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Albuquerque votes to reaffirm 'sanctuary city' status

By
Sommer Brokaw
Protesters demonstrate against the Trump administration's crackdown on illegal immigration in Beverly Hills, Calif., on March 13. This week, the city of Albuquerque, N.M., voted to reaffirm its policy as a sanctuary city. File Photo by Christine Chew/UPI
Protesters demonstrate against the Trump administration's crackdown on illegal immigration in Beverly Hills, Calif., on March 13. This week, the city of Albuquerque, N.M., voted to reaffirm its policy as a "sanctuary city." File Photo by Christine Chew/UPI | License Photo

April 17 (UPI) -- The city council in Albuquerque, N.M., has decided to strengthen its stance on its "immigrant-friendly' policy, amid pressure from the federal government.

Councilors voted 6-3 Monday to reaffirm a resolution barring city resources from identifying or detaining undocumented immigrants.

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The city's "immigrant-friendly" resolution reaffirms Albuquerque's status as a "sanctuary city," and reflects municipal efforts to ease immigrants' fear of law enforcement.

Albuquerque is a "safe place for immigrants from all countries, as well as for war refugees, people of color, Muslims, Jews, LGBTQ people and people with disabilities," the resolution states.

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The vote followed a federal judge's decision last week that the U.S. Department of Justice cannot withhold federal funds from sanctuary cities with "immigrant-friendly" policies.

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Last year, President Donald Trump's administration threatened to withhold federal funds from cities that refuse to cooperate with federal immigrant detainer orders.

"In order for Trump to carry out his terrifying vision of mass deportation, his administration is trying to strong-arm local governments into enforcing federal deportation programs," resident Fabiola Bawden told councilors. "We are better than that in New Mexico. This resolution will build on Albuquerque's legacy of integrating immigrants into the economic, cultural and civil fiber of the city."

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Some city residents disagreed, and expressed to the council the Trump administration's efforts to crack down on immigration are not motivated by bias.

"This is not an issue of racism," resident Edward Glenn said. "Every one of you took an oath when you took office to protect the laws and the Constitution. This is not a matter of being cool. This is a matter of doing what's right."

The council passed the immigrant-friendly resolution in 2000.

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