Las Cruces City Council unanimously passed a resolution on Monday supporting immigrant families from New Mexico seeking avenues to citizenship in the United States.
The immigrant families of New Mexico have the full support of Las Cruces City Council after a unanimous decision to create a better route to United States citizenship.
Councilor Johana Bencomo says the resolution calling on Congress to develop comprehensive immigration reform is a way to welcome important immigrants to the community and encourage federal action.
“It was very important for me to just reiterate and emphasize that Las Cruces has been a welcoming community for immigrants and people of all backgrounds for a very long time, but especially in recent years,” said Bencomo. “We are in a unique moment when Congress is currently discussing the use of another route to citizenship.”
This is not the first decision by the city council to advocate the rights of immigrant families. In 2017, the city council passed a resolution to allow immigrants to enter the Las Cruces community. Councilor Gill Sorg says the new resolution builds on previously passed policy.
“I’m really surprised that we haven’t done that in a long time,” said Sorg. “I think the welcoming resolution we had here three or so years ago was part of the whole process, but this road to citizenship is so important.”
Of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, about 60,000 live in New Mexico. According to the nonprofit New Mexico Voices For Children, this 60,000-strong group pays more than $ 67.7 million in state and local taxes annually.
In the city of Las Cruces, around 12% of the population is undocumented. Bencomo points out that many of these undocumented Las Cruces residents provided essential services during the height of the pandemic.
“Right now is a great moment to attract a number of people who have been key workers over the past two years,” said Bencomo. “They cannot be vital and deportable at the same time, and it is time for Congress to make a decision about our communities.”
Councilor Gabe Vasquez is also a strong advocate for immigration reform, highlighting the wide variety of skills that immigrant families bring to the local community.
“It’s not just our farm workers and our people who work in hotels and the hospitality industry,” said Vasquez. “But it’s our young students … the people who will add tremendous value by starting small businesses and also becoming teachers and professors. Immigrants are integrated into the fabric of our community and who we are. “
The proposed Build Back Better Act, which would involve an investment of $ 100 billion in the national immigration system, could make efforts to reduce backlogs, expand legal representation and make border processing more humane.
But efforts to create a better route to United States citizenship have been slow – Senate MP Elizabeth MacDonough recently turned down a plan to change the immigration register date from 1972 to 2010 due to Byrd’s rule, which would have allowed more immigrants to get green cards.
Vasquez insists that creating a better pathway to citizenship should be included in the final Build Back Better Act.
“We have ignored these people in our communities and the rights they deserve,” said Vasquez. “From our position as a border town here in Las Cruces, New Mexico, I think it is our duty to ensure that we show those in power, our Congress delegation, that we strongly support the inclusion of this policy in this Build Back Better.” Law.”