New Mexico

Advocacy group, LCPD reassure immigrant community in the wake of ICE operation

Deportation fears following targeted...

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - Las Crucens say they're living in fear following an ICE operation in a mobile home park Wednesday.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement confirmed Wednesday its officers conducted targeted enforcement operations in Las Cruces. Officials say additional resources and personnel were dedicated to apprehending "deportable foreign nationals."

Las Cruces residents tell ABC-7 ICE agents were in the "Los Arboles" mobile home park on Dona Ana Road at around 6 A.M.

Laura Herrera tells ABC-7 agents knocked on her door early Wednesday morning, yelling for her family to get out of the home. Herrera says agents asked for a man and asked to enter her home. She says she refused but showed her identification.

"My kids were afraid, thinking we would be deported. We're fine. They didn't take anyone inside my home because we all have our proper documents," Herrera said.

NM CAFE is now calling on local leaders to protect communities and clear up any confusion about immigrant rights. She says there are rumors floating around that any reports of domestic violence, fraud calls, etc. would be immediate cause for removal. She says they've advised undocumented immigrants not to allow ICE agents inside their home.

"We've been telling families first don't answer the door if ICE or border patrol knocks. Ask for a warrant, they cannot enter your home without a warrant that names a person specifically and it must be signed by a judge," CAFE's Executive Director, Sarah Silva said.

Silvia says CAFE praises the work of Las Cruces Police for actively speaking to communities.

"The police department is just, I would say they're a model for how other law enforcement agencies should be acting in the moment of crisis or panic like right now," Silvia said.

Las Cruces Police Chief Jaime Montoya tells ABC-7 officers have worked extremely hard to build relationships, adding immigration raids instill a fear of all law enforcement.

"I think they see us as law enforcement, whether it's federal state or municipal. We're all the same. To them, if they call us to a scene or say a burglary or they're a victim. If they feel like they're going to be picked up to border patrol or customs," Montoya said.

ICE would not confirm if any other operations will be held, telling ABC-7 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.

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