STATEWIDE IMMIGRANT GROUP DECRIES ICE OPERATION AT TRAFFIC ROADBLOCKS IN EASTERN NEW MEXICO
July 26, 2017
CLOVIS, NM--On the heels of a new wave of deportation raids in eastern New Mexico that terrorized many immigrant families last week, federal immigration agents joined the New Mexico State Police today at a driver's license and insurance checkpoint on U.S. Highway 70 between Clovis and Portales.
"State police officers were checking everyone's license and insurance, but a few feet away at least eight ICE agents stood near their unmarked vehicles," said Blanca Torres, a member of Somos Un Pueblo Unido and a motorist stopped by police. "By allowing ICE to be present at these checkpoints, the state police department is an accomplice in the chaos these agents are causing in the rural communities of Clovis and Portales. This is a time when we need our state leaders to stand with the citizens of New Mexico and not the Trump administration. The terrorizing of our families needs to stop."
"By inviting ICE to these checkpoints, the state police is helping the administration hurt New Mexico's immigrant children and families," said Marina Piña, a community organizer with Somos Un Pueblo Unido. "It also places a heavy toll on the the social and economic fabric of eastern New Mexico. How will immigrant workers feel safe driving to work, going to the grocery store, or taking their children to school or extracurricular activities? We will continue defending our community and fighting back in places like Clovis where immigrant families are essential to the economy."
According to New Mexico's bias based policing law, local police cannot change the scope of an investigation based on race, national origin, or language. They also do not have the authority to enforce federal civil immigration laws. Moreover, ICE agents do not have the authority to randomly stop motorists without cause, but sometimes take advantage of the police's authority to set up roadblocks.
"This is a shameful operation and an ICE tactic we haven't seen in years," said Marcela Díaz, Executive Director of Somos Un Pueblo Unido. "Although we haven't heard reports of immigration arrests yet, this kind of collusion between state police and ICE is meant to generate panic and fear in the community. It also creates a situation ripe for civil rights violations. The Governor should not allow this assault on our communities."
Last week, field agents with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrived at dozens of homes banging loudly on doors and asking residents about their immigration status. At least eight residents, many of them long-time dairy workers and residents of Clovis, were detained and separated from their families. Dozens of immigrant workers, their families, and allies protested in front of the federal courthouse in Roswell that now houses a new Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) field office, condemning the wave of deportations.
The new office is serving as a base for enforcement operations and potentially disrupting some of the state's key industries that depend on immigrant workers such as the dairy and oil and gas industries.
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.