Monday, May 17, 2010

Albuquerque City Council fails to override Mayor's anti-immigrant policy

At its regularly scheduled meeting this evening the Albuquerque City Council considered a resolution (R-10-89) to rescind the new policy announced by Mayor R.J. Berry last week.
The new policy requires that the immigration status of all people arrested be checked by agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). A related resolution (R-10-88) which calls for the City of Albuquerque to refrain from conducting business with Arizona as long as AZ SB1070 remains in effect was also heard. Both resolutions were sponsored by councilor Rey Garduño and City Council president Ken Sanchez.

The council chamber was packed for the event, a far larger number of people than usual signed up to address the Council. The majority was in favor of both resolutions; a small number supported the Mayor's new policy.
Of the 33 speakers in favor several were members of organizations active in the immigrant and people of color communities, New Mexico Faith Coalition for Immigrant Justice, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, Enlace Comunitario, El Centro de Igualdad y Derechos, League of United Latin American Citizens, and Southwest Organizing Project.
Other notable speakers in support were Democratic State Rep. Antonio “Moe” Maestas who has previously called for a boycott of Arizona and Nancy Denker Chair of the Democratic Party of NM Platform & Resolutions Committee.
Recurring themes from supporters were that community policing is based on trust between Police and the community and that the new policy would lead to increased racial profiling. The potential negative economic impact to the city was also brought up, by small business owners and members of LULAC which is scheduled to have a convention here later this year expecting 25,000 participants.

Councilors Isaac Benton, Rey Garduño, Debbie O'Malley, and Ken Sanchez spoke in favor of the Arizona boycott; Michael D. Cook and Trudy Jones spoke against R-10-88 failed on a 4/5 vote. Councilors Michael Cook, Don Harris, Trudy Jones, Dan Lewis, and Brad Winter voting no.

During the debate on R-10-89, councilors Debbie O'Malley, Rey Garduño, and Ken Sanchez extensively questioned Public Safety Director Darren White. It too failed on a 4/5 vote; again councilors Michael Cook, Don Harris, Trudy Jones, Dan Lewis, and Brad Winter voting no.

Albuquerque, a city proud of its diversity just became a less pleasant city to live in.

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