Ensuring 'We the People' Means All of Us
As we all do our best to protect the health and well-being of family and friends in this unsettling time, the need for a government response guided by public health experts has become more urgent than ever. In this and all times of crisis, it is critical that “We The People” truly means all of us.
The ACLU of New Mexico is working across the state to ensure the burdens of the outbreak and the government’s actions do not unfairly fall on our most vulnerable communities. We are also monitoring the government’s responses to ensure they are rooted in science and public health needs, not stigma or bias, and no more intrusive on civil liberties than absolutely necessary.
ACLU-NM Commends San Juan County for Their Response Detailing Measures Taken to Protect People in Custody
March 26, 2020
On March 16, the ACLU of New Mexico received a written response from San Juan County to our March 10 letter urging the New Mexico Association of Counties and jail administrators to immediately develop evidence-based proactive plans for the prevention and management of COVID-19. To date, San Juan County is the only county to respond directly to our letter. We commend the county for their response, detailing the many measures they have taken to protect people in custody, and call on remaining county and state facilities to respond to us with their plans for protecting incarcerated people from COVID-19.
ACLU-NM Calls on Elected Officials to Protect Access to Reproductive Care
March 23, 2020
Today, the ACLU of New Mexico sent letters to Governor Michelle Lujan-Grisham, Mayors Tim Keller, Alan Webber, and Ken Miyagishima, and New Mexico's congressional delegation, urging them to ensure people in New Mexico will be able to access reproductive healthcare as the COVID-19 public health crisis continues to unfold and as elected officials continue to enact emergency powers restricting individual movement and business operations. In the letter, the ACLU of New Mexico advises elected officials to consider abortion care; all forms of birth control; STI screening, testing, and treatment; vaginal health and treatment; prenatal, delivery, and postnatal care as essential reproductive services that must remain accessible at all times. See the letters below.
ACLU-NM Commends Sandoval County Attorney's Petition to Reduce Incarceration, Protect Vulnerable People from COVID-19
March 20, 2020
Yesterday, Sandoval County attorney Robin S. Hammer asked a judge to order its detention center to release all people who are incarcerated for nonviolent and misdemeanor offenses and to decline to book anyone else on those charges.
The following statement can be attributed to Lalita Moskowitz, ACLU of New Mexico staff attorney and Equal Justice Works fellow:
“We are deeply concerned about the people incarcerated in jails and prisons across our state during the COVID-19 pandemic. Public health experts recognize that incarcerated people, who live in close proximity and are often denied adequate hygiene products, are especially vulnerable to infection.”
“We commend Sandoval County attorney Robin S. Hammer for acknowledging that the best possible way to combat the spread of the virus is to reduce the number of people in custody and for taking measures to protect them."
ACLU-NM Statement on Albuquerque City Council's Decision to Broaden the Mayor's Power During Public Health Emergencies
March 17, 2020
Yesterday, the Albuquerque City Council voted to pass legislation broadening the mayor’s powers during a public health emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We recognize the very real fear and concern gripping our communities during this uncertain time and appreciate the efforts of elected officials to contain the spread of COVID-19. As we confront this pandemic, some measures, grounded in science and public health, must be taken to protect the health, safety, and civil liberties of us all. While the emergency powers legislation approved last night by the Albuquerque City Council is an understandable reaction to the mounting disease threat, we fear that the Council overreached," said Peter Simonson, executive director of the ACLU of New Mexico.
ACLU-NM Calls on State's Jails, Prisons, and Detention Centers to Proactively Prepare for COVID-19 Pandemic
March 16, 2020
People incarcerated in prisons, jails, and detention centers are highly vulnerable to outbreaks of contagious illnesses, as are the staff who work in them every day. These facilities must work with public health officials to develop plans to mitigate the risk of coronavirus, and provide soap, hand sanitizer, and cleaning supplies.
We have sent letters to the New Mexico Corrections Department; New Mexico Association of Counties; Governor Michelle Lujan-Grisham; immigration detention facilities in Otero, Torrance, and Cibola counties; the county managers of Otero, Torrance, and Cibola counties; and our New Mexico congressional representatives asking them to take immediate measures to protect people in government custody.