Statewide "Guaranteed Basic Income" Launches in New Mexico
Monday, February 28, 2022
In the next few days, more than 300 undocumented or mixed-immigration-status New Mexico families will begin receiving $500 monthly for the next year, part of the first statewide "Guaranteed Basic Income" program.
Launched by a coalition of immigrant-based and advocacy organizations, more than 2,000 applications were received by mid-February.
Marcela Díaz, executive director of Somos Un Pueblo Unido, said the 330 participants from 13 counties were randomly selected to ensure strong representation from rural and urban communities.
"This is the first project that is solely focused on trying to figure out how cash assistance helps these mixed-status families," Díaz explained. "How it impacts their educational outcomes, their work decisions, their health outcomes."
The New Mexico pilot was designed by community-based and advocacy groups with funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and UpTogether.
Guaranteed Basic Income programs are primarily designed to provide families earning low incomes a basic level of financial security through recurring cash payments, with no strings attached.
Diaz pointed out the New Mexico program will explore how cash assistance impacts immigrant families who are regularly excluded from traditional economic relief, safety net programs, and worker benefit programs. She noted during the pandemic, mixed-status families were not eligible for the thousands of dollars in stimulus payments received by others.
"It's really difficult to get bypassed in these really difficult times and have to make do without that additional support while being the last to leave the job, the first to return and really being essential," Diaz observed.
New Mexico Voices for Children will lead the evaluation of the project by surveying participants on how unrestricted cash alters family finances and other outcomes.
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