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NM Impacted by Legal Challenge to Obama's Immigration Programs

PHOTO: The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals is expected to hear arguments today in a challenge to President Obama's executive actions to help some undocumented immigrants in New Mexico and elsewhere to remain temporarily in the U.S. Photo courtesy of whitehouse.gov
PHOTO: The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals is expected to hear arguments today in a challenge to President Obama's executive actions to help some undocumented immigrants in New Mexico and elsewhere to remain temporarily in the U.S. Photo courtesy of whitehouse.gov
April 17, 2015

SANTA FE, N.M. - The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals is expected to hear arguments today in the multistate legal challenge to President Obama's plan to allow some undocumented immigrants in New Mexico and other states to remain temporarily in the United States.

Marcela Diaz, executive director of Somos Un Pueblo Unido, an immigrants' rights organization, said the 26-state lawsuit, which does not include New Mexico, appears to be a legal attack targeting immigrants.

"This is really motivated by politics," she said, "and it's motivated by anti-immigrant sentiment in these communities."

Arizona, Nevada and Utah are among the states suing to stop the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and a counterpart program for adults. DACA allows some undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children to get a driver's license and become eligible for employment if they meet certain requirements.

Texas, the lead state in the challenge, claims it would suffer financially because it would have to issue a driver's license to people who qualify for the immigration programs. Diaz said an estimated 40,000 people in New Mexico could qualify for the programs, which could have a big economic impact.

"It could potentially increase wages and buying power of our community, expand local and state tax bases, spur first-time home purchases, create more locally-based small businesses, and of course increase demand for financial services," she said.

Diaz said allowing immigrants to live and work in the open could add billions of dollars to the U.S. economy each year.

The text of the legal challenge is online at pdfserver.amlaw.com.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - NM