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Survey Details Hardships Facing N.M. Hispanic And Immigrant Families During COVID

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While many in New Mexico are experiencing economic hardships during the pandemic, a new study released Tuesday, June 30, focused on its impact on Hispanic families. The results show widespread pay cuts, layoffs, and small savings accounts depleted. While some have turned to unemployment benefits or federal stimulus money to get by, undocumented immigrants are not eligible for those supports. New Mexico lawmakers are asking the state’s congressional delegation to work to include undocumented immigrants in the next round of federal relief.

The survey conducted by the national research firm Latino Decisions showed that one in five Hispanic families in New Mexico had someone in their home lose their job due to COVID-19. And for those who’ve kept their jobs, about half saw their hours or pay reduced. A similar amount were working essential jobs ­– often for low pay – and more than half of the immigrants in the study were doing that frontline work.

Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber spoke during the press conference that announced the survey’s findings. “What the data from this study says to me,” he said, “is that those who are among the most essential in our community are also among the most vulnerable.”

The survey, which was commissioned by local immigrant and child advocacy organizations Partnership for Community Action, Somos Un Pueblo Unido, NM Voices for Children, El CENTRO de Igualdad y Derechos, Comunidades de Fe en Acción (CAFé) and Abriendo Puertas, also found around half of Hispanic families in New Mexico had $1,000 or less in savings and about a third had already burned through it. 

Mayor Webber is one of 45 local elected officials who signed onto a letter urging New Mexico’s congressional delegation to push for the next federal coronavirus relief package to include eligibility for all New Mexicans regardless of immigration status.

Public-private partnerships in the states of California and Connecticut have provided one-time direct payments to some undocumented residents. 

Nash Jones (they/them) is a general assignment reporter in the KUNM newsroom and the local host of NPR's All Things Considered (weekdays on KUNM, 5-7 p.m. MT). You can reach them at nashjones@kunm.org or on Twitter @nashjonesradio.
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