LAS CRUCES, New Mexico -- Ahead of International Workers Day, Las Cruces ‘dreamers’ and immigrant advocates called on the federal government Friday to create a pathway to citizenship for essential workers.
“My mom is the definition of a hardworking woman,” said Brenda Martinez, a dreamer who said her mother risks her life by cleaning hospitals during the pandemic. “(She) has had the courage to surpass every struggle she’s had to give my brothers and I the best she could.”
Martinez said at times, she and her siblings had to drink a glass of water for dinner because their family did not have enough food at night.
"(We had to) light up a candle at night because she didn't have the money to pay for the electricity bill," Martinez said.
In his 'American Jobs Plan', President Joe Biden promised to deliver relief for working families in addition to "raising wages and benefits for essential home care workers." In this White House document on the plan, there is no mention of undocumented immigrants or recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
"The life of an immigrant can be very difficult," said Araceli Zavala, who immigrated to the United States to support her seven brothers. She said she has experienced discrimination, injustices and persecution while working in the U.S.
"We respectfully request that president Biden include a path to citizenship for essential immigrant workers and her families."
Local elected leaders also highlighted the risks that undocumented essential workers experience while living in poverty.
“(The pandemic) has elevated the inequities many of us have known about for decades,” said State Sen. Carrie Hamblen, a democrat from Las Cruces. She added “our region was built because of the hard work of immigrants.”