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Corruption Chronicles

Immigration Holds Challenged In New Mexico

The influential immigrant rights group that helped pass a New Mexico law to give illegal aliens drivers licenses is challenging federal holds on arrestees in local jails, claiming their crimes are unrelated to their immigration status.

Often when illegal immigrants are arrested in the state, federal authorities are contacted and if the suspect is confirmed to be in the country illegally an “immigration hold” is put on the prisoner. This means that, even if bond is posted for the state offense, the illegal alien won’t be released but rather deported.

Now the powerful New Mexico group (Somos Un Pueblo Unido or We Are a United Town) that spearheaded the 2002 legislative campaign to give illegal immigrants official licenses is challenging the system, saying its illegal to deny a suspect bond.

The group’s executive director says that anyone who is afforded bail for a local offense has the right to post it. Instead, family members of illegal immigrants are being advised not to bother because their arrested loved one will be deported anyways and the cash posted for the bond will be lost.

Many New Mexico bond businesses refuse bail for illegal immigrants because they know the federal government will deport them anyways. Suspects determined to be in the U.S. illegally are transferred from local jails to the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, making the bond irrelevant.

The immigrant rights group insists that bail be granted to all illegal aliens, however. This is the same group that boasts about helping at least 20,000 illegal immigrants obtain drivers licenses in New Mexico, one of a handful of states that doesn’t require applicants to prove legal status in the U.S. to obtain the coveted cards.

This, of course, presents a huge national security threat. In fact a few months ago federal agents busted a major smuggling operation in which illegal immigrants from “special interest” countries obtained licenses in New Mexico. Authorities said illegal immigrants form countries considered by the U.S. government to be a national security threat flocked to New Mexico to exploit its notoriously lax drivers license system.


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