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Tuesday, November 28, 2000

Immigrant Plan Would Offer Aid

By Olivier Uyttebrouck
Albuquerque Journal Staff Writer

A measure that would create a city office to help undocumented workers find services such as housing and health care cleared a hurdle Monday when a committee sent the resolution to the City Council.

Councilor Hess Yntema's resolution also would declare Albuquerque "immigrant friendly" and forbid police and other officials from using city funds to identify or apprehend undocumented immigrants.

"We just want to be part of this community," said Claudia Medina, executive director of Enlace Comunitaro, a group that helps domestic abuse victims.

Rachel Lazar, a case manager for Enlace Comunitaro, said immigrants often feel trapped in violent relationships because they fear deportation if they ask for medical treatment, housing or police protection.

Yntema's bill would help lessen fear that Albuquerque police officers would arrest a woman who asks for help, she said.

The bill would appropriate $50,000 for a resource program intended to help documented and undocumented immigrants and their families find housing, health care, credit, insurance and other services.

The council's Finance and Governmental Operations Committee voted 5-0 to send the resolution to the full City Council without recommendation.

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