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New law requires warrant for ICE to enter city-operated areas

With the Trump administration cracking down on immigration, many of New Mexico’s undocumented immigrants are concerned for their future. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has ramped up its efforts to arrest, detain and deport foreign nationals who are living in the country illegally. In response, some of New Mexico’s cities are passing laws to protect the rights of their immigrant population.

The city of Albuquerque recently passed a law that would require ICE agents to possess a search warrant before entering any city-operated areas in search of undocumented immigrants. The law is a success for civil-rights advocates and immigration advocates who have long contended that ICE agents frequently encroach upon the civil rights of undocumented immigrants.

Albuquerque’s new law

Last week, Albuquerque’s Democratic-majority city council voted 6-3 to pass a measure that would require ICE agents to possess a judicial warrant before entering city-operated areas. It also includes forbids city workers from documenting the immigration status of Albuquerque residents. Additionally, the law includes provisions that prevent the city’s police force from cooperating with federal immigration laws. Overall, the measure go a long way in strengthening residents’ Fourth-Amendment protection from unreasonable search and seizure.

Civil rights for immigrants in New Mexico

The provision cements Albuquerque’s status as an immigrant-friendly “sanctuary” city. The American Civil Liberties Union has praised the city’s efforts, saying that the law is a much-needed step to prevent potentially unconstitutional arrests and detentions. But despite the new law, the city’s undocumented immigrants still face the possibility of civil rights violations. Anyone who is living in Albuquerque or other cities in New Mexico as an undocumented immigrant should know that they are entitled to certain civil rights, and that an attorney can help immigrants protect these rights.

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