Tonight (Monday, April 16), Albuquerque city councilors are expected to vote on whether or not to reaffirm that the state’s largest city will remain an “Immigrant Friendly City.” Despite the verbose and hateful rhetoric from the Trump administration threatening cities and states with the moral aptitude to
Last week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions brought his anti-immigrant, white supremacist views to Las Cruces where he spoke to a conference of sheriffs from counties in the borderland regions of the Southwest.
Oh, and then there were the disruptors.
Five folks from the community made their way into the hotel where Sessions was speaking and after being told they could not listen to what Sessions had to say, huddled up closely, locked arms, and began chanting: NO JUSTICE! NO PEACE! NO RACIST A.G.!
ProgressNow New Mexico was on hand and captured the whole escalation LIVE!
Sessions formally declined to meet with local elected officials who proposed a meeting with him after learning he was coming to the area. While some folks like State Representatives Bill McCamely and Nathan Small joined protestors outside on the sidewalk, there were some others who went inside and listened to Sessions speak. To those folks, the disruptors formulated this letter that was published in the Las Cruces Sun-News this weekend.
We think it’s important the whole state see this:
OPEN LETTER TO LOCAL ELECTED OFFICIALS AT A.G. JEFF SESSIONS’ SPEECH
On Wednesday, April 11th, more than 150 Las Cruces residents gathered outside the Ramada Inn to proudly and loudly stand against U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who spoke at the Southwest Border Sheriff’s Association, hosted by Doña Ana County Sheriff Kiki Vigil. Members of the public were not invited inside. Neither were we, the five people who went in anyway.
When we heard the motorcade sirens, we made our move towards the conference room where Sessions would speak. We were stopped by a wall of sheriff’s deputies, who informed us that we were not allowed in.
That’s when we circled up, linked arms, and raised our voices for everyone to hear: No justice, no peace! No racist A.G.!
Normally, a local visit by a federal cabinet member would be exciting news, regardless of politics — but there is nothing normal about this administration’s full-scale assault on our community. The Trump administration has ramped up its heavy-handed efforts to remove as many of our undocumented neighbors as possible.
- Following ICE raids in February 2017, Las Cruces public schools attendance sharply dropped for two days, as thousands of fearful families hunkered down.
- ICE has begun deporting immigrants who make routine check-ins, raiding businesses and homes, and indiscriminately detaining people of color.
- DHS broke ground this week near the Santa Teresa port of entry, squandering taxpayers’ money on 20 new miles of ecologically destructive 18-foot steel wall that will threaten endangered wildlife.
- The DOJ issued a memo April 6th directing U.S. Attorneys not only to prosecute every case of border crossings, but also to pursue harsher sentences.
- In his latest tantrum, President Trump will deploy the National Guard to our borderlands.
Let’s be clear: these policies are racist and target communities of color in a broader effort to preserve whiteness in America. That’s why we had to disrupt the speech by the A.G., who has a long history of racist remarks and actions while in public office.
The residents of Doña Ana County have made it clear that we believe in a safe community for all. When local law enforcement cooperates with ICE and CBP, they become complicit in the mass deportation machine that targets our neighbors.
Sheriff Vigil has said that his department does not enforce immigration laws, but actions speak louder than words. When Vigil invited the AG to discuss cooperation with local sheriffs, he, in effect, endorsed the hateful, false picture of our community being repeated by this administration.
Sheriff Vigil wasn’t the only local official to witness Sessions’ remarks. Several elected representatives were in attendance, including: Senator Joseph Cervantes, Senator Mary Kay Papen, City Councilor Greg Smith, District Attorney Mark D’Antonio, and County Commissioners Isabella Solis, Ramon Gonzalez, and Benjamin Rawson.
Since the general public was not allowed to listen, we want to hear from those who were:
- Why did you choose to attend and what did you learn?
- Do you agree with Trump and Sessions that our border community is a war zone in crisis? And that we need walls and troops in our home?
- Or do you stand with the majority of our community, who are tirelessly working hard to make the borderlands welcoming and safe for all?
The five of us were forcibly removed from the premises, but the voices of our community can never be silenced. We promise enduring, massive resistance to policies and narratives that are not aligned with our values of inclusivity, respect, and safety.
We call for public statements from all elected and public officials who were present for A.G. Sessions’ remarks by Friday, April 20, 2018.
As we approach primary voting in New Mexico, it is important to remember who we elect matters! New Mexico has some really amazing elected officials and candidates who are standing up to the bullying of the Trump agenda at every level. Progress demands action and we must continue to hold those in power accountable for how they represent us at every turn.