City Council Meeting Public Comment – May 6, 2024

Enlace is a local nonprofit organization that serves domestic violence survivors who are part of the Latine and immigrant communities in central New Mexico. We serve a large population of domestic violence survivors who are of mixed status and who constantly confront various barriers because of their lack of status and the charged political environment. As we enter an election year, we will see politicians at every level push for harsher immigration policies that only further put our immigrant communities in vulnerable positions.

Albuquerque has been an immigrant-friendly city for years, and we cannot undo the hard work that our communities did to pass these policies. Carve-outs of existing immigrant-friendly policy undermine the policy’s “teeth” in terms of enforcement and protections for the immigrant community. No good can come from allowing local officials to work with federal immigration agents—and it will only increase the likelihood that immigrant victims of violence will not come forward for support, or report crimes, out of fear of becoming involved with federal immigration agents. Further policing will not help our communities to feel safe.  Additionally, equating crime with immigrants is problematic—especially when it’s a categorically false, racist statement—and only emboldens anti-immigrant rhetoric/violence. For several years, political leaders have placed the blame for crime rates on immigrants—to gain political points with their conservative base. However, xenophobia is never a viable solution. If the city is concerned with fentanyl usage, then it should start by looking into who is demanding the supply rather than assuming immigrants are to blame.

 “Community” lies at the heart of Enlace’s mission-driven programs, and our community is inclusive. Enlace recognizes that the increasingly hostile, racist policies promulgated for political points in our city have a human cost: denying dignity, respect, and compassion to hyper-marginalized individuals who are trying to stay safe.

Enlace recognizes that racist, exclusionary policies are neither sustainable nor effective—especially as communities around the globe face the realities of a rapidly changing planet, where creative, compassionate solutions are the only way forward.