“I implore our governor and state legislators to use ARPA funding and the state budget surplus to help the most vulnerable in the population,” said Kasandra Gandara of Las Cruces City Council. .
Gandara joined other community leaders from across the state in a press conference on Thursday to express his support for such action.
They point to a recent study that highlights the harsh realities facing Hispanics in New Mexico during the pandemic. BSP Research’s survey of 1,000 Hispanics statewide was conducted in December.
Among the results, 28% of Hispanics in 2020 earned less than $ 20,000; 60% had $ 1,000 or less in their savings for financial emergencies; and 30% had difficulty paying bills or utilities. 26% had spent all their savings or had gone into debt.
Dr Gabriel Sanchez, senior researcher for BSP Research, said exhausted economies and tight budgets have made it even more difficult for Hispanics in rural areas.
Many of those Hispanic residents, he said, did not have access to paid sick leave and were more likely to have trouble paying their bills or mortgages.
“So, again, tough times for everyone across the state, but particularly if we take a look at rural Hispanic residents, we see some really gaping inequalities that this particular subgroup of the overall population faces.” , Sanchez said.
Significant concerns have also been expressed for immigrants, who often face barriers to accessing social services and often do not have access to state or federal stimulus payments.
“It’s all the time in the news that immigrants are hard workers starting their own businesses and they are frontline workers, so critical during the pandemic, but they have had one of the most difficult times help, ”said Isaac Benton of Albuquerque City Council.
The legislative session begins on Tuesday.