Trump Ends 'Catch-And-Release' Policy, Trial Against Governor's Security Detail Canceled

Apr 7, 2018

Trump Move To End 'Catch-And-Release' Policy – Associated Press

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has approved using Defense Department money to pay for as many as 4,000 National Guard personnel to perform border security missions.

Mattis made the decision Friday night. It means the federal government will foot the bill for the National Guard missions, which will be performed under the command and control of the participating states.

A Pentagon memo said the authorization is valid through the current budget year, which ends Sept. 30. It did not indicate how much the missions are expected to cost.

The memo said the National Guard personnel will not perform law enforcement functions or "interact with migrants or other persons detained by" the Department of Homeland Security without Mattis's approval. It said "arming will be limited to circumstances that might require self-defense," but it did not further define that.

Settlement Averts Trial Against Governor's Security Detail – Associated Press

Plaintiffs in a defamation lawsuit against the state police security detail for New Mexico Gov. Susan Martinez say the litigation is being settled outside of court.

Scott and Colette Chandler run a ranch program for troubled youth in southern New Mexico and alleged in state district court that their reputation was damaged when they were removed from a campaign event for Martinez at a Deming motel in 2014.

Scott Chandler said Friday that a trial has been canceled after a settlement agreement was outlined. He said terms of the settlement prohibit him from discussing its details.

Though not a defendant, Martinez was ordered in February to answer questions under oath.

The Chandler's Tierra Blanca Ranch has been dogged by allegations of abuse and neglect since a 2013 law enforcement raid.

Governor Picks Longtime Judge For New Mexico Supreme Court – Associated Press

Gov. Susana Martinez has selected a southern New Mexico judge to temporarily fill a seat on the New Mexico Supreme Court.

In a statement Friday, the governor's office said she has appointed Fifth Judicial District Judge Gary Clingman to a seat vacated by Justice Edward Chavez.

Chavez retired last month.

Martinez's announcement came a day after a nominating commission said it was recommending she choose between Clingman and New Mexico Court of Appeals Judge Michael E. Vigil for the post.

Clingman, of Hobbs, has been a district judge since 1997. He's a graduate of University of Texas and Texas Tech Law School. Martinez says he also is a former law enforcement officer.

New Mexico voters will choose a candidate in the general election to permanently fill the seat.

New Mexico Border Wall Work To Begin Monday – Associated Press

Work will begin soon to replace existing vehicle barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border in southern New Mexico with a new bollard wall.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced that a groundbreaking near the Santa Teresa port of entry on Monday will mark the official start of construction along a 20-mile stretch of the border.

The $73 million contract for the work was awarded to a Montana company in February.

With a new wall, federal officials say agents working in southern New Mexico will be better equipped to stop drug trafficking and illegal crossings in the area.

Environmentalists have sued over the project, saying the federal government overstepped its authority in waiving laws as a way to speed construction. A federal judge recently sided with the government in a similar case in California.

Ex-New Mexico Governor Criticizes Border Plan – Associated Press

Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson sent National Guard units to the Mexican border in 2010 to combat drugs and violence, but the Democrat says President Donald Trump's pledge to send troops for immigration control is a "terrible idea."

Richardson told The Associated Press Friday that he had used troops in a targeted manner and at a time of emergency, versus what he described as Trump's politically-based motivations meant to boost support for the Republican's proposed border wall.

Richardson says the deployment he ordered as governor involved a small number of troops and lasted "just for a few days."

News reports at the time said Richardson deployed 82 members of the New Mexico National Guard for what was scheduled to be a 10-month deployment.

Richardson says the move was effective in restoring calm along the U.S.-Mexican border and that he had worked with his counterpart at the time in the Mexican state of Chihuahua as part of a cross-border partnership aimed against drug violence.

Sessions Orders 'Zero Tolerance' Policy For Border Crossers – Associated Press

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has ordered a "zero tolerance" policy aimed at people entering the United States illegally for the first time on the Mexican border.

His directive Friday tells federal prosecutors in border states to put more emphasis on charging people with illegal entry, which has historically been treated as a misdemeanor offense for those with few or no previous encounters with border authorities. Smugglers and repeat offenders are usually charged with more serious crimes.

Sessions tells prosecutors to ask for additional resources if needed to prosecute cases. As a model, he points to a Border Patrol effort launched in 2005 that typically resulted in a conviction and short time in jail.

Last week, Sessions established quotas for immigration judges to reduce court backlogs.

Guard's Last Border Deployments Offer Clues To The Future – Associated Press

The U.S. National Guard faces a vastly different environment than it did on its last two deployments to the border with Mexico, with far fewer illegal crossings and more Central Americans than Mexicans coming.

Still, its role is shaping up much the same: moving more Border Patrol agents from behind-the-scenes jobs to the front lines.

From 2006 to 2008, the Guard fixed vehicles, maintained roads, repaired fences and performed ground surveillance. Its second mission in 2010 and 2011 involved more aerial surveillance and intelligence work.

People involved in both operations say the Guard was the Border Patrol's "eyes and ears."

Federal law limits military involvement in civilian law enforcement, creating a supporting role for the Guard. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen expects their jobs to include vehicle maintenance and aerial surveillance.

 Police: Clovis Student Arrested In School Shooting Threat – Associated Press

Clovis police have arrested a 17-year-old male Clovis High School student after authorities learned of a social media post apparently threatening a shooting at the school.

Police say the boy was arrested after authorities learned late Thursday night of a Snapchat post of a photo of a person holding a rifle with captions that referred to the school and said the person would be "going out with a bang."

Police say the boy was arrested on a warrant alleging a "delinquent act of aggravated assault on a school employee."

The boy's name wasn't released but police confirmed he's a student.

Classes began normally Friday at the school.

Clovis was the site of a 2017 shooting at the city library in which two people were killed and four injured.