Jeff Taborda lives in a faded green trailer in an old, but neatly kept mobile home community in north Las Cruces. Taborda, 23, graduated in December from New Mexico State University with a degree in criminal justice, with ambitions to go into law enforcement and eventually join the FBI. He is lean and muscular, working out regularly with his younger brother, Steven. The home Taborda shares with his girlfriend is sparsely furnished, clean dishes in a rack in the sink. “As soon as I eat, I do the dishes,” he told visitors on a recent 100-degree afternoon.
This story first appeared in the Santa Fe Reporter, a partner of New Mexico In DepthThe Santa Fe Police Department generally prefers to make its own law enforcement decisions. On paper, that means leaving federal immigration authorities in the dark on cases involving people who may be in the country illegally, even as President Donald Trump threatens cities’ funding if they don’t cooperate in fulfilling his campaign promise to cleanse the nation of “criminal illegal aliens.”
But during the past two-plus years, SFPD has tipped off Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at least three times about suspected undocumented immigrants. Details about the cases highlight difficulties in balancing public safety against remaining true to “sanctuary” policies that, in Santa Fe, were born of cooperation and core values but are now bound to experience some turbulence. For Ronald Ayala-Santos, according to police, a heads-up for the feds took some doing on his part. Since mid-2015, the 20-year-old has admitted to making a false report about “heavily armed men” swarming a Santa Fe neighborhood and phoning in bogus bomb threats that led to the chaotic clearing of the Violet Crown Cinema and the Plaza, police say.
Latino USA, an NPR program, dedicated its most recent episode to the issue of unaccompanied children making their way to U.S. borders. It’s a worthwhile listen, especially if you’re looking for important context.
Central American immigrants living in a converted border patrol training center in Artesia are relaying stories of children losing significant amounts of weight and of sick kids not receiving medical care for conditions like fever and diarrhea.
Trip Jennings, New Mexico In Depth’s executive director, talked about the ongoing effects of last year’s behavioral health transition, efforts to deal with the flood of Central American immigrants into the United States and other issues during last week’s episode of New Mexico In Focus. Click on the headline to watch.
At the South Valley Academy near Albuquerque, educators are focused on more than teaching. With most students coming from immigrant families, they have to help many cope with the effects of deportations of family members. (Part 1 of a two-part audio series)
COMMENTARY: Today officially launches a journalistic project documenting the lives of the women in an immigrant family I’ve spent months getting to know. I hope you’re challenged and enriched by the experience like I have been.