Governor Warns Trump Tariffs Could Be 'Catastrophic', Oil Refiner Plans Expansion In Artesia

May 31, 2019

New Mexico Governor Says Trump Tariffs Could Be 'Catastrophic'Associated Press

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham says President Donald Trump's tariff on imports from Mexico has the "potential to be economically catastrophic" for the state.

The Democratic governor said Friday the 5% tariff could threaten jobs for tens of thousands of people in the state and called on the president to retract his proposal.

Lujan Grisham said the state sends around $1.5 billion in exports to Mexico each year and a trade war would devastate businesses all across New Mexico.

She says Trump should work with Congress on comprehensive immigration reform instead of using tariffs that do nothing but serve his "empty anti-immigrant rhetoric."

Trump says he is placing a 5% tariff on all Mexican imports to pressure Mexico to halt Central American migrants trying to cross the U.S. border.

As Trump Threatens Tariffs, Migrant Families Keep ComingAssociated Press

U.S. authorities are overstretched and overwhelmed by an unprecedented surge of Central American families arriving at the southern border.

It is against that backdrop that President Donald Trump threatened this week to slap tariffs on goods from Mexico unless it cracks down on the flow of migrants.

On Wednesday, for example, Border Patrol agents near downtown El Paso, Texas, encountered a group of 1,036 migrants who had entered the country illegally — the biggest cluster the agency has ever seen.

At one point in May, a government holding cell designed for 35 migrants was crammed with 155.

And six children have died in U.S. custody since September, three in the past month.

Trump Expresses Condolences After Navajo Code Talker's DeathAssociated Press

President Donald Trump is expressing condolences following the death of New Mexico Sen. John Pinto, a Democrat and Navajo Code Talker, who died last week at age 94.

Trump tweeted Friday that he was saddened to hear about Pinto's death. A funeral for the longtime senator, who died May 24, was held Thursday in Gallup.

Pinto was a World War II-era Marine who was among hundreds of Navajo Code Talkers — radio men who translated American coordinates and messages into an indecipherable code based on their language.

Trump called them "true American HEROES," while also noting Pinto's life of public service.

Pinto served in the New Mexico Senate for more than four decades, making him the longest-serving senator in state history.

'Dangerous' Migrant Overcrowding At El Paso Border FacilityAssociated Press

An inspection at an El Paso Border Patrol station where detained migrants are held found this month that there were 900 people crammed into the 125-person facility at one point.

The Office of Inspector General for the Department of Homeland Security found "dangerous overcrowding." A majority of detainees were held past the maximum allowed 72-hour period.

Inspectors found migrants held in standing-room only spaces for days and some standing on toilets.

An unprecedented number of families with children have arrived at the border this year.

The government built a temporary tent in El Paso and plans to open a bigger facility within 18 months.

The report released Friday and first reported by CNN comes two days after El Paso agents arrested a group of 1,036 immigrants — the largest encountered.

Albuquerque Police Make 1st DWI Arrest Of E-Scooter DriverAssociated Press

Albuquerque police say a Belen woman's arrest on suspicion of DWI while driving an electric scooter is the first such arrest since the city allowed the vehicles on local streets a week ago.

Police say 26-year-old Lily Romero was arrested Wednesday evening on suspicion of aggravated DWI after being stopped while driving the wrong way on a one-way street Wednesday night and that she said she was going from one bar to another.

According to police, Romero blew twice above the legal limit and performed poorly on a sobriety test

Court records don't list an attorney for Romero who could comment on the allegations.

Albuquerque officials May 24 issued a permit to e-scooter company Zagster for a one-year pilot program.

Officer Simon Drobik said drivers must operate the vehicles responsibly.

New Mexico State Police To Reduce Presence In AlbuquerqueAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

New Mexico State Police officials say they will reduce by half the number of officers assigned to patrol Albuquerque streets.

The Albuquerque Journal reports Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham ordered 50 state police officers to the city earlier this month as part of operation addressing violent crime.

State Police Chief Tim Johnson says 25 officers will return to their original posts Monday.

Agency spokesman Lt. Mark Soriano says the agency plans to gradually remove the other officers.

Albuquerque Police Chief Michael Geier previously said the city would keep the extra officers for 45 or 50 days.

Department spokesman Gilbert Gallegos did say how many state officers will remain in the city for the duration of the operation.

Group Behind Private Border Wall Has More Plans - Associated Press

The man behind an online fundraising campaign to build a privately funded barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border says his group has 10 more projects in the pipeline but he declined to provide details about where the sections of wall would be located.

Veteran Brian Kolfage made the announcement during a news conference in Sunland Park, New Mexico, where We Build the Wall Inc. has been installing a concrete and metal barrier on private property.

Contractor Jimmy Fisher said Thursday the section will be just under a half-mile long.

Kris Kobach, the group's legal counsel, said We Build the Wall plans to sign an easement allowing Border Patrol agents to patrol the private property without having to hand over ownership of the land to federal officials.

New Mexico City Allows Construction Of Private Border Wall  - Associated Press

A New Mexico city is allowing construction to resume of a privately funded barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border following questions about its permit.

The group We Build the Wall Inc. erected around 1,500 feet of bollard-style fencing along private property in Sunland Park over the weekend without going through the city's review process.

Contractors submitted an application for a construction permit at the insistence of city building inspectors, who later determined that it was incomplete.

The city sent a cease-and-desist order, prompting thousands of phone calls from the group's supporters.

Once the review was complete, City Manager Julia Brown confirmed Thursday that permits were issued for the barrier.

Plans obtained by The Associated Press say that when it's finished, the wall will stretch about 2,300 feet.

Document: Fatal Uber Shooting Stemmed From 'Vomit' In Car - Associated Press

Court documents show a fatal shooting of a New Mexico man killed by a ride-share driver stemmed from "a large amount of vomit" in an Uber vehicle.

The Albuquerque Journal reports documents submitted by the Bernalillo County District Attorney last week said the shooting was sparked by an argument over a "clean-up fee."

Police say a driver Clayton Benedict shot and killed 27-year-old passenger James Porter along Interstate 25 in Albuquerque on March 17. Benedict has not been charged and has declined to comment.

District Attorney's Office spokesman Michael Patrick says a charging decision may come in the next few weeks.

Last month, the family of Porter filed a lawsuit against Uber and Benedict over the shooting.

Uber told the Journal that Benedict no longer has access to the Uber app as a driver.

Oil Refining Company Plans Expansion Of New Mexico Facility - Carlsbad Current-Argus, Associated Press

The only crude oil refinery in southeast New Mexico serving Permian Basin production is looking to expand.

The Carlsbad Current-Argus reports Dallas-based Holly Frontier announced last week plans to apply for a permit modification so it can upgrade the Navajo Refinery in Artesia.

The refinery can currently process up to 100,000 barrels of crude oil per day.

Holly Frontier plans to add six storage tanks, a railcar loading and unloading rack, a cooling tower and other piping components. It also plans to install a renewable diesel unit.

The state Air Quality Bureau will need to modify the refinery's permit for the expansion to proceed.

Pilot Reported Fuel Pump Issue Before Fatal New Mexico Crash - Associated Press

Authorities say the pilot of a small plane that crashed in central New Mexico earlier this month reported an undisclosed fuel pump issue before the aircraft went down, killing both people aboard.

The National Transportation Safety Board's preliminary accident report doesn't list the probable cause of the May 5 crash.

Authorities say the twin-engine Beech A60 was flying from Arlington, Texas, to Santa Fe Regional Airport when the pilot radioed about the fuel pump issue and said he was diverting to the nearest airport.

The plane crashed into a tree and rock-covered knoll about a mile west of the Santa Rosa Route 66 Airport.

The pilot and lone passenger suffered fatal injuries.

The NTSB report says witnesses reported seeing the plane flying low to the ground before crashing and burning.