Groups prepare immigrants for possible raids in New Mexico

First wave of Central American immigrants leave Artesia

ALBUQUERQUE (AP) – Advocacy groups in New Mexico said Thursday they were preparing immigrant families for possible raids by federal authorities targeting people suspected of being in the U.S. illegally.

No raids have been reported so far in the state but sweeps elsewhere in the country, including Texas, have raised concerns.

Albuquerque-based El Centro de Igualdad y Derechos said activists were holding workshops to educate immigrants about their rights.

“Although we have not seen an increase in ICE activities in Albuquerque, the tactic of using raids across the nation to target Central American women and children who are fleeing violence instills a pervasive fear in immigrant communities,” said Rachel LaZar, executive director of the organization.

Robert Heyman, of the El Paso, Texas-based Border Network for Human Rights, also said his group was helping prepare immigrants in southern New Mexico.

Leticia Zamarripa, a spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security, said immigration authorities conduct routine enforcement every day but she couldn’t comment about any activities in New Mexico.

Immigration agents began conducting raids this month aiming to deport families who flocked across the border with Mexico over the past two years.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson has said immigration agents sought out people who had exhausted all appropriate legal remedies in their efforts to stay in this country.

After two days of raids, 121 people from Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico were arrested primarily in Texas, Georgia and North Carolina.

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