Elected officials call for new path to citizenship for undocumented essential workers

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – 90 elected officials from New Mexico are calling on the Biden administration to open the door for undocumented immigrants, especially the ones who have helped keep the country running during the pandemic.

"Our bloodlines are mixed, our lives are intertwined. There’s a distinct interdependence that we can not forget,” Rep. Roger Montoya said.

A long list of mayors, state lawmakers, city councilors, school board members and other elected officials all signed a letter urging the White House to pave a new path to citizenship for undocumented essential workers.

"I think COVID in particular has really shined a light on just how essential our immigrant communities are. During a time when the health of our communities and families were in peril, the immigrant community stepped up on the front lines in many ways,” Las Cruces City Councilor Gabe Vasquez said.

"These residents are essential to our financial prosperity. Their participation to our workforce and contribution to our businesses allow us to pay for parks, streets, public safety, and the basic services we expect from local government,” Santa Fe City Councilor Roman Abeyta said.

The letter also calls for a better path forward for DACA recipients and immigrants with temporary protected status.

“These families aspire to do exactly what our parents and grandparents did when they decided to come to America, which was seeking a better life and an opportunity to contribute to an economy and culture,” said Hilda Sanchez, a Roswell School Board member.

"It’s not that immigrants are new to this country, in my belief, immigrants have always been here, we are simply immigrants through an artificial border that has been created,” Vasquez said.

These new changes would all be included in the upcoming federal budget. Lawmakers are still writing the actual bill – so it’s still unclear which groups of undocumented immigrants will be included.