Thursday News Roundup: Immigrant Group Holding 'Vigils' At Pearce Office

Sep 26, 2013

  Immigrant Group Holding 'Vigils' At Pearce Office - Associated Press

Advocates have launched a series of vigils outside of Congressman Steve Pearce's Las Cruces office to push for federal immigration reform.

The group Border Network for Human Rights says it will the hold daily morning vigils until Friday.

The move comes as immigrant advocates press the lone Republican in the state's Congressional delegation to support a federal proposal that would grant immigrants in the country illegally a pathway to citizenship. Pearce has said he didn't support that measure.

Pearce represents New Mexico's border with Mexico and is viewed by the GOP as a key figure is helping attract Latino voters to the Republican Party.

NM State Official Draws Fires Over Hunger Comment - Associated Press

A Democratic legislative leader is calling on Human Services Secretary Sidonie Squier to resign because of her comments there's no "significant evidence of hunger in New Mexico."

Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez of Belen said Wednesday the secretary's comments in an email last week to members of a Hunger Task Force is an example of Squier's "utter lack of understanding of what her job requires and the people she serves."

A spokesman for Republican Gov. Susana Martinez said the governor supports Squier but the secretary email was poorly worded.

Squier acknowledged in a statement Wednesday that there are child hunger problems in the state.

A study by a national food bank organization this year found that New Mexico is the highest for childhood hunger in the U.S.

Federal Grants To Help NM Chile Producers, Others - Associated Press

Federal grants of $429,000 have been awarded to the New Mexico Department of Agriculture for the promotion and production of specialty crops, including chile peppers, pecans and grapes.

U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan announced the grants for seven projects that he said could help expand market opportunities for New Mexico's farmers.

He said the state plans to use some of the money to partner with the New Mexico Wine Growers Association to develop promotional materials for tourists and a smartphone application to help people find wineries in the state.

Grant proceeds also will go for new marketing efforts, including restaurant promotions, to increase demand for chile peppers.