During a talk Thursday night sponsored by Albuquerque-based New Mexico Voices for Children, Harris, a longtime New Mexico resident, said he wonders how far along the U.S. has come since 1968, when the group released its findings. He noted the civil, racial and political unrest in the nation this year in the wake of the death of George Floyd, a Black man killed during a May 25 arrest in Minneapolis.
“What is the kind of state that we want to create for our children now and our grandchildren and great grandchildren?” he said. “What are the ways we need to invest in New Mexico’s people in order to make that desired future happen?”
Nearly half reported that members of their families had seen reduced hours or pay cuts, with one in three parents or primary caregivers saying they were struggling to meet rent or mortgage payments. 36 percent of respondents who had lost work were not eligible for unemployment benefits.
"New Mexico has a deep history with police brutality that culminated recently in the Department of Justice requiring the City of Albuquerque to reform the police force in the state's largest city, following a report that found a majority of police-involved shootings they investigated were unconstitutional."
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.”
“There is a real inconsistency in promoting the (Council on Racial Justice) on the one hand and trying to have the lawsuit dismissed on the other,” said James Jimenez, executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children. “The lawsuit is about racial equity.”
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.
NM Voices contends the lack of financial assistance immigrants will receive during the COVID-19 crisis will lead to a loss in economic activity in areas of the state with higher immigrant populations, exacerbating a growing economic crisis in those areas. The report lists ways immigrants are under-served during an emergency like a pandemic.