But according to New Mexico Voices for Children, 51 percent of adults in households with children in New Mexico have lost employment since March. “We were really surprised to see how high that number is, but we know it points to a weakness that already exists,” she said.
In 2004, Lujan Grisham became health secretary for then-Gov. Bill Richardson. James Jimenez, executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children, remembers her well. He served as secretary of the Department of Finance and Administration before becoming Richardson’s chief of staff. “She was kind of a pain, but only in the sense that she was a terrific advocate and didn’t want to let go until she knew that she absolutely had to,” Jimenez said.
James Jimenez, executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children, says the congressional impasse over a comprehensive immigration bill left approximately 6,000 New Mexico DACA recipients in limbo. "The main reason we have DACA is because of the failure of the Congress to be able to pass meaningful immigration reform, which is really putting families in a very challenging, very harmful position," he states.
Trump sought to end the program by questioning whether former President Barack Obama had overstepped his authority by creating the program through executive order. James Jimenez, executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children, called Trump’s efforts ironic. “The irony is that the Trump administration never misses an opportunity to claim no limits to what the president can do,” Jimenez said.
“The fight to end this program that has allowed me to make my dreams come true is rooted in racism and xenophobia.” She urged lawmakers to come up with a permanent solution. And James Jimenez, executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children, said DACA “is not a path to citizenship, and making it one must be our goal moving forward.”
Like all great social upheaval, change will not occur until it is demanded. Those in power must see that fundamental reform is the only way they can keep their power and that, if they resist, they will be replaced. That means getting angry and channeling the anger constructively. It means taking to the streets and protesting peacefully. And most of all, it means voting. Voting for candidates who are committed to dismantling structural racism in all our institutions.
“Big power shifts like this don’t happen very often, and when they do, they can result in significant changes in the priorities of a legislative body,” said James Jimenez, executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children, an advocacy group for improving childhood well-being.
For the most part, I found New Mexico’s social workers to be kind, strong individuals. It also seemed evident that they are being asked to do one of the most difficult jobs in state government. Helping to decide the fate of children is no small matter, and even the best-intentioned decisions can go terribly wrong.
"It's really easy to do," he said. "You can do it online, you can do it by mail, you can do it over the phone -- and all of those ways will ensure that no one ends up knocking on your door, so you can continue to self-isolate if that's important to you."
“Ensuring an accurate census count is crucial for improving child well-being in our state because so much of the funding for health, education, and food security programs that New Mexico kids depend upon is determined by the census,” said Amber Wallin, deputy director of New Mexico Voices for Children.