A Language Barrier Is Preventing Immigrant and Refugee Communities From Getting Pandemic Relief

Aug 23, 2021

During the pandemic, many relied on government relief to make ends meet. But, new research shows New Mexico’s Asian/Pacific Islander and African immigrants and refugees were left behind. New Mexico Voices For Children talks about how we can create more inclusive systems as the pandemic rages on.

New Mexico Voices for Children recently released their Eligible But Excluded report, which focuses on the state’s Asian/Pacific Isander and African immigrant and refugee communities. 

"1 in 8 kids in our state has an immigrant parent. We are facing so many challenges and our kids are at the forefront of that. We want to ensure that  our kids can thrive, we have to ensure that our families can thrive."

That’s Deputy Director Amber Wallen. She says the report has found that many people and their families were eligible for crucially needed pandemic relief, but were shut out because of a language barrier that essentially kept them from accessing the social safety net. 

Wallin says the hope is to move towards a more inclusive New Mexico, by the way of policy reform. 

Just last week, a legislative committee considered a language access bill and Wallin is hopeful that the 2022 session will lead the state in a more equitable direction that’s representative of all residents.