WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Tom Udall released the following statement in response to recently released memos from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security establishing new guidelines for carrying out President Trump’s immigration orders:
“President Trump’s guidelines amount to a plan to begin mass deportations. These plans are unrealistic, inhumane, bad for the economy, and an extremely inefficient use of already thin resources. And while the president’s team told the media that they are trying to prevent ‘panic’ over this new policy, their plans already are causing widespread fear. Religious leaders, educators and immigrants’ rights advocates all have reported to my office that immigrants are avoiding health care appointments, work and school for fear they will be targeted for deportation. Not only is this cruel, but it’s bad for public health if portions of the population can’t get care when they’re sick, it’s disruptive for the economy if employees don’t show up for work, and it’s a public safety nightmare if people are afraid to report crimes.
“New Mexicans know that border security is critically important to our national security. I support – and have voted for – hiring more Border Patrol agents and funding more security equipment and technology to patrol our border with Mexico. And there’s no question that we should get violent criminals and drug dealers off the streets, no matter where they were born. But it’s a waste of ICE and other law enforcement officers’ time and taxpayer money to target hardworking immigrants who are contributing to our nation and looking to make a better life for themselves and their families.
“If the president truly does want to improve our nation’s immigration policy, he should back the Senate-passed bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform legislation that will secure our border, find a path to legal status for the 11 million undocumented people living in the country today, and ensure employers can find legal workers.”
Last week, Udall and U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich demanded a meeting with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to understand what steps ICE has already implemented in New Mexico to comply with President Trump’s orders, and whether ICE will make a commitment to not conduct enforcement operations near schools, churches, hospitals, court houses and other places where people seek necessary care and services. They have not received an answer. Udall’s statement about Trump’s announced plans to build a border wall can be found here.