Immigrant Leaders from Across New Mexico Head to Washington D.C. to Join Rally Ahead of Inauguration, Showcase Local Sanctuary Policies that Defend Immigrants from Looming Trump Administration
January 12, 2017
Santa Fe - Today, a delegation of immigrant leaders from five New Mexico counties will travel to Washington D.C. to participate in a national rally to protect immigrants and refugees ahead of President-elect Trump's inauguration ceremony. The group will also meet with members of New Mexico's Congressional delegation to discuss local and federal immigration issues.
Leaders from Santa Fe, Rio Arriba, San Juan, Chaves and McKinley counties also intend on showcasing their years of work in defending their families from deportation and integrating them into every aspect of life in their local communities.
"New Mexico has some of the oldest and strongest policies that protect and integrate immigrant families," said Marcela Díaz, Executive Director of Somos Un Pueblo Unido. "New Mexico is a stronger state because of it, and we will continue defending what our families have built in the face of extreme threats by the incoming administration."
The Trump administration has promised to use its powers to deport millions of immigrants, target "sanctuary" communities, and end President Obama's executive action that protects millions of immigrant youth known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
Somos' delegation will meet with members of the Congressional delegation to share stories about the positive impact of local non-discrimination policies, otherwise known as "sanctuary" policies, on their lives and communities, and how ending them could destroy the trust and progress they have made with local government officials and law enforcement.
Before leaving for D.C., members of Somos from Santa Fe and Española also met for a breakfast meeting with elected officials from four Santa Fe governments that all have non-discrimination and sanctuary policies in northern New Mexico.
Itinerary of the delegation:
Thursday, January 12th
8:00 a.m. Send off and breakfast meeting with elected officials from the City and County of Santa Fe, the Santa Fe Public School Board, and Santa Fe Community College Board.
Friday, January 13th
Meetings with congressional leaders in Washington D.C.
Saturday, January 14th
Participate in national rally for immigrants and refugees at AME Church sponsored by several national immigrant's rights organizations.
The delegation includes:
Guadalupe Lopez - Rio Arriba County
Guadalupe Lopez is originally from Coahuila, Mexico and is a mother of three children, one of whom is a U.S. citizen. She has been living in Españolafor over nine years and is a member of Somos Española, the local Somos Un Pueblo Unido affiliate. Guadalupe is also a small business owner. In 2015, she was part of the successful campaign to push the Española City Council to become New Mexico's latest sanctuary city by adopting a new policy prohibiting law enforcement from investigating immigration status as part of a broader bias-based policing policy. She also helped Rio Arriba County create non-discriminatory jail policies.
"We're going to Washington D.C. to send the new administration a message," said Guadalupe López. "We're going to protect our families and our entire community. We will continue to do what we have always done, organize!"
Sergio Herrera - San Juan County
Sergio is originally from Durango, Mexico and is the father of three U.S. citizen children. He is an oil field worker who has been living in Farmington for over 10 years and is a member of Familias Unidas por Justicia, the local Somos Un Pueblo Unido affiliate. In 2010, he was placed in deportation proceedings after being stopped by the local police for a minor traffic violation. The experience prompted him, and many other immigrants who were seeing their families being suddenly separated by the collaboration between local law enforcement and federal immigration officials, to begin fighting back. Since then immigrant families, and their allies, in San Juan County have reduced the number of people detained by ICE and are currently suing the local jail for illegally detaining residents on ICE holds.
"In Farmington, we are already living what the incoming Trump administration is threatening to do," said Sergio Herrera, an oil field worker, father of three US Citizen children and longtime member of Familias Unidas Por Justicia. "That is why I am going to Washington D.C., to share how we are fighting back locally and despite all the uncertainty and everything going against our community, we will continue to fight and win."
Sandra & Jose Francisco Olivas - McKinley County
Sandra and Jose are originally from Ciudad Juarez and have two children, one of which is a U.S. Citizen. They both work in construction and have been living in Gallup for over 16 years. Sandra and Jose are longtime members of Somos Gallup, the local Somos Un Pueblo Unido affiliate, and have been fighting alongside other immigrant families to prevent wage theft in their community. Jose, like many other workers, experienced wage theft after his employer refused to pay him for a portion of the hours he worked.
"Our families will feel the threat of deportation in our jobs too," said Sandra Olivas, longtime resident of Gallup and member of Somos Gallup. "Workers are more vulnerable to wage theft, discrimination and other workplace violations if the threat of deportation is present as the incoming administration has promised. That is why I'm going to Washington D.C. to make sure we continue to fight back."
Veronica Velasquez - Santa Fe County
Veronica Velasquez is originally from Michoacán, Mexico and is the mother of a U.S. Citizen son. She has lived in Santa Fe for over 10 years and is a longtime member of Somos Un Pueblo Unido's United Worker Center. Veronica and other immigrant families in Santa Fe are working to pass a city resolution that would not only reaffirm the City's sanctuary status but strengthen it with new policies aimed at further integrating immigrants into every aspect of the Santa Fe community. Among several issues outlined in the resolution, are provisions to increase language access for non-English speaking residents, institute a clearer confidentiality directive to city employees about residents' immigration status, and city-coordinated community education regarding civil rights to families, youth, business owners and workers.
"I'm going to represent those of us who already live in sanctuary cities but are working to strengthening our local sanctuary polices," said Veronica Velasquez, a longtime immigrant worker in Santa Fe, mother of a U.S. Citizen child, and member of Somos Un Pueblo Unido's United Worker Center. "Our immigrant families have been part of this community for years and we are not going to let the looming Trump administration tear down what we've built here and divide our community, that is why we working very hard to strengthen those polices."
Laura Valle - Santa Fe County
Laura is originally from Ciudad Juarez and is the mother of three U.S. Citizen children. She has lived in Santa Fe for over 24 years. She joined the United Worker Center after experiencing wage theft at her job as a hotel worker. Laura is also involved in efforts to pass a city resolution that would not only reaffirm the City's sanctuary status but strengthen it with new policies aimed at further integrating immigrants into every aspect of the Santa Fe community.
"We're going to Washington D.C. to rally and march to protect all families," said Laura Valle, longtime worker in Santa Fe and mother of three U.S. citizen children. "All families because what the new administration has promised to do will not only affect immigrants, but entire communities will feel the negative effects."
Vanessa Tarango - Chaves County
Vanessa is originally from Long Beach, CA and is the mother of three children. She has lived in Roswell for over 21 years and is a longtime member of Somos Roswell, the local Somos Un Pueblo Unido affiliate. Vanessa has been involved in fighting for immigrants' rights in Chaves County, helping eligible immigrants become U.S. citizens and increasing voter turnout.
"I'm going to Washington D.C. to speak with our congressional leaders so we can work together to defend our local communities against the incoming administration," said Vanessa Tarango, longtime member of Somos Roswell and mother of three children. "Our rural economies and our very future depend on immigrants. We cannot allow any administration to divide us and make the lives of everyone in our community that much harder."
To interview members of Somos' delegation to Washington, please contact Neza at (505) 307-5034, firstname.lastname@example.org
Somos Un Pueblo Unido is a statewide immigrant-led civil and worker's rights organization with membership teams in ten counties and offices in Santa Fe and Roswell.