LAS CRUCES, NM—Today, the Doña Ana County Board of County Commissioners voted and passed a resolution establishing the county as a “Safe Community for All Residents.” The resolution joins Doña Ana County with countless communities across the nation, including major urban centers, which have passed similar resolutions stating that routine enforcement of federal immigration law is not the job of county employees.
“We applaud the Commissioners for recognizing that local efforts to enforce immigration law undermine public safety for all of us by making our neighbors fearful of county employees, including first responders,” stated Vicki Gaubeca, Director of the ACLU of New Mexico Regional Center for Border Rights (RCBR). “It’s also about fairness in our community, as local police too often resort to profiling to enforce immigration law, a practice that is ineffective, unconstitutional and un-American.”
In the last year, RCBR staff provided 79 know your rights presentations reaching over 1,500 residents throughout Doña Ana County and southern NM.
“We can’t have a situation where a victim of domestic violence is afraid to get help because they think the police might ask about their immigration status,” said Brian Erickson, Policy Advocate with the RCBR. “We spend a lot of time out in the community, and this really is a serious worry for a lot of people. This new policy makes us all safer by ensuring that no one is ever afraid to call the police when they or someone else is a victim of a crime.”
Under the resolution, county employees will be prohibited from using county resources or funds to inquire into the immigration status of an individual, condition services based on one’s status, or collaborate with federal officials to investigate immigration status unless otherwise required by federal or state statute, regulation or court decision.