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LULAC Applauds New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson For Signing HB 428, Prohibiting Racial Profiling In The State

April 8, 2009

Contact:
Lizette Jenness Olmos (202) 365-4553

New Mexico will join 23 other states in banning profiling practices by law enforcement officers and agencies.

Washington, DC - The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the largest and oldest Hispanic civil rights organization, is pleased that New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson signed House Bill 428 into law accompanied by LULAC leadership in Santa Fe yesterday.

“The new law makes it illegal for law enforcement officers to investigate anyone relying solely on the person's race, ethnicity, color or national origin among a list of other things," said LULAC National President Rosa Rosales. "We hope other states will follow in banning racial profiling."

"Forty five years ago the Civil Rights Act was passed yet in America the struggle for equality and justice continues to this day,” said LULAC Vice President for the Southwest Ray Mancera. "Thanks to State Rep. Nathan Cote, sponsor of the bill, and Governor Bill Richardson for signing it into law, New Mexico stands tall for passage of this bill banning bias based profiling!"

"This will send a strong message to communities like Roswell and Chaparral that racial profiling is unacceptable and has no place in the state of New Mexico," said LULAC New Mexico State Director Pablo Martinez. "The Roswell Mayor and Chief of Police have placed the Hispanic community in fear by implementing such egregious policies that not only promote and condone racial profiling, but encourage the victimization of immigrants because most of these immigrants will be discouraged to report crimes in fear of reprisal and deportation. Roswell's current practice is bad policy. With this new law in effect, in communities like Roswell and Chaparral, there will be some light at the end of the tunnel."

"This is a positive step in the right direction by prohibiting discriminatory practices against people of color. We thank Representative Nathan Cote, the New Mexico Legislature and Governor Bill Richardson for making a strong effort to end a practice that has caused poor race relations with law enforcement agencies," said LULAC National President for Youth Jessica I. Martinez."This will set a major milestone not only in the state of New Mexico but throughout the nation. It proves New Mexico is a leader when it comes to promoting positive race relations in the entire country."

The bill also allows for oversight and investigation of profiling complaints by the Attorney General's office.

The League of United Latin American Citizens advances the economic condition, educational attainment, political influence, health, housing and civil rights of Hispanic Americans through community-based programs operating at more than 700 LULAC councils nationwide.

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