A hundred or more people carrying flowers, white crosses, flags and heart-shaped cardboard signs showed up at the Monday, June 7 City Council meeting. They were protesting Albuquerque’s policy of allowing federal officers to check the immigration status of everyone who is arrested. Councilor Dan Lewis had planned on introducing a resolution calling for the federal government to enforce immigration laws and tighten up the border. He pulled the resolution shortly before the meeting.The demonstrators slipped in quietly after the Council had begun its business, filling empty chairs, then standing along the back walls before spilling out into the lobby. Their message: Mayor Richard Berry’s agreement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) makes undocumented workers fearful of police and turns immigration into a political football. The signs reminded the city that immigrants contribute to the tax base, too. One read, “The Mayor’s Policy is Berry, Berry Bad for Public Safety."When Rev. Daniel Erdman of the Iglesia Congregacional Unida Church addressed the Council, all of the protesters stood. “The Albuquerque community cannot be divided," he said. "Immigrants cannot be blamed for what is wrong with our community. We celebrate our differences, and our tradition of diversity expresses the best of ourselves.” He said the demonstrators stand against any political tactic that makes immigration criminal for those who violate a social code while looking for a better life. They renounce the terminology of calling someone an "illegal." And they want to work toward civility, unity and humanity in our city.
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