ProgressNow NM Statement on ABQ City Council Proposed Amendment Directing APD To Work With ICE

ProgressNow NM Statement on ABQ City Council Proposed Amendment Directing APD To Work With ICE

Albuquerque has a long tradition of immigrant-friendly policies that protect the constitutional rights, due process, and dignity of all residents while also promoting public safety. 

Last night, City Councilors Brook Bassan and Renee Grout introduced an amendment that would change those policies. 

The amendment would undermine current policies by directing the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) to contact and collaborate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in cases where there are charges of a felony involving violence, human trafficking, or trafficking of controlled substances. It would also grant APD the power to decide how to operate the program with no oversight.

This change encourages local law enforcement to engage in harassment, racial profiling, and pretextual arrests e.g. “driving while Latino/Hispanic or Black” or for that matter, Native/Indigenous or any other BIPOC community member. How do police know who is an immigrant and who is a native born citizen without racial profiling? 

Let’s be blunt: when everyday people express cynicism about elected officials being political opportunists, this is the behavior they are talking about. 

Our current policies do not stop local law enforcement from doing their job or holding anyone accountable once convicted of a crime. Nor do they limit or prevent law enforcement from arresting a person who has been charged with a crime, investigating that crime, and for that person to be held fully accountable for that crime within the criminal justice system, regardless of immigration status.

Additionally, we already know immigrants are significantly less likely to commit crimes than US-born residents and there is no correlation between deportation rates and crime rates. Any attempt to conflate the issues are based on xenophobic tropes, will lead to flawed public policy and have a chilling impact on public safety, and are a distraction from addressing the root causes of crime.

Advancing false narratives about immigrants and crime has dangerous side effects including creating a platform for hate groups to demonize the immigrant community and spread misinformation – ultimately putting all immigrants and the broader community at risk.

Residents of our city and the city council should reject this amendment. It is not needed, leans into political opportunism and xenophobia, and doesn’t address our underlying challenges as a community. 

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