New Mexico

ICE 'operation' in Las Cruces sparks protest outside courthouse

ICE conducts immigration raids in Las Cruces

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - Immigration and Customs Enforcement confirmed Wednesday morning its officers conducted targeted enforcement operations in Las Cruces, during which additional resources and personnel were dedicated to apprehending "deportable foreign nationals."

ABC-7 received phone calls from Las Cruces residents stating ICE agents were in their neighborhood at about 6 a.m. on Dona Ana Road in the northwest part of the city.

ICE did not confirm an exact location.

Wednesday afternoon, ABC-7 spoke with a neighborhood resident who woke up to officers banging on her door and asking to see her and her husband's identification. "It's pretty scary," Lluvia Salazar said, "I'm a US citizen. We are all citizens here, but it's pretty scary because they were wanting to come in our house without any reason at all."

Salazar told ABC-7 the ICE agents had a "big white van and there were like four or five people (inside) when the (agents) left."

A girl at the trailer home complex told ABC-7 her cousin was approached by ICE agents while she was driving. "They pulled her over and asked for her immigration status," the girl said.

Dozens of protesters walked the streets of Las Cruces for about a half hour, eventually sitting in the street and blocking the intersection of Main and Picacho. "No hate. No fear. Immigrants are welcomed here," the protesters chanted.

ICE officials said agents were looking for people who shouldn't be in the country, either because they have a criminal history or they have a deportation order signed by an immigration judge.

In a statement over the weekend ICE said:

"All enforcement activities are conducted with the same level of professionalism and respect that ICE officers exhibit every day. The focus of these operations is no different than the routine, targeted arrests carried out by ICE's Fugitive Operations Teams on a daily basis."

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