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Corruption Chronicles

N.M. Prison Clerk In Trouble For Calling ICE

A prison clerk in a U.S. border state that has long offered illegal immigrants sanctuary has been reprimanded—and may be fired—for notifying federal authorities about arrested illegal aliens brought to the facility.

The records clerk (Clara Aguilar) at Valencia County Detention Center in New Mexico says her job is on the line for assisting state police officers who requested she call Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) regarding newly apprehended illegal aliens. Since 2007, the county facility has notified the federal agency about illegal immigrant arrestees but the system abruptly changed recently. 

Anytime she called immigration officials, Aguilar said, she would be “written up” even though its part of a clerk’s duties. Recently her supervisor instructed her not to make anymore calls to ICE, even when a state police officer requests it. Prison officials refuse to disclose details, but claim Aguilar is in trouble for not following procedure. 

With at least four (Albuquerque, Aztec, Rio Arriba County and Santa Fe) official illegal immigrant sanctuary cities or counties, New Mexico is one of ten states in the nation that offers undocumented aliens discounted tuition at public colleges and universities and one of seven that gives them official driver’s licenses. 

That brilliant measure was signed into law by New Mexico’s notoriously corrupt governor, Bill Richardson, in 2003. It has contributed to widespread fraud, including a smuggling operation busted by the FBI last May involving 10 illegal immigrants who used fake documents to get New Mexico driver’s licenses.  


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