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New Mexico builders discuss immigration overhaul

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - New Mexico construction companies are working with immigration rights advocates to discuss how a newly announced overhaul will affect their industry.

It remains unclear how many immigrants will benefit from President Barack Obama’s recently announced plan, which would grant temporary legal status to a new class of workers, but builders say the overhaul stands to have a huge impact.

“Our industry would not be viable in Santa Fe if not for the immigrant community,” said Kim Shanahan, executive director of the Santa Fe Area Home Builders Association. “We toss out the number 75 percent as immigrants. How many of those are legal? It’s anybody’s guess.”

Builders recently sponsored a lunch forum with Marcela Diaz, executive director of Somos Un Pueblo Unido, a Santa Fe-based immigrant rights group, the New Mexican reports (

Elsewhere around the state, immigration rights advocates are holding legal workshops to prepare immigrants who might be eligible for relief from Deferred Action for Parental Accountability.

The program, which faces legislative obstacles, would allow those who qualify to get a three-year moratorium on deportation and a chance to legally work in the U.S. with a valid Social Security number.

The application process for the new program starts in May.

Those who might qualify will need to get paperwork together as soon as possible, Diaz said. That might include payroll stubs, utility bills, rental agreements and proof of school enrollment for a child.

“We don’t want our workers deported,” Shanahan said. “That’s the bottom line.”

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