

Senators: ICE using misleading tactics on state immigrant groups

New Mexico’s U.S. senators Tom Udall, left, and Martin Heinrich.

U.S. Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich claim U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is using misleading tactics and campaigns against immigrant communities in the state.

The two Democrats sent a letter to Acting ICE Director Matthew Albence on Thursday voicing their concerns.

“We have received troubling reports from New Mexican residents that ICE officers are gaining access into homes under false pretenses by using fear and lies,” the senators wrote. “We have also heard disturbing accounts of ICE officers demanding that residents open their doors and/or allow ICE to search their home based on ICE’s administrative, not judicial warrants.”

A spokesman from Heinrich’s office said the reports were primarily from local immigrant advocacy groups, including El Centro de Igualdad y Derechos, which held a rally at its office Thursday denouncing the tactics it claimed ICE was using.

The senators said ICE officers are identifying themselves as police and wearing deceptive uniforms to appear as local police when they knock on doors, a behavior they said discourages migrants from calling for help when they are victims of a crime.

“When federal immigration officials misidentify as police, the relationship between the immigrant community and local law enforcement agencies is damaged,” the senators wrote.

Heinrich and Udall said they received reports that ICE is expanding enforcement activities in Albuquerque, targeting immigrant workers and families at home, at work, and after dropping their children off at school, a practice they said ran contrary to established department policy on enforcement at or near certain community locations.

“This is causing residents to no longer feel safe in their own neighborhoods,” they said.

They encouraged Albence to have ICE officials meet with local residents and their offices to discuss a path forward.

“Instead of targeting families, ICE should prioritize its enforcement efforts on actual risks to public safety and national security. We believe a productive discussion between ICE, the New Mexico delegation, and key stakeholders is critical in gaining transparency and restoring trust back into our communities,” the senators wrote.

Efforts to reach local ICE officials were unsuccessful. But in a previous inquiry by the Journal, Albence said in jurisdictions where ICE is not allowed to assume custody of illegal immigrants from jails, “our officers are forced to make at-large arrests of criminal aliens who have been released into communities.”


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

Nativo Sponsored Content

Ad Tango

taboola desktop

MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS

1
Affidavit: Gun not properly checked before fatal movie set ...
ABQnews Seeker
Investigators believe real bullet fired from ... Investigators believe real bullet fired from revolver, lead projectile recovered from director's shoulder
2
Ronchetti announces gubernatorial campaign
ABQnews Seeker
Mark Ronchetti has joined a crowded ... Mark Ronchetti has joined a crowded field of Republican candidates seeking the party's 2022 nomination for governor, providing a new jolt to what was ...
3
Deathly detours and a 'box of bones,' and you're ...
ABQnews Seeker
'Big kid at heart' Jared Trujillo ... 'Big kid at heart' Jared Trujillo asks spectators to donate non-perishable items that he gives to The Storehouse food pantry
4
Proton therapy to fight cancer in ABQ
ABQnews Seeker
Center to build $43M facility bringing ... Center to build $43M facility bringing technology to New Mexico for the first time
5
ABQ mom who lost son finds solace in Gun ...
ABQnews Seeker
Man, 22, one of nearly 100 ... Man, 22, one of nearly 100 people killed in city this year
6
State reports 687 new cases, 11 deaths
ABQnews Seeker
New Mexico virus toll rises to ... New Mexico virus toll rises to 5,012
7
NM tribal leaders calling for cooperation on climate
ABQnews Seeker
Native areas are feeling the effects ... Native areas are feeling the effects
8
US funds weighed for disabilities program
ABQnews Seeker
New Mexico has 13-year waiting list ... New Mexico has 13-year waiting list for services
9
FBI: Suspect decapitated man, torched head
ABQnews Seeker
Remains found on Navajo Nation Remains found on Navajo Nation