Summer Law Clerkships

The New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty (NMCLP) Summer Law Clerkships are paid 10-week, full-time summer positions working to advance economic and social justice for 2-3 outstanding first- or second-year law students. The Law Clerks will work closely with NMCLP attorneys in one or more of our areas of work doing legal research, drafting pleadings and advocacy materials, and performing issue analysis, investigation, and outreach to partner organizations and community members. The NMCLP Law Clerks will work with one or more of these teams:  Healthcare, Public Benefits, Education, Economic Equity. Please visit our website for more information about our work at www.nmpovertylaw.org.  All law clerks will receive a $6,000 stipend over 10 weeks.

Application Deadline:  January 28, 2022

To apply, please email a cover letter, resume, and short writing sample to Felipe Guevara at felipe@nmpovertylaw.org or apply via UNM Connect. If you email your materials, enter in the Subject Heading: “NMCLP Summer Law Clerkship”. If you have a particular interest in one of the team areas listed above or if you already received funding for a summer clerkship, let us know about it in your cover letter.

Recipes

Green Chile stew – Feliz Baca

  • Meat of choice, I usually do chicken or pork 2lbs, cut up into cubes
  • 1 bag of roasted green chile, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic
  • half a chopped onion
  • 3-5 potatoes cubed
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 can corn
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cover meat with water and cook meat with salt, pepper, onion and garlic to make soup base and broth. Once cooked add the cubed potatoes, stew tomatoes, and chopped green chile. Once cooked through, finish off with the corn, and eat with tortillas or a fried egg and cheddar cheese on top!


Kale and Roasted Vegetable Soup – Laura Blum

  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and quartered lengthwise 
  • 2 large tomatoes, quartered 
  • 1 large onion, cut into 8 wedges or 4 or 5 slices 
  • 1/2 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut lengthwise into 1/2 inch thick  wedges 
  • 6 garlic cloves 
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 
  • 6 cups or more of vegetable broth 
  • 4 cups of finely chopped kale 
  • 3 large fresh thyme sprigs 
  • 1 bay leaf 
  • 1 15 oz can of Great Northern white beans, drained 
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Roast the carrots, tomatoes, onion, squash, garlic.  
  3. Rub rimmed baking sheet with a thin coat of olive oil. Place carrots, squash, tomatoes, onion, and garlic on the baking sheet and sprinkle with a little more olive oil and salt and pepper. Rub the oil over all of the vegetables so that they are well coated. 
  4. Roast vegetables about 45 minutes, stirring once or twice, until they are cooked through and nicely browned. 
  5. Further cut the squash and carrots 
  6. Remove the roasted squash and carrots from the pan to a cutting board. Cut into 1/2-inch pieces and set aside. 
  7. Purée the roasted garlic, tomatoes, onions 
  8. Remove the roasted garlic from their peelings and place in a food processor.  Add the roasted tomatoes and onions. Pulse in the processor until almost  smooth. 
  9. Deglaze the roasting pan
  10. Add a little water or broth to the baking sheet and scrape up any browned bits.
  11. Start soup with browned bits, broth, puréed vegetables 
  12. Add the browned bits, the broth, and the puréed vegetables to a large pot. Add  the chopped kale, thyme, and bay leaf to the pot. Heat on high to bring to a  boil, lower the heat to reduce to a simmer. Simmer uncovered until the kale is  tender, about 30 minutes. 
  13. Add roasted carrots, squash, beans 
  14. Add the roasted carrots and squash to the soup. Add the drained white beans  to the soup. Simmer for 8 to 10 minutes and add more broth or water to the  soup if it needs thinning. 
  15. Season with salt and pepper. Discard thyme sprigs and bay leaf.

Creamy Green Chile Chicken Casserole – Paloma Mexika

  • 2lbs chicken cooked and shredded
  • 2 cups of roasted green chile, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic
  • Broccoli crown, chopped
  • 2-3 cups cooked rice
  • 2 cans of cream based soup (cream of chicken, cream of mushroom, or cream of celery)
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 cup of chicken/vegetable broth
  • Onion, chopped
  • Jalapeño, chopped
  • Shredded cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Cook chicken with water or broth, salt, pepper, onion, garlic and jalapeño. Cook rice. Shred cooked chicken. Combine cream based soup, milk, broth, salt and pepper, and chopped green chile in mixing bowl. Chop broccoli. In a casserole dish, layer cooked rice, shredded chicken, and broccoli bits. Smother with creamy green chile mixture. Top with shredded cheese. Bake, covered, at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 15 minutes or until the cheese is slightly crisped.


Caldito – Maria Griego

  • 1 tbsp. canola or other cooking oil
  • 2 medium Yukon Gold or red potatoes sliced or diced into bite sized pieces (can be peeled or not). 
  • 1/2  white or yellow onion, diced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1-2 tbsp. flour
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 packet of au jus seasoning
  • 4-5 chopped green chiles (or one small container of Bueno or other frozen chile)
  • Water

1) Sautee potatoes and onions in a skillet with canola oil, then set aside in a bowl. 2) In the same pot the potatoes were cooked in, thoroughly cook the ground beef. 3) Once the beef is cooked, add in the flour, garlic powder and au jus packet mix.4) Add in the chopped chile. 5) Put the cooked potatoes back in the pot and add enough water to cover. 6) Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Best eaten with fresh tortillas!

GivingTuesday

We invite you to join the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty on Tuesday, November 30th as we kick off our annual campaign and celebrate NMCLP’s 25th anniversary. GivingTuesday is a movement that inspires millions of people around the world to give, volunteer, and celebrate generosity. Join our fight for equity, opportunity and justice.

Click HERE to make a secure online donation

Don’t miss this chance to double the impact of your donation! On GivingTuesday and the first $4,000 in contributions to NMCLP will be matched, dollar for dollar, by our generous sponsors:

Thank you to our sponsors for their support!

Please mark your calendars now to join the GivingTuesday movement and make your contribution to the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty on November 30th.

Follow our GivingTuesday progress on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Peggy Browning Workers’ Rights Fellowship

Our Peggy Browning Fellow will become a member of our workers’ rights litigation and advocacy team, contributing to projects around enforcement of the minimum wage laws, health and safety of dairy workers and farmworkers, and paid sick leave. For example, in our continued monitoring of comprehensive reforms of wage law enforcement we won through litigation against the state, our Peggy Browning Fellow will identify issues that arise in individual workers’ cases and advocate with the state. For years, the state’s enforcement officers followed illegal rules that allowed employers to get away with wage theft. Although their rules and policies changed due to our lawsuit, we expect to have to apply continued pressure until the culture at the agency is also sufficiently changed. The Fellow will perform intakes with workers, issue-spot violations, and document discrepancies between the policies as written and as carried out.

The Fellow will also perform farmworker outreach. We are exploring a possible legislative campaign to remove some of the exclusions from our state’s minimum wage that keep farmworkers from being included in this basic guarantee. We also continue to work to enforce farmworkers’ right to workers’ compensation. In 2016, we won a lawsuit challenging the exclusion of farmworkers from the state’s workers’ compensation statute. But many of our state’s 15,000 farmworkers continue to work for labor contractors who refuse to provide benefits to workers who are injured. 

The Fellow will do research in support of our legislative priorities for the upcoming legislative session. These may include a bill on farmworkers’ minimum wage, or they may be other community-led workers’ rights campaigns.

The Fellow will also develop community education materials regarding a new paid sick leave law. A broad coalition of organizations worked to successfully pass a state paid sick leave law, which goes into effect in July 2022. The Fellow will develop trainings for workers on their rights under this new law.

Strong written advocacy skills are essential. We are open to working with 1Ls or 2Ls, and will give strong preference to law students with roots in New Mexico or who plan to practice in New Mexico upon graduation. While Spanish-language ability is a plus, it is not a requirement of this fellowship. We anticipate that the Fellow will work on site at our office in Albuquerque. However, if public health circumstances do not permit this, the Fellow will work remotely.

To apply, visit https://www.peggybrowningfund.org/fellowships/for-law-students/fellowship-application-form to fill out the fellowship application form. Peggy Browning begins accepting applications on December 1, 2021 and will accept applications until Jan 14, 2022.

New #AskALawyer video series

Introducing NMCLP’s new #AskALawyer video series! In these very short pieces, our attorneys will be answering questions the community may have about healthcare, workers’ rights, food security, housing, and other topics. Check out our first few episodes linked below and subscribe to our Youtube channel and follow our social media to see more in the coming weeks. Please share with your friends!

Minimum wage (English)

Minimum wage (Spanish)

Public benefits updates

State illegally denies families food and medical assistance because it fails to provide translation and interpretation

Thousands of New Mexicans who qualify for food and medical assistance are illegally denied or delayed access to benefits because the state does not provide translation and interpretation services, charges a motion filed today by the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty on behalf of applicants for food and medical assistance in the lawsuit Deborah Hatten Gonzales v. David Scrase

The motion asks the US District Court of New Mexico to order the New Mexico’s Human Services Department to comply with federal and court ordered requirements to translate food and medical assistance applications, notices, and informational materials into languages prominently spoken in New Mexico’s communities. 

Many New Mexicans speak languages other than English in numbers that require translation of food and medical assistance applications and documents under federal laws, including Vietnamese, Chinese, Dari, Arabic, Swahili, Kinyarwanda, and Diné. However, the state only provides written documents in English and Spanish. 

Advocates and applicants in the lawsuit report experiencing long delays and barriers in accessing food and medical care, which was especially difficult during the pandemic. Some lost food assistance multiple times because the notice about renewing benefits is only in English. Others reported having to pay private interpreters, despite having no income and having to deal with unnecessary in person contact during the public health emergency.

An HSD office turned away Cuc T. Nguyen, a mother of a 13-year-old son, when she tried to apply for Medicaid because applications were in English only and the worker did not provide a Vietnamese interpreter. HSD staff illegally told her to come back with her own interpreter although by federal law HSD is required to provide applications in Vietnamese and access to an interpreter. 

Community-based organizations that work directly with New Mexicans that speak languages other than English or Spanish, like the New Mexico Asian Family Center and the Refugee Well-being Project, report having to divert limited resources to provide translation and interpretation services that are the state’s responsibility under federal law. 

To help families who could not apply for or renew benefits on their own due to language barriers, the New Mexico Asian Family Center has taken on additional clients and diverted resources meant to assist survivors of domestic violence during the pandemic. 

“Everyone who qualifies should be able to access state services regardless of the language they speak,” said AnhDao Bui of the New Mexico Asian Families Center. “Excluding some people because they don’t speak English exacerbates health and economic disparities. This kind of discrimination is not new. Lack of translation is part of a systemic problem that ignores the existence of Asians in New Mexico.” 

HSD’s continued discrimination violates families’ civil rights and illegally forces New Mexicans to go without food and medical care. The motion charges that despite repeated attempts since 2009 to bring these issues to the New Mexico Human Service Department’s attention, in April 2021, HSD refused again to take further action to comply. 

“It’s unacceptable that HSD continues to discriminate against people by failing to translate documents with full knowledge that families are being harmed as a consequence,” said Verenice Peregrino Pompa, attorney with the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty. “Now more than ever, HSD should be working with community members and plaintiffs in this case to resolve ongoing barriers to food and healthcare.” 

The long-running Hatten-Gonzales lawsuit was originally filed in 1989. In 2016, the court held former HSD Secretary Brent Earnest in contempt for failing to remove systemic barriers to assistance for eligible families applying for food and Medicaid assistance and appointed a Special Master to monitor and make recommendations to the department. While HSD has made some progress, the court recently ordered HSD to implement a corrective action plan. 

The motion can be found here: http://nmpovertylaw.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Doc.-1011_Motion-to-Enforce-Translation-and-Interpretation-2021-10-05.pdf

The exhibits can be found here: http://nmpovertylaw.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Doc.-1011_-Exhibits-to-Motion-to-Enforce-2021-10-05.pdf

The September 2021 order for HSD to implement a corrective action plan can be found here: http://nmpovertylaw.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Doc.-1009-Order-Re-Case-Review-CAP-2021-09-09.pdf

Rising with our communities, the next generation of lawyering

NMCLP welcomed four law students this summer – Cheyenne Trujillo, Christian White, Kelly Reeves, and Rebekah Peoble. Sharing a passion for justice and a strong commitment to our communities, they worked on key issues of education, workers’ rights, income security and housing protections. We extend our gratitude to them for joining us in movement with our communities. They inspired us with their work and advocacy!

Cheyenne Trujillo

Cheyenne Trujillo worked with our Public Benefits team this summer breaking down illegal barriers to basic necessities. She was excited to be able to put her commitment to dismantling systems of inequity into practice. Her work at NMCLP included drafting a civil rights lawsuit against the US Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Services for illegally denying a Violence Against Women Act self-petitioner’s food and healthcare benefits, and failing to provide Spanish-language interpretation. Cheyenne also tracked USDA denials of SNAP and Medicaid benefits for immigrants with humanitarian statuses such as asylum applicants and Special Immigrant Juveniles. 

Cheyenne looks forward to continuing to fight for social justice through public interest law. She is also interested in pursuing advocacy in government, environmental, and natural resource law. Before coming to NMCLP she worked for the New Mexico Land Grant Council. 

Cheyenne is currently part of the Arturo Jaramillo Program at the University of New Mexico School of Law which promotes opportunities for minorities in the legal profession and encourages their participation in bar programs and activities. She has a BA in criminology and political science, a minor in Chicana studies, and a MA in public administration from the University of New Mexico. She will be graduating from the UNM School of Law in 2023. 

Rebekah Peoble

Rebekah Peoble joined our Economic Equity team this summer working to keep as many New Mexicans as possible housed and combating harsh debt-related, court-imposed driver restrictions. Rebekah researched and drafted memos about anti-discrimination protections in state and local housing law and illegal fines charged by property managers in mobile home parks. She also worked on an extensive review and analysis of magistrate court cases in which judges suspended defendants’ drivers’ licenses as a counterproductive means of coercing debt payments for unpaid parking tickets and other court fines and fees.

Rebekah is the daughter of an immigrant mother. Her experiences and understanding of the disparities of race, class, language barriers, and socioeconomic factors motivated Rebekah to pursue a law degree to improve the lives of children and families by advocating for legal reforms that support New Mexico families and promote social justice.

Rebekah is a recipient of the Child and Family Justice Scholarship for dedicated students who are interested in transformative advocacy to pursue racial equity and well-being for children and families in New Mexico. Rebekah served on the executive board of the Student Bar Association. She has a BA in psychology and political science from New Mexico Highlands University. She will graduate from the UNM School of Law in 2023.

Christian White (Santo Domingo Pueblo and Navajo)

Christian White assisted the Education team in holding the state accountable to its legal obligation to overhaul New Mexico’s public education system so it supports the needs of all students. He worked on the Yazzie/Martinez case with a focus on Native American students and culturally relevant curriculum as well as the Tribal Remedy Framework—a comprehensive plan for meeting the educational needs of Native students created collectively by Tribal community members and Indigenous education experts. 

Christian’s interest in working with Native American communities began as a youth when he was learning about policy and his people’s history. He has worked in various capacities within Native education and organizing in his community.

Christian White received a B.A. in political science and Indigenous studies from Columbia University. He also has an M.A. in American Studies, with a focus on Critical Indigenous Studies from the University of New Mexico. He will graduate from the UNM School of Law in 2023.

Kelly Reeves

Kelly worked with the Workers’ Rights team on combating payroll fraud, challenging the exclusion of workers paid by the piece from the minimum wage, and supporting workers who experienced hardships with unemployment insurance during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Kelly began her career in social justice as a caseworker at a refugee resettlement agency in Indianapolis, Indiana. She worked with newly arrived families resettling in the state to ensure they had access to programs and resources upon arrival, and worked with the youth program to make Indianapolis more welcoming to newly arrived kids. She also served in the Peace Corps in Jamaica and Guyana where she taught literacy classes to grades three, four and eight, and supported the community’s goal of income generation through eco sport tourism. 

Kelly is a recipient of the Peggy Browning Fellowship for dedicated students who are interested in pursuing work in labor law and workers’ rights. She holds a B.A. in Liberal Arts from DePaul University where she studied journalism. She has a Master of Social Work degree with a concentration in sustainable development and global practice from the University of Denver. She will graduate from the University of Colorado School of Law in 2022. 

Action Alert: Protect New Mexicans from medical debt!

In 2021, the New Mexico Legislature passed the Patients’ Debt Collection Protection Act. Rules are still needed to implement the law, but the proposed rules are currently missing key protections for patients. This is a critical moment for the public to weigh in.

The new law:

  • Prohibits medical providers and creditors from suing low-income patients or sending them to collections over medical debt.
  • Requires hospitals, urgent care centers, and other healthcare facilities to check if uninsured patients qualify for public programs like Medicaid and to help them enroll.
  • Requires the Office of Superintendent of Insurance (OSI) to issue rules explaining how patients show they qualify for the law’s protections.

Tell OSI that basic protections must be in the rules!

OSI’s proposed rules include several strong provisions. However, to ensure the law actually protects patients from debt, key revisions are needed. These include:

(1) Requiring medical providers and creditors to determine if a patient is low income before suing or sending them to collections. OSI’s proposed rules do not require medical providers or creditors to check a patient’s income before suing or sending a patient to collections.

(2) The protection for low-income patients should not expire after one year. Patients who have shown that they are low income should not have to submit paperwork annually to be protected from lawsuits and being sent to collections for a medical bill. OSI’s proposed rules let this protection expire after one year, which would be burdensome for families and medical providers and leave patients whom the Legislature protected at risk.

How to make your voice heard:

  • Submit written comments with subject line “RE: SB71 Proposed Rules”by September 27 at 4:00 p.m.
    • By email to OSI-docketfiling@state.nm.us
    • By mail to OSI Records & Docketing, NM Office of Superintendent of Insurance, P.O. Box 1689, Santa Fe, NM 87504-1689
  • Speak at a virtual public hearing on September 27, 2021 at 9:00 am. How to join:

We’re Moving!

We are pleased to announce that the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty is moving! Thanks to the many advocacy allies, donors, and community members who have supported our growth over the past 25 years, we are now setting down roots in east downtown, near the intersection of Broadway Blvd and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave. Come visit us in our new space starting September 1, 2021. 

Our new address is: 
301 Edith Blvd NE
Albuquerque, NM 87102


Our phone number and website will remain the same. You can still contact us at (505)-255-2840 or visit us online at www.nmpovertylaw.org.

We look forward to welcoming you soon!

New! Financial Resource Guide During COVID-19

The pandemic and economic crisis have created financial hardships for many New Mexicans. Many families have had difficulty accessing the financial resources available to help meet basic needs. In response, we have created the Financial Resource Guide During COVID-19.

The guide is  a comprehensive source of information about assistance—and New Mexicans’ rights to access it—available across the state now and in the future.

The guide includes information about programs funded through federal legislation like the American Recovery Plan Act, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, as well as long-standing state and local programs that can help families with food, housing, healthcare, child care, and more.

Access the resource guide here: http://nmpovertylaw.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/NMCLP-COVID-Guide.pdf

Expect the Spanish language version soon!