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:

  • In 2005, New Mexico passed legislation with strong bipartisan support that allows undocumented students who grew up in New Mexico to access in-state tuition and state financial aid. By choosing not to discriminate against New Mexico's young people based on their immigration status and investing in their training and education instead, our state was in a much better position to maximize the benefits of DACA when it was implemented in 2012.
  • Today we are reaping the fruits of Senate Bill 582. Thousands of undocumented immigrant youth have enrolled in vocational training programs and higher education institutions. According to data from the Migration Policy Institute, the number of immigrants in New Mexico with a college degree increased by 42.7% between 2000 and 2011, propelled in great part by growing access to public higher education institutions and Senate Bill 582.
  • DACA allowed more than 6,800 of young people to come forward, pass background checks, and live and work legally in various fields (USCIS figures).
  • Many of those who benefited from Senate Bill 582 were already prepared to become bilingual lawyers, nurses, social workers, teachers, counselors, and other vocations when DACA went into effect. Most importantly, they stayed in New Mexico.
  • DACA recipients improved the economic status of thousands of working families in urban and rural communities throughout the state and they helped filled job shortages in key industries such as health care, education, human services and STEM fields.
  • Ending DACA and not allowing current DACA recipients to renew their status will cost New Mexico more than $384.6 million in annual GDP losses according to a 2017 report by the Center for American Progress "A New Threat to DACA Could Cost States Billions of Dollars."
  • The end of DACA will also disrupt New Mexico businesses, local governments, and nonprofit organizations that have hired these bicultural and bilingual workers. These employers will bear the costs associated with the termination and replacement of employees.
  • Ending DACA will not only lead to separation and devastation of New Mexico's 200,000 mixed status families, it could also plunge those families into debt and economic uncertainty.
  • It will also lead to reduced tax contributions to the state. As a result of improved job opportunities and wage increases, DACA workers have contributed nearly $19 million in local and state tax contributions since 2012 according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. $11 million of those local tax contributions

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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.

 

 

CONTACT US

1804 Espinacitas St.

Santa Fe, NM 87505

Telephone: 505-424-7832

Email: somos@somosunpueblounido.org

 

 

1717 W. 2nd St. Ste. 203

Roswell, NM 88201

Telephone: 575-622-4486

Email: somos@somosunpueblounido.org

 

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