In recent years, there has been a drastic rise in immigration enforcement that tears families apart and a marked shift in its implementation. In the past, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) utilized tools such as workplace raids to detain and eventually deport thousands of noncitizens. Today, ICE identifies non-citizens mainly by relying upon local and state law enforcement and the criminal justice system and creating an airtight pipeline to deportation. Programs such as Secure Communities (S-Comm), and the Criminal Alien Program (CAP) resulted an all-time high of deportation (409,849 in 2012). These programs also fomented racial profiling, pre-textual arrests, had a chilling impact on community policing efforts, and used limited local public safety resources to identify and detain immigrants who pose no public safety risk.
As immigration enforcement ratcheted up, so has organizing and advocacy across the nation and locally. El CENTRO has been at the the forefront of campaigns in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County to fight back against immigration enforcement programs and protect our communities.
El CENTRO works with its membership to decrease civil rights abuses by local and federal law enforcement authorities, and to decrease unnecessary detention and deportation of immigrants, through three primary activities:
- informing the community about their rights through interactive know-your-rights workshops given by our civil rights “Defensores de Familia” and distribution of written materials. For a workshop in your home, church, school, or community space, contact Fabiola at (505) 246-1627 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
- documentation of abuses
- creating and supporting local policies that are conducive to community policing and integrating immigrants into the mainstream, that uphold civil rights, decrease racial profiling, and hold law enforcement accountable and fighting against enforcement policies which criminalize immigrants and tear families apart.
Now more than ever, El CENTRO finds the inherent value of our communities becoming a collective, conscious, free and powerful force dedicated to the promotion of human rights. We seek to empower communities through interactive know-your-rights workshops. The objective is to provide essential tools for different communities to defend their civil rights, hold law enforcement/ICE accountable and fight against the criminalization of our communities. Some of the tools involve but are not restricted to:
*information about your rights with law enforcement and federal immigration agents
*dialogue about how we are fighting back and organizing against deportation/enforcement programs;
*emergency family plans
El CENTRO has prepared the following toolkit in collaboration with other organizations across the state and that nation. This toolkit package includes know-your-rights information, family emergency plan form, power of attorney, and “rights cards.” Now more than ever, it is important to KNOW YOUR RIGHTS in order to continue protecting our families and communities.
CLICK HERE if you are a member of a non-profit or a service provider interested in knowing how to provide a safe environment for undocumented clients and what to do if immigration agents came to your building or tried to detain your clients.