STATEWIDE EFFORT TO REACH RURAL IMMIGRANTS ELIGIBLE FOR ADMINISTRATIVE RELIEF LAUNCHED THIS WEEK
JANUARY 9, 2015
SANTA FE, NM--As Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives continue their efforts to stymie President Obama's executive actions on immigration in Washington, Somos Un Pueblo Unido, New Mexico's statewide immigrant's rights organization, is going full steam ahead with a series of forums to reach rural and semi-urban immigrants with information about the President's Deferred Action for Parent Accountability (DAPA) program.
DAPA would provide relief from deportation and work authorization to thousands of immigrants in rural communities where they are deeply rooted and have long been a positive economic force. These educational forums are meant to provide workers and families with much needed information in geographic areas where there are few to no legal services and in some cases, no immigrant-friendly agencies or institutions.
"We are confident that the DAPA program will go into effect despite the Republicans' antics in Congress, so we are moving forward. At this point, we are just trying to prepare communities with accurate information about DAPA eligibility requirements and the documents they should be collecting now in order to apply when the program is implemented in May," said Gabriela Ibañez Guzmán, staff attorney at Somos' United Worker Center of New Mexico. "At our first forum in Roswell last month, close to 100 immigrant families came seeking information with much excitement and hope. This will have a big impact for workers and their children."
Somos membership teams across the state have joined forces with Casa Reina (Gallup), the Adelante program of the Santa Fe Public Schools, Catholic Charities of Central New Mexico, and the Colonias Development Council (based in Las Cruces) to provide community education and eventually, low-cost or no-cost legal services to DAPA eligible workers who are parents of US Citizen and Legal Permanent Resident children.
Immigrants, most of whom live in mixed-status families with U.S. citizen children born in New Mexico, play a critical role in the state's workforce and business community. The majority are between the ages of 18 and 44, have lived in the state for more than 10 years, and work in several of the state's key industries: agriculture, construction, the service sector, home health care, and oil and gas. There is also a growing and thriving set of students and small business owners.
An estimated 40,000 New Mexico residents are expected to qualify for work authorization and relief from deportation under DAPA. This could have a significant impact on New Mexico's economy, potentially increasing wages and buying power, expanding local and state tax bases, spurring first-time home purchases, creating more locally-based small businesses, and increasing demand for financial services.
"New Mexico has long recognized the positive economic and cultural contribution of immigrants, and state policy makers have taken bold action, like providing drivers' licenses, to ensure we are integrated into the state's economy," added Alejandra Seluja, Somos board member and an economic and community development consultant. "DAPA will further the economic development of not only rural communities, but the entire state."
WHAT: Statewide DAPA Educational Forums focusing on rural and semi-urban communities in NM
WHO: Somos Un Pueblo Unido, Casa Reina, Adelante, Catholic Charities and the Colonias Development Council
WHERE & WHEN: Our membership teams scheduled informational forums in the following communities:
Saturday, January 10th - 6pm at the St. Francis Catholic School (411 W. Wilson Ave.)
Thursday, January 15th - 6pm at the Lincoln Jackson Center (206 Alphon St.)
Saturday, January 17th - 6pm at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church (914 S. Selman St.)
Saturday, January 17th - 5:30pm at Holy Cross (Santa Cruz de la Canada) Parish (100 Church St. Santa Cruz, NM)
Tuesday, January 20th - 7:00 PM at Our Lady Guadalupe Church (417 Agua Fria St.)
Friday, January 23rd - 6pm at San Juan Diego Church (621 Meadowlake Rd.)
A listing of future DAPA events can be found on Somos Un Pueblo Unido's website at www.somosunpueblounido.org.
Somos Un Pueblo Unido is a statewide civil and worker's rights organization with membership teams in ten New Mexico counties and offices in Santa Fe and Roswell.
© 2014 SOMOS UN PUEBLO UNIDO