Rights Groups Respond to Rep. Steve Pearce's Immigration Reform Priorities

Affiliate: ACLU of New Mexico
October 10, 2013 12:12 pm

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LAS CRUCES, NM-In preparation for this weekend’s national Marches for Dignity and Respect, Representative Pearce issued a statement to the Border Network for Human Rights highlighting his perspective on priorities for immigration reform.

Below are reactions to the letter from Executive Director of Border Network for Human Rights and Director of the Regional Center for Border Rights at the ACLU of New Mexico:

“Congressman Pearce has not fully embraced the needs of Hispanic families who hold immigration reform with a path to citizenship as a central priority,” said Fernando Garcia, Executive Director of Border Network for Human Rights. “Although he signals that he is willing to modify the wrongly named SAFE Act, this bill is so deeply anti-immigrant that there is no remedy for it. We continue to ask that he remove his name as a co-sponsor of the bill.”

“We are glad, however, that Rep. Pearce recognizes what border communities known for years, that the current border enforcement system needs more oversight and that it must be accountable to border communities.” Garcia adds, “The border surge is wasteful, unnecessary and harmful to peaceful American communities. We’re glad that the militarization approach to border enforcement that the Senate proposes does not have the support of Congressman Pearce.”

“Rep. Pearce rightly recognizes that appropriating yet more resources to an already bloated border enforcement apparatus without an assessment of true needs is wasteful and unnecessary. He also concurs that we need greater accountability and oversight measures as well as improved training of Border Patrol to ensure respect for Constitutional rights of all individuals within the United States,” stated Vicki B. Gaubeca, director of the Regional Center for Border Rights at the ACLU of New Mexico.

“However, immigration reform should not include enforcement-only proposals, like the SAFE Act, which focuses on expanding the role of local jurisdictions in immigration enforcement. This proposal would make our communities less safe, harm local economies, and unnecessarily expand the already-costly immigration jail system. Many law enforcement officials, including the Major Cities Chiefs Association, oppose the SAFE Act. They recognize our communities are less safe when local police enforce federal immigration laws by creating a climate where victims or witnesses of crime are afraid to come forward.”

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