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Let's Talk Essential (Undocumented) Workers

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Let's Talk New Mexico 5/13 8 am: Some of New Mexico’s immigrant workers are undocumented and often employed in low-paid but essential jobs, such as early childhood education. And, despite the myths to the contrary, they pay taxes! In 2017, undocumented workers paid almost $70 million in New Mexico state taxes and $12 billion to the U.S. in federal taxes, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. But despite this, they are still not eligible for supports such as food stamps, Medicaid, pandemic stimulus checks, or childcare assistance.

On this week’s Let’s Talk New Mexico, we will look at the contributions of immigrant and undocumented childcare workers, and the challenges they face during the pandemic and beyond, as well as the consequences of keeping tax-paying, low-wage, undocumented workers ineligible for basic assistance in New Mexico. We will also discuss how the State's new Early Childhood Education and Care Department plans to support these workers, regardless of immigration status, and consider whether this could be a model for other agencies to support workers equally. Are you a childcare worker or a low-wage or undocumented worker who needs more support? Do you think workers who pay taxes should be eligible for assistance regardless of immigration status?  Email us at LetsTalk@KUNM.org or call in live during the show.


Marcela Diaz, Executive Director of Somos Un Pueblo Unido

Erica Gallegos, Policy Director for OLÉ

Claire Dudley-Chavez, Policy Director for the Early Childhood Education & Care Department

Yasmin Khan covers worker's rights in New Mexico, with a focus on Spanish-speaking residents. She is finishing her Ph.D. in human geography and women & gender studies at the University of Toronto where she studies refugee and humanitarian aid dynamics in Bangladesh. She has a bachelor's degree in journalism from UNM. Yasmin was director of The Americas Program, an online U.S. foreign policy magazine based in Mexico City, and was a freelance journalist in Bolivia. She covered culture, immigration, and higher education for the Santa Fe New Mexican and city news for the Albuquerque Journal.
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