Unified Action – February 2012

Urge the Doña Ana Sheriff’s Office to adopt a Standard Operating Procedure that protects people’s rights regardless of where they live or what they look like

Sponsored by: TIAS Taskforce for Immigrant Advocacy and Services – Southern NM; www.tias-nm.com

For more information contact: Sarah Nolan, sarahnolan.newmexico@gmail.com, 575-520-1624

The Issue:

For several years, people in Anthony, Chaparral, Hatch, and Las Cruces have had encounters in which DASO (Doña Ana County Sheriffs Office) officers have asked them their immigration status during routine stops, detained people for longer than the reason of the initial stop, encountered ICE or Border Patrol officers riding in patrol cars with DASO officers, and encountered officers questioning the validity of documents and testimonies of people who are victims or witnesses of crimes.  

These practices are creating an unsafe environment in the communities of Doña Ana County. If victims or witnesses of crimes are afraid to call the police, public safety for all is undermined.

The SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) that gives guidance to officers should be revised to ban the practice of asking for immigration status during a routine encounter. Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office should follow the examples of Hidalgo, Luna, and Otero counties, and adopt a SOP that protects people’s rights to be treated fairly and equally regardless of where they live or what they look like. 

But, DASO has expressed to the Taskforce for Immigrant Advocacy Services that revising the SOP is not a priority for their office.  

A local coalition, the Taskforce for Immigration and Advocacy Services will be making a presentation to the Doña Ana County Commissioners on February 28th at 9:15am; representatives of the coalition will be asking the Sheriff and the assistant county attorney to revise the Standard Operating Procedure to prohibit deputies from asking about immigration status during the course of a routine traffic stop or encounter.  

What we are asking:

Attend the County Commission Meeting on

Tuesday, February 28th, 9-10 am,

at the Doña Ana County Building, 845 N. Motel Blvd. (wear yellow)

and/or

Email the Doña Ana County Commissioners

Let them know that you support revising the Standard Operating Procedure, to prohibit deputies from asking about immigration status during a routine traffic stop or encounter. The Standard Operating Procedure should protect people’s rights to be treated fairly and equally regardless of where they live or what they look like. 

Suggested text for your email is below.

Send to: 

  • bgarrett@donaanacounty.org,
  • dcaviness@donaanacounty.org,
  • kperez@donaanacounty.org,
  • skrahling@donaanacounty.org,
  • lbenavidez@donaanacounty.org 

Subject: Revision of DASO Standard Operating Procedure is a priority

Dear County Commissioners,

The Standard Operating Procedure that gives guidance to DASO officers should be revised. The SOP should protect people’s rights to be treated fairly and equally regardless of where they live or what they look like.

Various community organizations have received reports that DASO officers are asking about immigration status during routine traffic stops. Questioning the validity of documents and testimonies of people who report crimes creates an atmosphere of fear in which victims and witnesses of crime are afraid to call the police. 

If law enforcement cannot develop and maintain trust with the community they serve, then public safety is undermined.  

Please ask the County Attorney’s Office to provide a revised Standard Operating Procedure to the Sheriff within a month that will prohibit deputies from asking about immigration status during a routine traffic stop or encounter. Hidaldgo, Luna, and Otero counties have SOP’s that protect people’s rights. DASO needs to make this a priority.

Thank you,