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BernCo Commission Approves Resolution to Strengthen Non-Discrimination Policies


The Bernalillo County Board of Commissioners tonight approved a resolution to strengthen non-discrimination policies by safeguarding sensitive information, establishing a records policy ensuring that county resources are not used to assist in the enforcement of federal immigration laws and also establishing a policy limiting access to county-owned and operated non-public property.

In March 2017, the County Commission passed resolution AR 2017-22 titled, “Opposing the Enactment of Federal Legislation Calling for State and Local Police to Enforce Federal Immigration Laws,” that states that “The county reaffirms that no county resources will be used to identify and apprehend persons solely based on their immigration status and AR 2017-22 strengthened Bernalillo County’s status as “immigrant-friendly” and affirmed that “no municipal resources shall be used, including members of the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department, to identify individual’s immigration status or apprehend persons on the sole basis of status, unless otherwise required by law to do so.”

“According to the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC), as of Jan. 21, 2019, 20 federal court decisions in the nine lawsuits over federal funding sided with “immigrant-friendly” cities and states against the Trump administration, ruling that adding immigration enforcement conditions to federal grants was illegal,” says Commissioner Steven Michael Quezada. “At least 120 communities have enacted policies which limit assistance with the enforcement of federal immigration law and 28 states have at least one jurisdiction that enacted such policies in just the last two years.”

Here are a few highlights of the new resolution:

  • County agencies, departments, officers, employees, contractors, or agents shall not disclose any sensitive information about any person which came into the employee’s possession during the course and scope of that employee’s work for the County of Bernalillo, except in order to provide a county service, carry out a function of county government, to assist the judicial branch of our state, including state courts, state district attorneys, and state public defenders, in response to a written request for records under the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act where such information is not otherwise exempted, (§§14-2-1 et seq. NMSA 1978), or as otherwise compelled by law.
  • Sensitive personal information means: social security number or individual tax identification number or lack of such numbers, an inmate’s custody release date, a person’s place and date of birth, a person’s status as a recipient of public assistance or as a crime victim, a person’s home or work address, a person’s employment information, a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, physical or mental disability, religion, or national origin.
  • In addition to the exceptions listed above, the custody release date for an inmate of the Metropolitan Detention Center may also be released in response to a request from the inmate’s attorney, bondsman, or family member.
  • No Bernalillo County employee, or any third party on its behalf, shall make or initiate any inquiry regarding the immigration status, citizenship, country of origin/place of birth, or nationality of an individual, except as required by law, including, without limitation, to determine eligibility for a federal benefit or program administered by the county.
  • Bernalillo County officers, employees, contractors and agents shall not use county resources, including but not limited to moneys, equipment, technology, personnel, or county facilities, to assist in or otherwise facilitate the enforcement of federal immigration law. The prohibition set forth in this section shall include but is not limited to:
  1. Identifying, investigating, apprehension, arresting, detaining, or continuing to detain a person solely on the individual’s immigration status or the belief that the person has committed a violation of immigration law.
  2. Detaining or continuing to detain a person in response to, or acting upon or responding to, an immigration detainer, or federal administrative warrant that is based solely on a violation of federal immigration law.
  3. Notifying any federal immigration enforcement agency about the release date or pending release date, contact information, or other sensitive information of any person in custody.
  4. Enforcing any federal program requiring the registration of individuals on the basis of religious affiliation or ethnic or national origin.
  • Bernalillo County shall refuse access to all non-public areas of their property and facilities by federal immigration agents, for the purpose of enforcing federal immigration law, who do not present a judicial warrant (not an administrative warrant) issued specifically requiring provision of such access.

The County Commission supports the equal treatment of all people and states that everyone who lives within the county shall have full access to all county services with respect and dignity, including public safety services and programs, regardless of their race, disability, national origin, gender identity, religion, sex, sexual orientation, ethnicity, economic or immigration status, in addition to any other protected classes under local, state or federal law.

The resolution was approved by a 5-0 vote.

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