Anthony, NM Residents Want to End Immigration Checks by Police

BNHR members march in Las Cruces, New Mexico, on Martin Luther King Day, 2012. Las Cruces is about 30 minutes away from Anthony.

Hundreds sign petition in the small town, representing 4% of the entire population.

Members of the Border Network for Human Rights in southern New Mexico aim to change things in Anthony.

BNHR will be presenting a petition signed by almost 400 Anthony residents at the Anthony City Council today after the March for Anthony today.

The petition asks the Council to support the principles of community policing — a strategy whereby police gain the trust of all members of a community to more effectively fight crime.

The community policing strategy has been promoted by all of the major Police Chiefs’ Associations across the country, who have explicitly recommended against the practice of having local police officers do the role federal immigration officers.

The petition signatories represent about 4% of Anthony’s population of about 9,400. (Source: Considering the turnout in Anthony during the last election, this represents a political force that has no match in the small New Mexico city.

BNHR members will march onto City Hall in Anthony to ask the Anthony City Council to prevent local police from doing immigration work.

“We need our police to focus on protecting all of our communities from crime,” said Teresa Nevarez, Director of the Anthony Human Rights Community Center in Anthony, NM. “If they are asking everyone for their papers, they are taking time away from keeping our neighborhoods safe.”

BNHR has received reports of local law enforcement in the Southern New Mexico region acting as immigration agents. There is ample evidence to show that when local law enforcement engage in immigration checks, the trust between police and communities in broken. When police are known to ask for immigration papers, residents stop reporting crime and cooperating with police regardless of their immigration status.

“The enforcement of civil immigration law is the responsibility of the federal government,” said Jose Manuel Escobedo, BNHR Policy Director.  “It is unconstitutional and just as improper for local police to ask for immigration papers as it would be for them to ask for proof of filing taxes to the IRS.”

The March for Anthony

When: May 16th, 5 p.m.
Where: The March for Anthony will begin at 5:00 pm at the Anthony Texas Park at Richard White Street and Franklin and end at Anthony City Hall on Lincoln St., where members of BNHR will present a petition signed by hundreds of Anthony residents at 6 p.m.

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