Three hundred immigrant activists, including faith and community leaders and oil field workers marched two miles through Lea County, New Mexico on Wednesday to urge Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM) to act on immigration reform. The Alliance for Peace and Justice and Somos Un Pueblo Unido held two separate peaceful protests, one to Pearce’s district office in Roswell and another from his hometown of Hobbs to the Republican Party headquarters.
The marchers are urging Pearce to not only support a pathway to citizenship, but to know the faces of the immigrants who are vital to New Mexico’s oil, gas, and agricultural economy. As of 2012, New Mexico has a 47 percent Latino population.
The joint peaceful protests follow other immigration reform demonstrations across the country in support of commonsense immigration reform. Just this week, advocates in Washington, DC set up a three-day, “highly visible art installation,” that showcases large-scale portraits of people in an effort to create momentum for the House to act on a bill.
Last month, Pearce voted for a Republican-sponsored amendment that would stop the deportation ban on undocumented youths who have been granted temporary protected status. As a result, Democrats launched a targeted Spanish language ad campaign in his district.
Pearce is a Republican oddity in that he has continuously won the southern half of New Mexico since 2002. While many House heavyweights say that they are reluctant to act on immigration reform, six in ten Americans polled in a new survey out on Thursday want the House to pass the Senate’s bill.
Pearce now has a choice to stick to party lines or to reflect the wishes of his constituents. “I just don’t represent Republicans, they’re only 34 percent of my district,” he said in Fox News Latino. “Your job is to represent everybody.”