Congresswoman Deb Haaland (NM-01) recently met with New México Dream Team and the New México Immigrant Law Center (NMILC) to learn more about their efforts to support immigrant youth and their families and hear about NMILC’s role offering legal services to immigrants in detention. During the roundtable Haaland discussed the need to continue to fight for bold legislative changes that include our immigrant community and restore humanity to our immigration system, ensuring the United States stops needlessly detaining those who pose no risk to the public, and whose health is risked by keeping them in detention.
“Our immigrant families are major contributors to our state’s economy and the fabric of our communities, yet this administration continues to take actions to incite fear and anxiety among families who are just seeking a better life for themselves and their children,” said Congresswoman Deb Haaland. “The stories shared during this roundtable reinforce the need to pass the Dream and Promise Act, fight for comprehensive immigration reform, and continue our oversight of this administration to ensure human rights are protected.”
“Today more than ever, it is imperative that all New México elected leaders stand up to protect all of our communities from the deportation machine and this virus, as well as ensuring all New Mexicans have the chance to thrive and participate in our economy.”
Felipe Rodríguez, Campaign Director NM Dream Team
During the roundtable, the New México Immigrant Law Center explained the difficulties the organization has had receiving answers from ICE facilities about the families being detained, and have been working to ensure proper safety and health protocols are in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The New México Dream Team shared how Dreamers help fill shortages in health care, education, and trade professions through professional and occupational license that the New Mexico legislature passed last year.
“We are grateful for Congresswoman Haaland’s leadership on immigration issues in our state and nationally. At a time when COVID-19 has highlighted the all too many harsh realities that xenophobic and ill-conceived immigration policies have had on our communities, it is more important now, than ever that we reenvision a world where everyone in our community can live with dignity and respect, regardless of immigration status. We look forward to continue working with Representative Haaland to push for more inclusive policies that center our shared values of community, dignity and inclusion,” said Adriel Orozco, NMILC Executive Director.
“Today we shared the stories of members of our community that have been detained on inhumane circumstances in our own state by ICE and CBP with Rep. Haaland. How the immigrant detention industry is hurting New Mexican communities by putting profits over the safety of immigrants in their facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. We also shared the stories of brave immigrant youth that are becoming licensed professionals and are ready to put their skills into practice and care for our communities. Immigrant communities and communities of color have been hit the hardest by this pandemic. We have learned that unless we are all on this together our state will never fully recover. Today more than ever, it is imperative that all New México elected leaders stand up to protect all of our communities from the deportation machine and this virus, as well as ensuring all New Mexicans have the chance to thrive and participate in our economy,” said Felipe Rodríguez, Campaign Director NM Dream Team.
Haaland recognizes the importance of immigrants to New México’s communities. In April, Haaland joined the a call for the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Customs and Border Protection to release non-violent detainees after learning the Department has no serious plan to address overcrowding in detention facilities in order to minimize the spread of the novel coronavirus and free up sufficient space for effective quarantining. Haaland is a co-sponsor of the Coronavirus Immigrant Families Protection Act which would, among other provisions, help ensure that all communities are able to access COVID-19 testing and treatment, and other relief services provided in coronavirus relief legislation. Haaland signed on to the Immigration Enforcement Moratorium Act, which halts deportations of noncitizens during the COVID-19 pandemic and provides for release on orders of supervision for people who have received removal orders to prevent prolonged post-removal-order detention.
In addition, Haaland is a lead on the HEAL Act, a bill that addresses barriers to healthcare access for immigrants in the United States by removing the five year bar that immigrants must wait before becoming eligible for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), enabling undocumented folks to purchase health insurance plans from the marketplace made available by the Affordable Care Act, and restoring Medicaid eligibility for COFA migrants. Last year, Haaland co-sponsored the Dream and Promise Act, a bill to protect our Dreamers, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) holders, allowing them to contribute fully to New México’s communities and the country while providing a pathway to citizenship. The bill passed the House in June of 2019, and remains at a standstill in the U.S. Senate under GOP leadership.
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