Governor Susana Martinez on Friday ordered the state corrections department to work with the federal government on immigration enforcement. President Trump’s Administration requested a list of foreign-born inmates late last month as part of a push to deport people who are in the U.S. illegally.
A representative from the Martinez Administration said it’s the first time Immigration and Customs Enforcement has asked New Mexico for this kind of information and they complied.
But Neza Leal of Somos Un Pueblo Unido says state corrections have been coordinating with ICE for years.
"We believe this announcement by the governor is sort of meant to curry favor with the Trump administration," Leal said.
Governor Martinez has criticized Trump’s rhetoric on illegal immigration. But her spokesman told the Associated Press the interviews would expedite the deportation of inmates who are living the country illegally.
According to the corrections department, there are 124 prison inmates in New Mexico who are foreign born. It’s unclear how many of them are in the U.S. illegally.