Republican City Councilors Dan Lewis and Don Harris have learned their lesson well from Mayor Richard Berry and perhaps Republican Congressman Steve Pearce.
Both Lewis and Harris skipped the City Council meeting when the City Council voted to affirm Albuquerque’s “ Immigrant Friendly” status. (See February 23, 2017 Albuquerque Journal article “Council affirms ‘immigrant –friendly’ status”, Metro & NM Section, page C-1)
Berry has showed repeated failure of leadership for 7 years of never being around and at times not even being in town when the preverbal you know what hits the fan.
New Mexico Congressman Steve Pearce is refusing to have town hall meetings preferring mass phone conferences to avoid facing angry constituents about issues.
A crowd of about 300 showed up to the City Council meeting and no doubt Lewis who is running for Mayor and Harris who is running for re-election did not want to take a stand on such a controversial issue as “sanctuary city”.
What is so laughable is that Lewis and Harris skipped a vote on a memorial, which has no legal or binding effect on the City and which does not require the Mayor to sign or veto.
All that the memorial does is reaffirm that Albuquerque will not use city resources to identify or apprehend illegal immigrants “unless otherwise required by law to do so”.
City Councilor Pat Davis, a co-sponsor, said that the memorial is largely symbolic and that it shows that the council has the political will to block cooperation and data sharing between the city and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, should they become more aggressive about enforcement, which is classic Pat Davis double speak.
If the council had the political will to stop use of city resources to help U.S. Customs it should have enacted a resolution or ordinance.
The problem is that the city is in fact using city resources to identify illegal immigrants and is sharing data with U.S. Customs.
In 2010 Mayor Berry declared that Albuquerque was no longer a “sanctuary city” and ordered the implementation of a policy that screened every person who is arrested, no matter the offense, such as misdemeanor DWI, shoplifting, drug possession, to see if the person is in the country legally.
By Berry’s orders, US Immigration and Customs agents (ICE) are allowed into city jail holding facilities to screen virtually all people arrested and brought in by APD and determine their immigration status.
The City Council needed to show more political backbone and should have enacted and resolution that would have forced all the City Councilors to vote on and force Berry to sign it or veto it.
Sooner rather than later, all candidates running for Mayor, including Dan Lewis, need to make their thoughts know on if Albuquerque should become a sanctuary city.
In the meantime, someone needs to tell Dan Lewis and Don Harris the coast is clear and they can come out and play now.