Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Sanctuary City

Today is Election Day for the city’s mayoral race that includes incumbent Martin “Marty” Chavez, Richard Romero and Richard "RJ" Berry. The Albuquerque Journal polls show that Berry a Republican leads with 31%, while Democrat Chavez is at 26% and Democrat Romero is at 24%. Martin Chavez has name recognition and had been consider a “shoe in” coming in to the campaign but this election year things have taken a new surprising twist. Both Romero and Berry have come after Chavez swinging everything they can muster and the effecting result is visible in the poll.

One of the most sticky points and controversial issues that have been raised is if Albuquerque is a “sanctuary City.” A sanctuary city is a term given to a city in the United States that follows certain practices that protect illegal immigrants. These practices can be by law (de jure) or they can be by habit (de facto). The term generally applies to cities that do not allow municipal funds or resources to be used to enforce federal immigration laws, usually by not allowing police to inquire about one's immigration status. The designation has no legal meaning.

Mayor Chavez has been criticized for enforcing a city policy that supposedly prohibits city police from questioning suspected foreigners of their legal status. For some time now the local media has been having a field day reporting the issue of immigration and the city police that some say makes Albuquerque a sanctuary city. According to a report on KOB-TV, Albuquerque Police Department officers who find illegal immigrants will no longer contact federal immigration agents or the Border Patrol.




And KRQE News 13 says that under the new policy police will be prohibitted from even asking about the immigration status of people they arrest.

"Officers shall not inquire about or seek proof of a person's immigration status ... officers shall not call federal immigration officers to the scene ... of an investigation except in the case of suspected human trafficking," the policy states in part, according to KRQE.

Six years ago the Albuquerque City Council passed a resolution saying no city resources would be used to go after illegal immigrants, but APD was sued two years ago by three students at Del Norte High School who were detained by an officer for being illegal immigrants, KOB-TV reported.

According to News 13, some APD officers are angry and frustrated that the policy is allowing known criminals to stay on the streets and continue to commit crime when federal authorities don't know an illegal immigrant is in custody, then posts bond and gets out of jail.

And immigration officials tell KRQE they will continue to investigate these cases, but the new APD policy will make things tougher.

"Local police serve as our eyes and ears if you will," Immigration and Customs spokeswoman Leticia Zamaripps told News 13. "The local authorities are the ones patrolling the streets, the ones who are out there more than likely coming in contact with a lot of these criminal aliens."


Albuquerque Police Chief Ray Schultz has said that city police are not to ask about a person's immigration status and will not enforce federal immigration laws. But that doesn't mean police can't arrest an illegal immigrant or inquire about a person's immigration status in a criminal investigation. Schultz said that the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy on illegals doesn't apply to criminal investigations.

"Any officer investigating criminal activity is allowed to inquire about immigration status and take any action necessary," said Schultz, who said there is a lot of confusion about APD policy regarding illegal immigrants.

Schultz said false information is circulating that criminals will not be asked about their immigration status, the Albuquerque Journal reported.

"On the other hand, we want the immigrant community to know that should they be a victim or witness to a crime, their immigration status will not be held against them," Schultz said. "We want their cooperation so we can hold all criminals accountable."


Richard "RJ" Berry says if he is elected mayor, things will change.

"I will get rid of the so-called sanctuary city policy that Mayor Chavez has put in place that prohibits officers from asking suspects in crimes about their immigration status."

Berry took on another controversial topic saying if elected, he would work to end New Mexico's policy of giving drivers licenses to those in the country illegally.

Mayor Chavez says the accusation that Albuquerque is a sanctuary city is nonsense.

"Albuquerque is of course not a sanctuary city," he said.

Chavez says police do ask about suspects' immigration status, just not in all situations.

"If there's a suspect in a crime being questioned for a crime, then the officer makes inquiry. What we don't do is on a routine traffic stop, ask people for citizenship papers," he said. "I think most Americans would agree that's not the way to handle traffic stops in America."


While Richard Romero said that Berry’s charge that Albuquerque is a “sanctuary city” is a “politically-charged wedge issue” meant to serve no purpose other than to divide the community.

The word "sanctuary" is being used to describe Albuquerque's non-discrimination policies. One passed in City Council in 2000 with bipartisan support, and the other is the Albuquerque Police Department's policy which allows officers to question a person's immigration status only if it is pertinent to a criminal investigation. In other words — a police officer should not ask a person to prove their citizenship just because they get the "feeling" that they are not from here. There is nothing in Albuquerque's current policies that provides any protection for immigrants from deportation.

The terminology of “sanctuary city” will continue to be a controversial issue even after today’s election regardless who get elected. It will get plenty of play during elections or every time we have an incident involving illegal immigrants.


Case and point is the deadly armed robbery at Denny's in which at least two thugs suspected of being gangsters associated with the Salvadoran street gang MS-13 shot to death cook Stephanie Anderson. The suspects were all from El Salvador and in the US illegally.

This incident again brought out the issue to the forefront during debates about crime in the city and was routinely a highlight during this election. Although everyone is in agreement that violent crime is not and can never be acceptable in our society, and those who perpetrate it should be held accountable to the full extent of the law, the controversial debate of sanctuary and immigration will continue to be a complex and difficult issue that will not make it easy for us to come together in a comprehensive way, a way that will ensure we are protected from all forms of violence and at the same time retain our civil rights. A delicate balance indeed.

Thank God this election is almost over (unless there is a runoff) but don't count for the issue of illegal immigration to go away any time soon.

UPDATE:
It appears that Republican Richard J. Berry has been elected Mayor of Albuquerque with 43.82% of the vote (avoiding a runoff), while Martin J Chavez received 35.02% and Richard M Romero came third with 20.98%. We will follow the new mayor as he deals with the issues of illegal imigration and the Albuquerque police department.

Bloggers posting on results:

2 comments:

  1. Other amendment to the (IRCA) law can be added, but the majority of public opinion demands no path to citizenship or BLANKET AMNESTY. Leave America and apply for an immigration entry visa like honest potential immigrants have for years? If you live in America previously without THE PEOPLES PERMISSION, you will be subject to fines, but not necessarily exempt from an entrance visa. Criminal aliens and anarchists obviously must remain--persona none gratis. A points system must be enacted similar to countries in Europe and even Australia. Points are observed for special highly skilled individuals, specialty engineers, scientists and computer specialists and other equally outstanding credentialed labor that has no equal in our nation.

    The deterrent for smuggling yourself and family members into a sovereign country, with no longer is a civil offense. Every business within the jurisdiction of these United States and its territories and islands will be instructed to install E-Verify permanently. A mandatory directive will include criminal penalties for not operating the E-Verification application in all employment. No working person shall be exempt including those who have been on payroll for twenty years or more. New immigrants cannot access any welfare or government subsidies, unless under emergency status. A new stage 2 E-Verify modified to check the persons right to health care, drivers licenses, car insurance, real estate including home purchase. E-Verify could also be adapted to vet a persons voting status in coming elections to halt violations of the law. Within the local Social Security administration those who have remained in limbo, can be verified for any number of irregularities.

    In time as E-Verify and its innovations are upgraded, with biometric and photo recognition improvements, the system will certainly pay for itself. Chances are in the coming months rogue politicians whose immigration grading can be viewed on NUMBERSUSA, will try to weaken or drop E-Verify for the favors they owe the US Chamber of Commerce and the nausating special interest groups? Just as they are accomplishing breaking down 287 G, police immigration questioning. ICE raids and other enforcement tools. As I have said before this is all about ECONOMICS. ITS about deteriorating infrastructure, its about the Census bureau stating that in the year 2050, the nation's population is projected to increase by nearly 130 million people -- the equivalent of adding another four states the size of California. Understand about this physical nightmare at CAPSWEB. In conclusion, there is much more information about the corruption in our political parties; not just immigration at the JUDICIAL WATCH site.

    A mandated law must be authored that renegade businesses who employ illegal entrants, must be held accountable for the huge bills that hospitals and taxpayers get stuck with?

    PAY ATTENTION to the fact that the present Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger is currently endorsing San Francisco's--Sanctuary City--Liberal/Socialist Mayor Gavin Newsom for the new Governor of the State. This would be an absolute atrocity to the legal communities, when Newsom allowed ID for illegal aliens and refused to put young illegal immigrant gang members in the hands of ICE? Indirectly the sanctuary policy that was indifferent to Federal law, was an accessory in the June 22 slaying's of Anthony Bologna and his sons Michael and Matthew. There is already a mayor in Los Angeles who supports the illegal immigrant invasion, so you definitely don't want Gavin Newsom giving bogus identification or welcoming millions more illegal families to extract subsidies from the already cash-strapped Californians.

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  2. Its likely there is going to be a nasty battle ahead over comprehensive immigration reform? My thought is that instead of starting from scratch, like the open border insane society is demanding we should fabricate amendments into the 1986 Simpson Mazzoli bill. First and foremost the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), was full of loopholes. Its main content was to legalize guest workers, whose labor was mostly spent in agriculture. The problem that once legalized, they vanished from the fields and orchards, taking jobs on Main Street, stealing jobs from Americans. The numbers of illegal aliens escalated, because the perforated borders and limited border patrol agents led to floods of more foreign nationals skirting our national border.

    Farmers, agriculturists and businesses had to seek more workers once again, so the borders remained intentionally open thanks to Democrats and Republicans. So instead of the estimated 3.5 newcomers the actual figure was more like 5 million, with more crossing the inept border incessantly. Most of the new entrants lied about their period of residency and produced utility bills and other bogus documentation, including fraudulent affidavits. So the prior (INS) Immigration & Naturalization Service couldn't attempt to handle the overwhelming influx of illegal immigrants applying? Now President Osama and his Democratic happy faces want to swamp us yet again, with an estimated 20 plus illegal immigrants already squatting here? Even today the doors remain wide open, because the political parties under funded the real border fence, originally drafted by Rep. Duncan Hunter of California. His short 50 mile fence in San Diego, California is double tiered, with a no-mans-land between for border patrol vehicles to make their inspection tours.

    The fence that crosses America is--ONE STRAND BARRIER--and in many places doesn't exist at all, except for ailing cameras, sensors and other vehicle barriers? Now if the powers in Washington had any brains, they could amend the (IRCA) law? First is agriculture that wants Guest Workers to pick fruit and vegetables, they must be issued a special visa limited to a specific time. They cannot work outside that boundary and must return to their country of residence after the document expires. If they want at some point in time to qualify for permanent legal status, they must apply like all new immigrants through their embassy. There fingerprints and other data should be recorded just in case they disappear from the workplace and placed on an arrest list by ICE.

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