Lights for Liberty protests detention of undocumented immigrants
FARMINGTON — Dozens gathered in Orchard Park to protest an announcement that Immigration and Customs Enforcement will be conducting raids in immigrant communities starting on July 14.
The Farmington protest was one of hundreds of Lights for Liberty vigils organized nationwide as well as in other countries.
The vigils protest not only the future raids but also the detention of undocumented immigrants and separation of families.
Aztec Mayor Victor Snover told people who attended that “we need to weaponize our privilege” and stand up for immigrants.
“We owe it to everybody to do the right thing and to stick up for them,” he said.
Dora Coronado spoke about her daughter being detained after being arrested and charged with fraud. Coronado said her daughter was arrested when she tried to repossess a vehicle she had sold after the buyer failed to make payments. She said the charges were ultimately dismissed, but Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials had already detained her daughter. Coronado said her daughter is now being held at a detention center in Texas.
Elsa Lopez, a community organizer with the immigrant rights group Somos Un Pueblo Unido, said undocumented immigrants in San Juan County don’t wait for raids to happen.
“We live in constant fear of being deported,” she said, adding that undocumented immigrants in San Juan County are detained on a regular basis.
She said the deportations disrupt families and have impacts on United States citizens who are children of undocumented immigrants.
Somos Un Pueblo Unido has opposed the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office providing office space for an ICE agent at the Lee Acres substation.
The sheriff’s office maintains that ICE provides resources to help identify suspects that may not have documentation. The sheriff’s office also works with ICE agents to deport undocumented immigrants convicted of crimes, however it says immigrants who have not committed crimes will not be deported.
The sheriff’s office has emphasized that undocumented immigrants should not be afraid of calling police to report crimes, however Lopez alleges that immigrants have been detained when they show up to court to testify in cases.
Coronado said her daughter did not call police before going to repossess the vehicle because she was afraid she would be deported.
Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at email@example.com.
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