ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich convened a meeting with refugees and immigrants, along with advocates from Lutheran Family Services, the Islamic Center of New Mexico, Catholic Charities, and the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico, to discuss the impact President Trump’s executive order banning refugees and individuals from Muslim-majority countries from entering our country has had on communities in New Mexico.
The discussion highlighted the challenges and threats that the immigrant and refugee community in New Mexico is facing. Senator Heinrich heard personal accounts from a diverse coalition of voices, including students from New Mexico State University and the University of New Mexico who were personally impacted by the executive order.
“For many New Mexicans, myself included, this executive order has been seen as an attempt to fundamentally change our American values. We are not a country that discriminates based on how you pray. We are not a nation that turns our back on the innocent victims of terrorism. I am committed to standing up against President Trump’s un-American actions,” said Senator Heinrich.
The meeting also demonstrated the importance of the partnerships on the ground. Groups like Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains (LFS) have a strong history of helping people who have been uprooted by persecution and violence.
“At LFS, we rely strongly on the support of the community and policymakers to continue to offer not only protection, but also opportunities in welcoming the stranger. Refugees bring their courage and incredible assets to our communities and we are so thankful for the opportunity to come together to discuss the impact New Mexico and our refugee and immigrant neighbors are facing due to the recent immigration executive order,” said Tarrie Burnett, Refugee and Asylee Program Director at Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains. “We are especially grateful to Senator Heinrich and his staff for organizing this vital roundtable discussion and for upholding the nation’s values of freedom and equal opportunity. As many states face scrutiny for their resettlement programs, we stand proud knowing that our voices are heard at the national level and that we remain a state of welcome to refugees and immigrants.”
Senator Heinrich has been a leading voice for immigrants and refugees. Earlier this month, Senator Heinrich co-sponsored legislation to rescind President Trump’s executive order. During the discussion he announced that he is working on legislation to ensure that the Department of Homeland Security provides local law enforcement with adequate resources to protect the community centers serving vulnerable populations in New Mexico.
During the roundtable discussion today, Senator Heinrich emphasized that he will keep fighting and holding the Trump Administration accountable and encouraged anyone who may need help navigating the immigration and asylum process to reach out to his office.