Las Cruces School Board to Create Countywide Sanctuary for Immigrants

(ESPAÑOL) On Tuesday, members of the Las Cruces Public Schools Board of Education unanimously approved a resolution calling for the creation of a task force to “study and recommend consistent policy language that can be used by the City, County, and public schools in the creation of ‘sanctuary status’ for residents and students.”

The resolution praises outgoing President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) executive order, which allows some immigrants without legal status who came to the United States as children to remain in the country and work here. DACA “will enable our qualifying students to attend college, work, and pursue a career and thus encourage them to do well in school and to graduate,” the resolution states.

The task force would create “sanctuary” policies which all area governments could enact and report back to the government agencies’ policymaking bodies in a joint session by May 2017.

Whether the school board will find the other government agencies open to the effort isn’t clear. Doña Ana County already has a policy that prohibits the county from requesting or sharing the immigration status of people, making county services or benefits dependent on immigration status, or “cooperating, in one’s official capacity, with any (U.S.) Immigration and Customs Enforcement or Customs and Border Protection investigation, detention or arrest procedures, public or clandestine, relating to alleged violations of the civil provisions of federal immigration law.”

But the policy was implemented by the current commissioners. Come January, three of five will leave office and be replaced by new commissioners who won election in November.

As for Las Cruces, Mayor Ken Miyagishima was quoted by the Las Cruces Sun-News last month in opposition to sanctuary status.

“The city of Las Cruces is not a sanctuary city, nor do I support becoming one,” Miyagishima was quoted as saying. “The Las Cruces Police Department does not enforce federal regulation or immigration laws. … If a person is pulled over they will not be asked for their citizenship.”