Las Cruces: a Welcoming City to Immigrants


Frontera Facts -- Las Cruces adopts historic resolution declaring itself a “Welcoming Community for Immigrants”committed to defending immigrant rights on International Migrants’ Day


On Monday, December 18, 2017, the Las Cruces City Council adopted Resolution 18-075,

declaring itself a “Welcoming Community ” and further affirming its status as an “immigrant-friendly city.” Further, Las Cruces displayed its commitment to the defense of the human rights of immigrant families and communities in the “city of crosses” (as Denise Chavez[1], the community’s veteran Latina writer and cultural activist describe it in a forthcoming novel).

December 18th is an especially appropriate day for the passage of this resolution since it is

widely observed throughout the world as “International Migrants Day” because it marks the

adoption in 1990 of the UN’s first human rights convention focused on the defense of the rights

of migrants. Namely, the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families [2].


By adopting this resolution, Las Cruces joins hundreds of other governmental entities (over 600

counties, some 39 cities[3]- such as New York, LA, Chicago, and Houston, among others, in

addition to at least 5 states[4], including California most recently[5] plus approximately 30 public

and private university campuses[6]). This, as well as hundreds of dioceses, congregations, and

faith-based communities[7] throughout the U.S that have opted to extend their protection,

sometimes framed explicitly or implicitly in terms of the concept of “sanctuary”, to 

undocumented and other immigrants affected or threatened by persecution due to intensified

enforcement efforts by federal authorities in the Trump era. 


What does the current landscape of immigration enforcement look like under Trump and how do policies and practices extending protection to undocumented immigrants seek to respond? The Las Cruces “Welcoming City” resolution provides some key points of departure for deeper analysis along these lines, a theme we will explore in future editions of Frontera Facts.

The Las Cruces resolution builds on local community-based initiatives that previously succeeded in obtaining the passage of similar resolutions and policies by the Doña Ana County Commission (in Feb. 2017) and the Las Cruces School Board (in December 2016, through the adoption of Resolution 2016-3, and of related policies in April 2017) in response to the local and national impact of ICE raids and other stepped up federal immigration enforcement activities. These in turn built on a series of municipal ordinances and policies that are explicitly evoked in the introductory and background texts to the resolution focused on the city’s commitment to an

the overall policy of non-discrimination (through the city’s human rights ordinance, LCMC 1997) and to its implementation within the context of “bias-free” policing (as in LCPD General Order 165 adopted in 2011 and revised in 2016, see the adopted text of Resolution 18-075).


Specific actions called for by the resolution include the City Council’s commitment to:

Hope Border Institute will be working closely with supporters of the resolution to ensure its

implementation, to participate in related community education and outreach activities, and to

share related experiences in Las Cruces and their lessons with colleagues, partners, advocates,

and communities elsewhere in the region.

For more information contact Camilo Perez-Bustillo, Advocacy, Research, and Leadership Development Director.