People should be able to earn a living without putting their health and safety at risk. If they are injured at work, their employers should be accountable. 

Workers’ compensation laws require employers to have insurance to cover job-related injuries or illnesses; however, for decades New Mexico’s agricultural workers were excluded from these protections. In 2016, NMCLP represented workers who won a landmark court decision that found their exclusion from workers’ compensation was discriminatory and violated the state constitution. We work with community partners to ensure agricultural employees can exercise their right to receive workers’ compensation and continue to monitor remaining barriers. 

Agricultural work is especially hazardous. Yet, farm workers face significant obstacles getting the health and safety protections guaranteed by law. Agricultural employers often do not provide adequate shade, sufficient bathroom breaks, training on hazardous pesticides, adequate tools, and other legally mandated measures that protect workers from injury. During the Covid-19 pandemic, farm workers reported their employers failed to provide minimal health and safety protections to prevent the spread of Covid-19, including face masks and minimal social distancing requirements.

  • As a founding member of the New Mexico Coalition of Agricultural Workers and Advocates (NM CAWA), NMCLP works with community organizations to advocate for and provide resources to New Mexico farm workers and their families including: 

    • Advocating for state mandated health and safety protections; 
    • Hosting Covid-19 testing and vaccination events;
    • Distributing clothes, masks, sweaters, and other necessary items for farmworkers;
    • Holding online Know Your Rights events for farmworkers.

Immigrants & Public Benefits


Although immigrant families provide essential and critical contributions to our economy, labor force, and tax base, immigrants  face unfair barriers to accessing healthcare and programs that help with basic needs. In partnership with community and immigrants’ rights groups, the Center fights to improve access to healthcare and other benefits programs for immigrants and their families. Recent wins include a 2021 law that prohibits discrimination against immigrants in local healthcare programs. We also continually advocate to keep healthcare accessible at public hospitals that receive public funds to serve people who lack insurance.

  • Affordable healthcare resources for immigrants:

    • Medicaid: free or low-cost medical coverage.
    • Emergency Medicaid: Available to immigrants who do not usually qualify for Medicaid
    • Healthcare Access for Immigrants that Don’t Qualify for Other Coverage and Medical Clinics providing free and discounted care

Food Assistance

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) previously called the Food Stamp program, provides assistance to purchase food.

Cash Assistance

  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF): A cash assistance program for low-income families with children, which offers other services such as vocational training and job placement for unemployed parents.
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI): A federal cash assistance program that supports low-income seniors and people who are blind or have disabilities.

Child Care Assistance

Helps parents pay for childcare costs.

Housing Assistance

Language Justice

New Mexico’s communities are vibrant with diverse cultures, languages and heritages, and yet New Mexicans who speak languages other than English often face barriers accessing public resources. For over a decade, NMCLP has worked to enforce and strengthen access to language translation and interpretation services at state agencies and in public programs.

Public Charge

Public charge is a test used by the federal government to see if someone applying for a green card or a visa is likely to use government programs, and being labeled a “public charge” can be used to deny some immigrants admission into the United States or lawful permanent residency. However, the test does not apply to most people that qualify for benefits. Public charge laws do not apply to immigrants naturalizing to become citizens or lawful permanent residents who apply to become U.S. citizens. For more information, read our fact sheet.

  • Public Charge never applies to:

    • COVID-19 testing and treatment.
    • Children, 21 years and younger and pregnant women who use Medicaid.
    • Refugees, asylees, survivors of trafficking, surivivors of domestic violence and other serious crimes, special immigrant juvenile status and others.
    • Use of emergency Medicaid, WIC, school lunches, food banks, shelters, state or local health care programs, and many more.