Gov. Susana Martinez’s executive order authorizing state police officers to inquire about the immigration status of a person arrested on a criminal charge has fueled debate across the New Mexico.
Critics of the decision say it gives state police too much power and that rescinding the state’s sanctuary policy leaves room for racial profiling.
However, governor’s spokesman Scott Darnell said Monday’s decision — which revoked a policy signed by former Gov. Bill Richardson in 2005 — addresses a public-safety issue and fulfills a commitment Martinez made during her campaign.
“Governor Martinez believes that public safety is an important priority and this is a public safety issue, not an immigration issue,” Darnell said.
Darnell said the governor had discussed her decision with law-enforcement officials. He also noted her 13 years of experience as a district attorney in Doña Ana County, where local law officers aren’t bound by a sanctuary policy.