City council hires new city manager
By a unanimous vote on Monday, Oct. 3, the Las Cruces City Council approved the hiring of Stuart Ed as the new Las Cruces city manager.
Ed (rhymes with “deed”) was president/ CEO of Goodwill Industries of El Paso until July of this year, according to the City of Las Cruces. Since leaving that position, he has served as a consultant to the El Paso Independent School District.
“I think we got some great candidates presented to us,” Mayor Pro-Tem Greg Smith said.
“Two of the candidates, Ed and another finalist, Dan Biles from Jefferson County, Alabama, were “exceptional,” Smith said. “(Ed) would be the person who would most fit at this point.”
“We had two very well qualified candidates,” Councillor Gill Sorg said. “We interviewed them thoroughly. I think we have picked the better of the two,” he said.
“I don’t think we could have two better people,” Councillor Ceil Levatino said.
SEE MANAGER, PAGE 5 Police chief: ‘We do not enforce immigration law’
By BILLY HUNTSMAN
Las Cruces Bulletin
The Las Cruces City Council chambers recently hosted an immigration forum discussing the legalities of illegal and legal migration into the United States.
Jaime Montoya, chief of the Las Cruces Police Department, gave a presentation outlining LCPD’s priorities as an agency, which do not include arresting and deporting illegal immigrants strictly for immigration violations, he said.
“We (LCPD) do not enforce immigration law,” Montoya said at the forum on Sept. 29.
For example, if an illegal immigrant is pulled over and doesn’t have a driver’s license and/or registration, LCPD will not call Border Patrol to have the individual deported, Montoya said, because enforcing immigration law is not part of LCPD’s general orders.
Unless an illegal immigrant is in police custody following an arrest for a crime that falls under LCPD general orders, such as robbing a convenience store, LCPD will not enquire as to the person’s status in the country, he said.
“If you call dispatch and say, ‘My neighbor’s an illegal immigrant, can you go send the cops?’ We don’t do that,” Montoya said.
LCPD will only notify immigration authorities if an illegal immigrant is arrested for a non-immigration criminal violation such as aggravated assault or murder.
“The way we look at it is we don’t enforce immigration law, but if they’re here committing crime, we don’t want those people on our streets,” Montoya said.
LCPD also has general orders prohibiting bias-based policing, Montoya said.
“If I see someone who ‘looks’ like he’s an immigrant, ‘looks’ like he’s undocumented, we can’t stop someone just because they look like that,” Montoya said.
Other examples of bias-based policing include detaining an individual based on language, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, among others.
“When we make a stop for somebody, it has to be based on a crime, probable cause, reasonable suspicion,” Montoya said.
Misconceptions about local law enforcement’s role in enforcing immigration law often leads to exploitation of undocumented workers. Further, crimes may be committed by legal citizens and not reported to police by immigrants for fear of deportation, said Montoya.
To fix this issue, LCPD participates in the federal U-visa program, Montoya said.
“Any victim that wishes to report a crime that may be undocumented, they get a temporary U-visa,” said Montoya.
A U-visa legally allows an undocumented immigrant to remain in the United States, said Montoya, provided the victimized undocumented immigrant cooperates with law enforcement in investigating the crimes they reported.