A Country of Laws, Not of Men

President Trump to his chagrin is quickly learning that this country is one of laws, not of men.

Mayor Berry is about to learn a similar lesson and how he has dealt in the past with the Albuquerque’s immigrant community.

A U.S. Federal Judge imposed a nationwide hold on President Trump’s ban on travelers and immigrants from seven predominantly Muslims countries, siding with two states that challenged the President’s executive order. (See Albuquerque Journal, “U.S. Judge blocks Trump’s travel ban”, February 4, 2017, page A-1)

The federal judge ruled that the states suing had met their proof of “immediate irreparable harm”.

Trump quickly “tweeted” his objections by referring to that “so called judge”.

President Trump’s executive order to ban Muslims traveling from Muslim countries is alarming and no doubt unconstitutional.

Days after President Trump spoke of a “running war” with the media, Chief White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon said the media had been “humiliated” by the election outcome and describing the media as “the opposition party” and that the media needs to just “keep its mouth shut”.

Trump and his administration obviously have forgotten that religious freedom, freedom of speech and of the press is guaranteed by our constitution and that we are a nation of laws and immigrants.

Then you have Albuquerque Mayor Berry’s hypocrisy on full display when he met with members of the Albuquerque’s Islamic community after President Trump’s ban on Muslims traveling to the United State from Muslim countries. (See January 31, 2017 Albuquerque Journal, “Mayor, Islamic leaders meet; New round of concerns for safety of Muslims”.)

Berry was quoted as saying “We need a city where all of our families and communities feel safe. It’s time like this where we have to stand shoulder to shoulder regardless of background.”

The hypocrisy is that Mayor Berry used the issue of “sanctuary city” in 2009 to get elected the first time with his supporters driving a vehicle around the city with a billboard mounted on it condemning then Mayor Marty Chavez for making Albuquerque a “sanctuary city”.

In December, 2000, by a unanimous bipartisan vote, the Albuquerque City Council enacted an “immigrant-friendly” policy sponsored by former City Councilor Hess Yntema, a Republican, and it was signed into law.

The 2000 city council resolution “welcomes and encourages” immigrants to live and work in the city and directs the city to give immigrants access to all programs and services “to the fullest extent allowed” by the law including providing legal drivers licenses, health care and education. (See Albuquerque Journal, June 26, 2009, Immigrant Policy Written by Republican www.abqjournal.com/news/state/262250301766newsstate06-26-09.htm,)

Most important to APD police procedures, the 2000 City Council resolution “called for no city police resources to be spent determining the immigration status of a person or to take anyone into custody solely for determining immigration status.”

Municipal police resources should never be used to enforce federal immigration and customs laws even for screening people and that is why we have US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

On May 14, 2010 Mayor Richard Berry declared that Albuquerque was no longer a sanctuary city. (See http://www.koat.com/article/albuquerque-no-longer-a-sanctuary-city/5033128)

In 2010, Berry 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.

In 2010, by Berry’s orders, US Customs agents were allowed into city jail holding facilities so that virtually all people who were arrested and brought in by APD could be screened by ICE.

In 2010, Berry said, “If convicted, they will serve their sentence and could be deported. I’m not looking at this as an immigration issue, but more as a public safety issue,” said Berry thereby endorsing deportation of people no matter the offense and no matter their guilt or innocence on people arrested and taken into custody by APD.

Mayor Berry’s declaration that Albuquerque was no longer a sanctuary city also meant he did not want to “stand shoulder to shoulder” with Albuquerque’s immigrant community, as he supposedly wants to do now with the Muslim community, who no longer felt safe because of his declaration and their fear of being reported to immigration authorities by APD.

Albuquerque City Councilors are now introducing a measure to reaffirm the 16 year old resolution making Albuquerque an Immigrant friendly community. (See February 6, 2017 Albuquerque Journal article “Councilors: ABQ still ‘immigrant friendly’, Section C, Metro 7 NM).

What make this country the greatest country in the world is our freedoms as guaranteed by our constitution, including the freedoms of religion, free speech, association and our civil rights and liberties guaranteed under the constitution including due process of law and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

What this country needs are elected officials who respect our laws, our guaranteed freedoms under the constitution, not the hate and intolerance towards a religion or an immigrant community that we are getting from our President as well as our Mayor of Albuquerque.

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Pete Dinelli was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is of Italian and Hispanic descent. He is a 1970 graduate of Del Norte High School, a 1974 graduate of Eastern New Mexico University with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and a 1977 graduate of St. Mary's School of Law, San Antonio, Texas. Pete has a 40 year history of community involvement and service as an elected and appointed official and as a practicing attorney in Albuquerque. Pete and his wife Betty Case Dinelli have been married since 1984 and they have two adult sons, Mark, who is an attorney and George, who is an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Pete has been a licensed New Mexico attorney since 1978. Pete has over 27 years of municipal and state government service. Pete’s service to Albuquerque has been extensive. He has been an elected Albuquerque City Councilor, serving as Vice President. He has served as a Worker’s Compensation Judge with Statewide jurisdiction. Pete has been a prosecutor for 15 years and has served as a Bernalillo County Chief Deputy District Attorney, as an Assistant Attorney General and Assistant District Attorney and as a Deputy City Attorney. For eight years, Pete was employed with the City of Albuquerque both as a Deputy City Attorney and Chief Public Safety Officer overseeing the city departments of police, fire, 911 emergency call center and the emergency operations center. While with the City of Albuquerque Legal Department, Pete served as Director of the Safe City Strike Force and Interim Director of the 911 Emergency Operations Center. Pete’s community involvement includes being a past President of the Albuquerque Kiwanis Club, past President of the Our Lady of Fatima School Board, and Board of Directors of the Albuquerque Museum Foundation.