Local leaders joined immigrant advocates to rally against ICE, which they believe violates people’s rights.
“What we’ve been seeing is that they have been targeting familias in New Mexico, workers at the workplace, at court, at probation, at their homes,” organizer Marian Mendez-Cera said.
Organizers with El Centro say the rise in ICE audits at local businesses looking for undocumented workers is breeding fear and uncertainty among the immigrant community.
ICE says its ramped-up efforts are intended to protect jobs for U.S. citizens and stop companies with illegal workers from having a competitive advantage.
Bernalillo County Commissioner Debbie O’Malley says part of the problem is differing views on the powers that immigrations officials have.
“This is the big controversy throughout the country, what is the law? There’s disagreement about what the law is, and we know have this national back and forth,” O’Malley said.
ICE official says in late February and early March, it served 63 notices of inspection in New Mexico, and made 23 arrests.
Three of those were of individuals who had already been deported and/or possession of a firearm by a prohibited person.