NEW MEXICO IMMIGRANT’S RIGHTS GROUP REACTS TO TRUMP ADMINISTRATION’S ANNOUNCEMENT TO END DACA
September 5, 2017
SANTA FE, NM - Earlier today, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced President Trump's decision to effectively end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program, fulfilling a campaign promise and creating widespread emotional and financial uncertainty across the country.
DACA is an Obama-era immigration policy that allows undocumented young people, including hundreds of thousands of workers and students who have lived in the US since childhood, to apply for a renewable two-year work permit and protection from deportation.
Effective immediately the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will no longer accept new applications. Those whose DACA permits expire between now and March 5, 2018, can apply for a two-year renewal by October 5th.
"Choosing to end DACA is a senseless policy shift and a severe blow to states like New Mexico, especially given our state's precarious economic situation," said Marcela Díaz, Executive Director of Somos Un Pueblo Unido. "If thousands of workers and students who have DACA lose their jobs and are detained or deported, income loss will impact entire families, including thousands of U.S. citizen children. Public and private sector employers will suffer, especially in the education and health care industries. And reduced revenue from local and state taxes will hurt all New Mexicans. Now more than ever we need to protect and enact stronger sanctuary policies at the local level to ensure that families are not separated and that our economy is not further jeopardized by this administration."
"We will not be discouraged," said Edgar Agustin Marquez Ochoa, father of two US citizen children and a DACA recipient who worked in construction before getting a job at a local credit union in Santa Fe. "Because of DACA I was able to go back to school, get a GED and get a better paying job to provide for my family. We will continue to fight for a better life."
Griselda Macías, a 28-year old who has lived in Portales since she was 14 said on Tuesday: "When I graduated from high school I had to work to help support my family instead of going to college. Before DACA, I was waiting tables making $13,000 a year. After getting a work permit, I was able to apply at a local cheese factory, and now I make $40,000 a year. DACA allowed me to help my parents buy a house and pay for my younger brother's college tuition. Seven of my siblings have DACA. We don't know what's going to happen to our family, but we do know that we will keep working to defend our communities and fight anti-immigrant racism."
New Mexico has long benefited from integrative "sanctuary" policies ensuring that immigrant families, workers and youth are not discriminated against based on their immigration status. Over 22 jurisdictions have policies restricting local law enforcement cooperation with ICE, and the state continues to afford immigrants driver's licenses and in-state tuition and financial aid to immigrant students.
"This is not the end," said Laura Murillo-Melendez, a DACA recipient who works at a bakery in Portales and is a member of Somos Portales, the affiliate of Somos Un Pueblo Unido in Roosevelt County. "DACA has allowed me to help my family and pay for school. We are not going to give up. We will continue working to make our local immigration policies more protective and more humane."
Facts about the impact of DACA on New Mexico:
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.