Albuquerque Mayor Berry once again revealed his hypocrisy at a press conference to announce the creation of the city department the “Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs”. (See Albuquerque Journal, “City unveils immigrant affairs office”, Metro & NM, Section C-1, February 8, 2017.)
The office is intended to serve Albuquerque’s immigrant and refugee community by acting as a point of contact with other agencies that serve them.
Berry said the new city department will help immigrants and refugees without regard to their legal immigration status and that it will help allay the fears of people in Albuquerque’s immigrant and refugee community.
When asked if the office would serve people who lack legal immigration status, Berry said “It is not our job to check on that. That’s not what this office is about.”
Berry in the past has had no problem inviting immigration authorities into city facilities to check on immigration status of people.
Berry said “There has always been rhetoric from the left and right regarding immigration … But I do not think it has ever been ramped up to the level we’ve seen most recently”.
It has been mostly right wing Republicans that have ramped up the rhetoric on immigration in the past and it was done by none other than candidate Richard Berry.
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 making Albuquerque a “sanctuary city” for immigrants.
After elected, Mayor Berry declared that Albuquerque was no longer a sanctuary city.
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.
By Berry’s orders, US Immigration and Customs agents (ICE) were allowed into city jail holding facilities to screen virtually all people arrested and brought in by APD and determine their immigration status.
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.
The truth is once ICE determines a person is not in this country legally, it will take that person into custody and institute deportation action.
What Berry was endorsing with allowing ICE into city holding facilities to screen people is the deportation of people no matter the offense and no matter their guilt or innocence of people arrested and taken into custody by APD.
Albuquerque City Councilors introduced a measure to reaffirm a 16 year old resolution making Albuquerque an Immigrant friendly community.
I wonder if Berry will have a press conference to sign it if it passes or will he veto it?