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Immigrant Rights’ Organizations Oppose Passing of Federal Anti-Immigrant, Anti-Sanctuary Bills

Jun 29, 2017


  Commentary: ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -  Today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on two anti-immigrant bills that will fuel Trump’s deportation machine.  HR 3003: “No Sanctuary for Criminals Act” & HR 3004: “Kate's Law”, undercut local law enforcement’s ability to keep our communities safe, jeopardize national security & criminalizes immigrants and refugees nationwide.

The following is a summary of the impact both pieces of legislation would have on local law enforcement and immigration enforcement across the country:

No Sanctuary for Criminals Act would;

  • Strips law enforcement funding from state/localities; targeting over 600 cities, counties, and states.

  • The bill prohibits localities from declining to comply with ICE detainer requests.

  • Undermines local criminal prosecutions by allowing DHS to ignore validly issued state or local criminal warrants. It also allows federal authorities to refuse to transfer individuals into state or local custody if a state or locality is not in compliance with the new law and prohibits DHS from transferring the individual if he/she has a final administrative removal order.

  • Mandates the detention of new classes of immigrants with no chance for bond or parole and expands the government’s ability to indefinitely detain immigrants.

Kate's Law would;

  • Expands the government’s ability to prosecute illegal re-entry cases and heightens the penalties in these cases.

  • Does not include adequate protections for people who reenter the U.S. for humanitarian reasons or who seek protection at the border, putting asylum seekers and families at risk of deportation.

  • Gives prosecutors more power by making the re-entry law overly broad, at a time when more than half of all federal criminal prosecutions are for illegal entry and reentry.

  • Limits the ability of immigrants to challenge their removal.

Both bills discussed and voted on today are part of the racist and anti-immigrant legacy being built by Republicans in Congress and emboldened by the Trump administration. These bills turn immigrants, refugees, and all people of color into political scapegoats instead of providing solutions and the much needed reform to our immigration system in the U.S..

Marian Mendez-Cera, organizer with El CENTRO de Igualdad y Derechos reaffirms, “These bills undermine constitutional protections, public safety, and local authority and would grant an already out-of-control Trump administration unfettered authority to detain, criminalize, and deport our families.

“Instead of passing discredited enforcement-only legislation, Congress should move forward on enacting just immigration reform legislation that provides a pathway to citizenship and eliminates mass detention and deportation programs that undermine fundamental human rights.

“Our immigrant communities are aware of the chilling impact of targeting and persecuting hardworking Albuquerque families for deportation— plunging already vulnerable families into further poverty, separating children from their parents, and creating a heightened sense of fear and anxiety. In Albuquerque we have worked tirelessly to ensure that our city and county governments are not complicit in the enforcement of federal deportation programs, and we will continue to do so under this administration.”

Adriel D. Orozco, attorney at NM Immigrant Law Center stated, "These bills continue to dehumanize immigrants in our communities and continue to perpetuate this idea that migration is a criminal act and that immigrants, by the mere fact that they're immigrants, should be unduly punished for errors they've committed in the past--even for errors the criminal justice system has already addressed.

“Mandatory detention is inhumane and severely limits individuals' rights to seek relief to stay in the United States with their families because they are less likely to be able to obtain legal representation. The end result is that the due process rights of more immigrants and people of color will be violated. We also cannot allow the federal government to commandeer local governments and require localities to use their resources to further Trump’s harmful federal immigration policy. This is especially true for places like New Mexico where our resources are already limited.

“These bills do nothing to address immigration reform and only further harm our communities--in New Mexico and across the country. We urge all New Mexicans to stand up against these harmful bills and call their congressman to do the same."

Kay Bounkeua, Executive Director at New Mexico Asian Family Center also expressed, “As an agency that supports victims and survivors of domestic and sexual violence within the New Mexico Pan-Asian community, these bills will make it even more difficult for immigrant crime victims to come forward for help and will greatly damage the trust relationships so many of our communities and organizations are trying to build with our local law enforcement to support those living in violence.  

“The communities we work with are already afraid to both call law enforcement and participate within our court system for essential support such as filing an order of protection.  We have had cases of abusers and systems alike threatening our victims/survivors with deportation.  These bills only give another weapon of power to perpetrators of violence while pushing our families further into the shadows.  

“We denounce the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act as well as Kate’s Law and ask our policy makers and leaders to stand with us once again in support of all our immigrant families.”

 

The two pieces of legislation will now be be sent to the US Senate for consideration.

Listo NM is calling on all community members to organize in their hometowns and learn how to protect each other. The easiest way to plug in is by visiting our Facebook page and Twitter where you can be guided to our different resources for Know Your Rights Materials and Deportation Defense Resources.

You can follow Listo Nuevo Mexico on Twitter: @Listo_NM and Isaac De Luna: @IsaacJDeLuna1 for more on #immigration & #nmpol matters in #NM.

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Listo Nuevo Mexico, is an Albuquerque-based collaborative of nonprofit organizations– including El CENTRO de Igualdad y Derechos, NM Dream Team (NMDT), Encuentro, and the New Mexico Immigrant Law Center (NMILC)– focused on supporting immigrant integration statewide and related support programs, services and advocacy, ensuring low-income immigrants have access to social and legal services for Immigration and Administrative Relief, to foster leadership development and to promote economic and civic engagement in immigrant communities.