ALBUQUERQUE – The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico raised concerns today that Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s use of emergency powers could lead to overzealous policing and senseless incarceration.
The following can be attributed to ACLU of New Mexico Litigation Manager Lalita Moskowitz.
“The ACLU of New Mexico is heartbroken over the recent death of a child and shares the governor’s concern for the well-being of our community. However, we are equally concerned that her solution to the complicated problems of substance abuse, addiction, and gun violence is to pour more resources into law enforcement.
Historically, this kind of approach leads to the over policing of our communities, racial profiling, and increased misery in the lives of already marginalized people. Instead, the governor should be following evidence-based solutions such as meaningful diversion and violence intervention programs and addressing the root causes of violence. The order also raises legitimate and pressing concerns about New Mexicans' privacy.
We are closely monitoring the legal challenges to this executive order, recognizing that many people in our state are focused on the section related to firearms. However, we are deeply concerned about other parts of the order, including the governor’s decision to suspend a program that helps children avoid juvenile prison. We know that incarceration during childhood increases the likelihood that someone will end up in the adult criminal system. Ending a program that helps young people find a different path is counterproductive to public safety.
While we acknowledge the severity of the fentanyl crisis, we oppose any actions that risk further criminalizing our youth or individuals struggling with addiction.
ACLU-NM stands in support of initiatives that prioritize treatment and improve access to services to facilitate recovery. We know these approaches are far more effective than criminalization or incarceration.
Our organization remains committed to advocating for policies that safeguard the civil liberties and rights of all citizens, while simultaneously addressing public health crises through compassionate, evidence-based strategies."