April 24, 2018

ABQ mayor signs immigrant friendly ordinance

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Andy Lyman

Albuquerque City Hall

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller signed legislation on Tuesday that prevents federal immigration officers from using city facilities to detain or question people about their immigration status. The resolution, sponsored by city councilors Pat Davis and Klarissa Peña, also prevents city officials from investigating a person’s immigration status.

In a statement, Keller announced  the legislation will bring city residents together and promote trust in local law enforcement officers.

“Everyone in our city should be able to report crime or take their kids to the neighborhood park or library without fear of having their family torn apart,” Keller said.

The new city ordinance comes months after the Donald Trump administration and Attorney General Jeff Sessions threatened to withhold federal money from “sanctuary cities,” although there is no official legal definition for the term.

The federal government also threatened money for Bernalillo County.

Former Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry announced a few months after he first took office that city officials would allow federal immigration officers into city facilities to check the immigration status of detainees. Last year, Sessions issued a letter to then-police chief Gorden Eden threatening to withhold federal funding. Berry denied that Albuquerque was a “sanctuary city” and said that while city officials provided federal agents access to the Albuquerque Prisoner Transport Center, police did not have the money or resources to themselves investigate immigration statuses.

A spokesman for the Albuquerque Police Department said officers were already answering calls and patrolling the city without checking immigration statuses.

Pat Davis is the former executive director of ProgressNow New Mexico, which helps find funding for NM Political Report. No one at ProgressNow New Mexico currently or in the past has had any editorial input at NM Political Report, including on story selection.