Dozens of Community Groups and Elected Officials Rally to Support Santa Fe's Sanctuary Status and Newly Proposed Ordinance Aimed at Strengthening Sanctuary Policies
December 14, 2016
Santa Fe - Today, dozens of community groups and local elected officials held a pro-sanctuary rally in front of City Hall to support immigrant families and Santa Fe's "sanctuary" status in the wake of the Trump election. Groups also rallied to support a proposed resolution that would reaffirm and strengthen Santa Fe's immigrant policies.
The resolution will be formally introduced by Councilor Villarreal and Councilor Joseph Maestas during today's evening council session. Among several issues outlined in the resolution, are provisions to increase language access for non-English speaking residents, institute a clearer confidentiality directive to city employees about residents' immigration status, and city-coordinated community education regarding civil rights to families, youth, business owners and workers.
"Our mixed-status families are deeply integrated into the life of Santa Fe. We need to protect what we've built here and ensure that our city stays true to our values no matter what the looming xenophobic administration throws our way," said Laura Valle, longtime immigrant worker in Santa Fe, mother of three US Citizen children, and member of Somos Un Pueblo Unido's United Worker Center.
"This resolution is important for Santa Fe in order to support our values as a city," said David Coss, former Santa Fe Mayor. "We need to demonstrate that we are an inclusive and unified community. In my time as city councilor and Mayor, I saw the culture and economy of Santa Fe grow and flourish under the policies that our city follows--policies that simply treat everybody equally."
In 1999, Somos Un Pueblo Unido, along with with faith, community, labor and business allies, campaigned to pass a non-discrimination resolution prohibiting the use of municipal resources towards the enforcement of federal immigration laws Since, members have worked with allies across the state to create a range of sanctuary policies to protect undocumented immigrants and to include families as full members of local communities--driver's licenses, access to college, non-discriminatory jail policies, and anti-racial profiling legislation.
"Sanctuary--safety, community, and peace--is what God expects for all of God's creatures" said Rev. Tony Aja of Westminster Presbyterian Church before leading rally goers in a candle lighting unity ceremony.
Westminster Presbyterian Church is one of two dozen faith, labor and community groups that are endorsing the resolution so far. Other endorsers include: Northern New Mexico Central Labor Council, the Santa Fe Chapter of the NAACP, Equality New Mexico, Chainbreaker Collective, St. Bede's Episcopal Church, Santa Fe Dreamer's Project and Guadalupe Credit Union.
"We know that there is no end to homophobia and transphobia without an end to xenophobia and racism," said Amber Royster, Executive Director for Equality New Mexico. "We are proud to be in solidarity with Santa Fe's immigrant communities in calling for this plan and resolution to solidify Santa Fe as a stronger Sanctuary City."
Representatives from the School Board, the County and the Community College all spoke at the rally detailing the efforts of their local governments to enact "sanctuary" policies that protect immigration status and that integrate immigrant residents into the civic, economic, and cultural life of the community.
Click here to see a list of organizations endorsing the resolution.
Somos Un Pueblo Unido is a statewide immigrant-led civil and worker's rights organization with membership teams in ten counties and offices in Santa Fe and Roswell. Somos spearheaded a campaign in 2003 with law enforcement officials, victims rights agencies, and faith and civil rights groups to require qualified undocumented immigrants to apply for licenses, obtain insurance, and register their vehicles.