90 New Mexican public officials are now urging Congress to step up and establish a path to citizenship for undocumented workers.
This cry comes as the Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the crucial role these workers play in our economy and the inequities these workers face when they are excluded from federal economic relief programs.
“Our blood lines are mixed. Our lives are intertwined. There’s a distinct interdependence that we can not forget the contributions of agricultural workers and the hospitality industry. We take those for granted.”
That’s Representative Roger Montoya of District 40. He is one of many state public officials asking Congress to work this proposal into the president’s Build Back Better plan. To him, this is a no-brainer.
“I could not say no in terms of linking arms in this fight for justice and equity.”
According to data from New Mexico Voices for Children, around 68,000 New Mexicans were left behind when it came to federal pandemic assistance. Barriers such as language and mixed-immigration status left families unable to access unemployment benefits, federal stimulus payments, and paid sick leave.
And to officials like Las Cruces City Councillor Gabriel Vasquez, timing is everything.
“Our hard-working advocates and communities have been fighting for this for decades with no result. And we have to seize these opportunities when they come – this is one of the biggest opportunities I have seen in the immigrant rights movement.”
It’s too early to speculate on the specifics of if or when this path to citizenship will become a reality for undocumented workers in New Mexico. But, advocacy groups like Somos Un Pueblo Unido are optimistic the next few weeks might bear good news.