Support our Dreamers - Join the Social Workers of New Mexico
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Date: September 11, 2017
From: The National Association of Social Workers, New Mexico
4223 Montgomery Blvd NE
To: Elected Officials of the State of New Mexico
New Mexico State Capitol
490 Old Santa Fe Trail,
Santa Fe, NM
RE: DACA 2017
Dear Elected Public Official:
We write to you on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients, their families, and their loved ones. Each of the 780,000 DACA recipients were accepted to the program because they were upstanding, law abiding, and hard working individuals who did nothing wrong. They are innocent people, brought here as children by parents who wanted to give their children a better life – much the same as our own immigrant ancestors. DACA recipients submitted supporting documents that were processed and vetted which indicated that they pose little to no risk in terms of national security. However, under the current administration, they are being placed in the middle of a political debate with the potential to strip them of any rights given to them by the DACA processing to draw attention to immigration issues. We are here to remind you that despite their undocumented status, these individuals are human beings who have grown up in the United States, many of whom have never known their country of origin. In our country, many of these individuals have saluted the flag of the United States, have sang the national anthem and have contributed to our country and our economy in ways that have changed them forever. While growing up in the United States, our education system helped them to believe that anything is possible in America. Our country that now, so deeply divided, seems to have forgotten the simplest lesson, do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Dismantling their human rights and social civility is the opposite of what our country stands for. DACA recipients represent first responders, doctors, survivors, teachers and small business owners. They are our students, classmates, neighbors, coworkers and friends. They are the best and brightest (and perhaps the most resilient members) of our communities--enrolling in school, graduating from high school, as well as serving in the armed forces to protect and defend the United States. These young people epitomize the values we all aspire to. They are teaching us to dream about the country we want to be.
As helping professionals, social workers, and concerned citizens, much the same as elected officials, the people of the United States place trust in us to do what is right, to think about the needs of those most vulnerable, and to help them when it seems all hope is lost. As such, we cannot stand silent and complacent while a group of individuals is persecuted and punished because of the misdeeds of the generation before them. The move to end DACA violates our Code of Ethics as a profession as well as many standards of human and civil rights outlined by the United Nations and many allied partner countries.
We ask that you that consider your duty and the oath that you have taken as an elected official and the trust placed in you by the American voter. We ask you to consider that failing to take immediate action to help these people will have long lasting consequences, not only for the individuals themselves, but also for their communities, employers, schools, and churches. While it is understood that politics are a delicate dance, people’s lives, families, and livelihoods are at stake, and most of them have done nothing wrong. Their only transgression has been to trust their caregiver or parent, as any child would. This is similar to the trust placed in public servants, to do the right thing, to stand firm against policies that are unjust, and to protect them from those who would see them harmed.
The social work and professional helping community of the state of New Mexico therefore implores you to take immediate action to work to defend those effected by the rescinding of DACA by working on a legislative solution to protect these valuable but vulnerable members of our great society. The economic, social, cultural, and human costs of such racist and oppressive legislation puts our country back many generations. Please consider the outcomes and harm done by these actions and stand with us on the right side of history.
Respectfully yours, Social Workers of New Mexico
Drafted and countersigned by the National Association of Social Workers, NM (NASW-NM) Executive Director, Board President, and Board Vice President.
Dr. Elisa Kawam, BSW, MSW, PhD
Executive Director, NASW-NM
Patricia J. West-Okiri, LCSW
Board President, NASW-NM
Frances R. Nedjat-Haiem, MSW, LCSW, PhD
Board Vice President, NASW-NM
Signed in support with the following social work community members in New Mexico.
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