IMMIGRANT GROUP LAUDS NEW JAIL POLICY IN RIO ARRIBA
SEPTEMBER 25, 2014
ESPAÑOLA, NM—Today, the Rio Arriba County Commission voted unanimously to implement a new jail policy that would disregard ICE detainer requests and end communication with ICE regarding inmates’ immigration status. Somos Española, an affiliate of Somos Un Pueblo Unido, launched a campaign one year ago to decrease deportations and challenge collaboration between the Tierra Amarilla jail and ICE that has resulted in dozens of deportations of local immigrant residents.
Regarding the recent the recent county commission vote, Somos released the following statement:
“By deciding to no longer honor ICE detainer requests, Rio Arriba County is joining the ranks of other New Mexico counties that are standing up to ICE and doing what is sensible and right for their local communities.
Holding individuals for days, if not weeks, after they have posted bond or have been released by a local judge not only exposes the jail to lawsuits for violating their rights, it does not allow the criminal justice system to function the way it is supposed to.
Somos has seen how this kind of increased collaboration between immigration enforcement agents and local jails in New Mexico has led to racial profiling, due process violations, prolonged detention, unnecessary deportations, and the traumatic separation of families in our communities.
It also has fueled mistrust by immigrant residents toward local law enforcement agencies. When immigrant families see that these agencies are helping enforce civil immigration laws, they are less likely to call the police when they need to, and that undermines public safety for the entire community.
Ultimately, honoring ICE detainer requests is discriminatory, dangerous, illegal, and wrong, and we are relieved that in places like Rio Arriba, county officials are finally understanding the financial, legal and public safety costs of this unfair practice.”
Guadalupe López, a member of Somos Española, added: “Somos Española has documented several instances in which families have been unnecessarily torn apart because of the jail’s cooperation with ICE, and we have seen how these discriminatory practices have made community members afraid to call the police. We are proud and thankful that the county commissioners chose to listen to the needs of all our families.”
© 2014 SOMOS UN PUEBLO UNIDO