Santa Fe Immigration Sweep Prompts ACLU Investigation

Affiliate: ACLU of New Mexico
March 19, 2007 12:00 am

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ALBUQUERQUE – In response to recent immigration sweeps in Santa Fe, the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico today filed an official request for all records surrounding U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) actions in New Mexico.

Today’s request, filed under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), comes after reports in the Santa Fe New Mexican that ICE may have entered immigrant homes illegally during the sweeps.

“In its zeal to hunt down people who were living and working in Santa Fe, ICE may have overstepped the bounds of law and good judgment,” said ACLU of New Mexico Executive Director Peter Simonson. “The FOIA request that we are submitting today will help us understand how the raids were organized and what safeguards were put in place to ensure that civil rights were respected. Once we have that information in hand, we can determine whether or not our further action is warranted.”

Immigrants’ rights groups across the state say they have received complaints about racial profiling, local police involvement in ICE operations and constitutional violations following the Santa Fe sweeps. The sweeps appear to have been part of a nationwide strategy dubbed “Operation Return to Sender” that produced raids and raised alarm in other cities around the country. Last week the ACLU of Northern California sought records from ICE after abusive practices in San Francisco and nearby areas were reported extensively in the press, including illegal entries, conducting round-ups near schools, and leaving minor children unattended upon parents’ arrest.

“Nationwide, the ICE raids exhibit a pattern of recklessness and disregard, not just for basic civil rights, but also for the fundamental welfare of families that are broken apart by these operations,” said Simonson. “The ACLU isn’t disputing whether ICE can enforce immigration laws, we just want to make sure that they are doing it in a fair and humane way.”

The ACLU is requesting expedited processing of the FOIA request in order to head off possible civil rights problems in future raids.

The FOIA request is online at:

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