The Trump administration should be ashamed of itself for unnecessarily causing rattled nerves and even full-blown panic among immigrants of various statuses across the country. His executive order late last month was intended to “clamp down” on illegal immigration in the U.S. and make Americans safer. It’s largely bluster and doesn’t make America safer.
In New Mexico, immigrants and their families have wondered if they’re being teed up for deportation. There are examples of scared parents taking their kids out of school and keeping them at home, thinking it might be a safer scenario in the atmosphere of uncertainty — uncertainty exacerbated by the travel ban — which stopped entry for all refugees and visitors from seven mainly Muslim nations. The order has been halted, at least temporarily. And then there’s the border wall — also a shot across the bow toward immigrants.
Meanwhile, about 100 Taos-area residents packed the county commission chambers in Taos Feb. 7 at a meeting to discuss and take public comment on reaffirming and expanding a commitment to make Taos County a “sanctuary county.” A vote will happen on the resolution at the next county commission meeting. We believe every commissioner should wholeheartedly approve it.
Santa Fe has stepped up, too. Hundreds of people packed into the Capitol Rotunda, alarmed by Trump’s actions. The Santa Fe mayor and other elected officials and community leaders have been very vocal in their opposition to the executive order and have themselves reaffirmed the commitment to that city’s sanctuary status — even in the face of potential loss of federal funding.
The town of Taos has had sanctuary status since 2011 through several resolutions. The town should support the county’s efforts, and it appears that will be the case. In terms of law enforcement, Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe said at the county commission meeting that he doesn’t care what an individual’s immigration status is — he’ll go after anyone who commits a crime in the community. It reinforces a policy Taos County already has in place, passed in 2014, that says staff members at the Taos County Adult Detention Center won’t ask about inmates’ immigration status, nor will they report undocumented detainees to the federal government.
Taos County is a unique community with a rich immigrant history. There are similar communities across the U.S., but our state’s proximity to Mexico and Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric make the issue hit close to home.
County officials and their supporters should send a message to those who are experiencing emotions that range from a little uncomfortable to extremely nervous — and reaffirm that we are a community welcoming to all.