STATEWIDE IMMIGRANTS' RIGHTS GROUP REACTS TO HOUSE VOTE ON TWO ANTI-IMMIGRANT BILLS
June 29, 2017
Santa Fe - On Wednesday afternoon, the House of Representatives voted largely on party lines to approve two anti-immigrant proposals, the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act (H.R. 3003) and Kate's Law (H.R. 3004).
The No Sanctuary for Criminals Act would coerce state and local governments to violate the constitutional rights of their residents by requiring them to detain them, at the request of federal immigration agents, without due process or probable cause. Kate's Law would increase penalties for undocumented immigrants who reenter the United States, further criminalizing workers and families and exacerbating an already bloated incarceration system.
"Despite the many threats coming from this President and his anti-immigrant allies in Congress, the U.S. constitution continues to protect everyone in this country regardless of their national origin," said Marcela Díaz, Executive Director of Somos Un Pueblo Unido."The recent class action settlement that was reached with the San Juan County Detention Center after the county implemented the same kind of unconstitutional practices that this legislation calls for is just one example of how much local governments stand to lose if they turn on their own residents and begin to violate their rights. We will keep defending our rights on the streets and in the courts."
U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce from New Mexico's second congressional district was the only New Mexico representative to vote in favor of the two two proposals.
Joseph Maestas, a Santa Fe City Councilor and one of the primary sponsors of Santa Fe's recently passed non-discrimination policy that safeguards residents' immigration status and prohibits local enforcement of federal immigration laws said on Thursday:
"Thousands of city leaders throughout the nation are standing up to this administration's overreach. By exercising our constitutional duty as elected officials to decide whether we use scarce local resources to turn against families in our communities, we are putting civil rights, public safety and basic human decency above Trump's politics of hate. This legislation, meant to bully and bait, is simply un-American, and it is unfortunate that a New Mexico Congressman would choose to side with Trump over the people of his state."
Alfredo Gomez, a member of Somos Lea County, an affiliate of Somos Un Pueblo Unido, has lived in Lovington for 13 years. Originally from Mexico, he has 3 U.S. citizen children. He worked on a dairy farm for eight years and has spent the last five working in the oil and gas industry. He said in reaction to Congressman Steve Pearce's vote on the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act (H.R. 3003):
"Our families are essential to keeping rural economies in Pearce's district alive. In attacking immigrant workers and families, he's harming everyone in southeastern New Mexico-business owners, workers, families, and children-all so that he can lend his support to this opportunistic and bigoted President."
Juan Loza, originally from Jalisco, has been living in the U.S. for 19 years. After moving to Artesia six years ago, he decided to open up his own restaurant. He has three U.S. citizen children and employs several workers at two locations in Artesia and Carlsbad.
He said: "Doesn't Pearce know that all the taxes I pay as a business owner go to supporting our local economy? Instead of pandering to Trump supporters in other states, he should be doing everything he can to support economic development here at home. If local jurisdictions help Trump scare and deport workers and their families, these rural communities won't survive. Our businesses won't survive."
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.