ROSWELL — President Trump’s tough talk on immigration last week has New Mexico immigrant-rights groups worried it could create a dangerous ripple effect.
In remarks to police in New York on Friday, the president suggested officers don’t need to be “too nice” when making arrests. Trump’s comments follow a new wave of reported deportation raids by ICE agents in Clovis and Portales.
Emmanuelle Leal-Sanchez, communications coordinator with the immigrant rights group Somos un Pueblo Unido, said at least eight Clovis residents were detained by ICE agents – including long-time dairy workers supporting the local economy.
“For New Mexico, that depends on key industries like dairy, oil and gas and agriculture, this could have a chilling effect, could impact very negatively those industries that rely on immigrant workers,” Leal-Sanchez said.
While ICE would not confirm activities in Clovis, some residents said agents used aggressive solicitation and intimidation at people’s homes when they arrived the week of July 17.
Many immigrant advocates have said the Trump administration is not prioritizing deportation of criminals, but instead is arresting people without criminal records in order to fulfill the president’s campaign promise of mass deportation.
Prior to the recent arrests, ICE opened a new office in Roswell. Leal-Sanchez said the agency’s tactics have renewed a level of fear and uncertainty in southeastern New Mexico that is hurting people.
“What’s happening is that, instead of investing our taxpayer money in reviving struggling rural communities, the Trump administration is instead going after, terrorizing and deporting the very people that are keeping rural communities alive,” he said.
Trump’s budget proposes spending hundreds of millions of dollars to clamp down on undocumented immigrants living in the United States by dramatically increasing the number of border patrol and ICE agents, and building a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico.Like this story? Sign up for our daily newsletter to get more of our best original news.