Hispanic families in New Mexico are suffering from significantly reduced income, job loss and difficulty paying their rent, hardships exacerbated by the fact that some of them have not received financial support during the COVID-19 crisis, according to a new poll.
One in 5 Hispanic families in the state has seen a member of their household lose employment since the start of the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to a survey conducted by Latino Decisions, a Seattle-based political opinion research firm. One-third of Hispanic parents or primary caregivers have had difficulty paying their rent or mortgage, while nearly half of them have seen their hours or pay cut since the start of the outbreak, the poll said.
Yet Latino families are not well-equipped to handle the challenging economic climate. Nearly half of them have $1,000 or less in savings for financial emergencies, and almost one-quarter of them have $100 or less, according to Latino Decisions.
“That gives us some indication already of the significant economic challenges facing Hispanic families, and unfortunately the very limited safety net that families have to be available to survive this very difficult economic period,” Gabriel Sanchez, lead researcher at Latino Decisions and professor of political science at the University of New Mexico, said at a virtual news briefing.
The poll was done in June and surveyed 480 parents with at least one minor child. It was commissioned by several New Mexico nonprofits including Somos Un Pueblo Unido, New Mexico Voices for Children and El Centro de Igualdad y Derechos.
Sanchez and a number of elected officials at the briefing said the economic hardships shown in the poll are particularly difficult for some Hispanic families since undocumented residents were not included in the federal stimulus package passed by Congress. They have not been eligible, for instance, for the stimulus checks sent to Americans.
“Those who are among the most essential in our community are also among the most vulnerable,” Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber said during the briefing. “It’s almost an intentional attack on this community by people in Washington, D.C.”
According to the survey, 30 percent of Hispanic households have not received any payments related to the federal CARES Act, such as the $1,200 stimulus check for individuals. Also, 40 percent of families haven’t gotten additional stimulus payments.
Only one-third of respondents who have lost their jobs said they’re getting unemployment benefits, with 36 percent of them saying they were not eligible and 28 percent “not knowing about unemployment benefits.”
State Rep. Javier Martinez said any future federal coronavirus-related economic relief bills should include aid for undocumented families.
“It’s immoral. It’s counterproductive,” Martinez, D-Albuquerque, said about the fact that such families have not been included in past stimulus legislation.