Immigration Debate Plays Out In Governor Race, Rep. Pearce Calls On State To Pay Up

Jun 22, 2018

Immigration Debate Stirs Campaign For New Mexico Governor – Associated Press

The campaign for New Mexico governor is playing out on Capitol Hill, where competing candidates are engaged in the national immigration debate as members of Congress.

Republican Congressman and gubernatorial candidate Steve Pearce voted Thursday for an unsuccessful bill that would have curbed legal immigration and bolstered border security.

His rival in the governor race, Democratic Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham, unsuccessfully sought an amendment to grant a pathway to citizenship to "Dreamers" who arrived in the country illegally as children.

Pearce accuses Lujan Grisham of obstruction and says he hopes to be able to support a compromise bill in a vote scheduled for next week.

The stakes for immigration legislation have grown as President Trump reversed a decision to separate children from families who cross into the U.S. illegally.

Border Agents Rescue Migrant From Top Of Train In New Mexico- Associated Press

U.S. Border Patrol agents say they rescued an immigrant who was stuck on top of a moving train in southern New Mexico.

Agency officials say agents on Thursday morning saw a man atop an oncoming train in Alamogordo making hand gestures indicating he was in distress.

The agents were able to contact the train's engineer, who made an emergency stop.

Agents helped the 34-year-old man down and determined he had injuries to his ankle and ribcage.

He was taken to a nearby hospital and treated.

Agents learned the man is a Mexican national who had crossed the border illegally on Wednesday in El Paso, Texas. He initially injured himself trying to get onto the train there.

He is currently being detained for processing.

Tents In Texas Hold Hundreds Of Central American Teenagers- Associated Press

Three Democratic U.S. senators learned Friday that a holding facility for immigrant children on the Texas border near El Paso appears to be occupied by about 250 teenage boys mostly from Central America.

The Democratic lawmakers made the discovery as they pushed for more information about the Trump administration's zero-tolerance policy for immigrants crossing the border illegally.

The fenced-off cluster tents near Tornillo on Texas' border with Mexico and other holding facilities for immigrant children are under scrutiny amid confusion over President Donald Trump's order to stop separating migrant children from families detained while crossing into the U.S. illegally.

A contractor that operates the cluster of tents 30 miles (48 kilometers) southeast of El Paso briefed U.S. Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich of New Mexico and Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut without letting the lawmakers enter holding areas or speak with detained minors.

Nurse Sentenced In Oxycodone Pill Scheme- Associated Press

Federal prosecutors say a hospice nurse has been sentenced to three years in prison for fraudulently obtaining and selling oxycodone.

Desiree Ulibarri, of Albuquerque, was sentenced Thursday on conspiracy to distribute oxycodone, an opioid, and conspiracy to acquire and obtain it by fraud and deceit.

The 32-year-old is accused of recommending oxycodone prescriptions for patients who did not need them. She also is accused of selling the pills after arranging to have them picked up at a courier site rather than delivered to patients.

Authorities say DEA agents seized 80 pills from her in 2016, while their review of records for missing packages found a total of 3,870 pills were diverted in the scheme.

Another nurse charged on similar counts has entered a guilty plea in the case. She has not yet been sentenced.

Manned Aircraft Crashes At Holloman Air Force Base Facility- Associated Press

Officials at Holloman Air Force Base say an aircraft has crashed but the condition of the pilot is unknown.

Arlan Ponder, a spokesman for the 49th Wing, issued a release saying the crash occurred just before noon Friday at Red Rio Bombing Range.

The range is about 65 miles north of the base. It is an active Air Force facility that includes 196,000 acres on White Sands Missile Range.

Officials say an investigation is underway.

3 Women Killed In Vehicle Collision In Albuquerque- Associated Press & Albuquerque Journal

Albuquerque police say three elderly women have died after their car collided with another vehicle.

Authorities say the crash happened Thursday morning as an 85-year-old woman was trying to make a turn and her Mercedes-Benz was struck by another car.

Police spokesman Gilbert Gallegos told the Albuquerque Journal that investigators believe the woman failed to yield the right of way.

Her two passengers, 82-year-old Marie Roark and 89-year-old Peggy Jojola, died at the scene.

The woman was initially transported to a hospital in stable condition but later succumbed to her injuries. Her identity has not been released.

The driver of the other car suffered minor injuries.

Police say neither alcohol nor speed was a contributing factor.

New Mexico Governor Travels To Taiwan- Associated Press

Gov. Susana Martinez is traveling to Taiwan for a week at the expense of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Martinez spokesman Ben Cloutier says Martinez departed Thursday and will return June 30.

The purpose of the trip was unclear. The governor's office says China’s foreign ministry is paying for travel expenses.

Rep. Pearce Calls On State To Pay Up On Court-Ordered Fees- Associated Press & Santa Fe New Mexican

U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce's gubernatorial campaign is demanding the state pay more than $133,000 from a lawsuit settlement before the November election.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that attorneys for the Republican's campaign said the funds are needed before Election Day. They warned of legal action if the money isn't received next month.

Pearce sued Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, a Democrat; last year after she said only a fraction of campaign cash he raised while in Congress could be used for the governor's race.

A federal judge sided with Pearce.

The New Mexico Board of Finance rejected a request this week from Oliver for emergency funding to pay for her office's share of the attorney's fees.

The board said it didn't qualify as an emergency.

Transport Officer Accused Of New Mexico Inmate Sex Assault- Associated Press

A prison transport officer has been charged with sexually assaulting a female inmate in New Mexico.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for New Mexico said Thursday a grand jury indicted 51-year-old James Baldinger, of Minnesota, on charges he also used a firearm to carry out the assault.

Baldinger appeared in federal court from Duluth, Minnesota.

He is facing two counts of committing civil rights offenses that resulted in bodily injury, including aggravated sexual abuse and the use of a deadly weapon. He also is charged with knowingly possessing a firearm in furtherance of crimes of violence.

A defense attorney listed for him did not immediately return a message seeking comment Friday.

Baldinger could receive a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted of all charges.

Mayor Says Damage Already Inflicted On Immigrant Children – Associated Press

Concerns persist about the emotional trauma inflicted on immigrant children even after President Trump's order to halt the separation minors from families that are detained crossing the U.S. border illegally.

Mayors from more than a dozen cities across the United States converged Thursday morning on a holding facility for immigrant children on Texas' border with Mexico to demand that families that were divided while trying to enter the U.S. illegally be immediately reunited.

New York City's Bill de Blasio, Los Angeles' Eric Garcetti and Democratic mayors from New Mexico's three most populous cities planned to gather on the outskirts of El Paso, Texas.

Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber says the president's zero-tolerance approach to illegal border crossings has traumatized children and remains a humanitarian threat.

The Albuquerque Journal reports Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller compared the language used by officials to statements used during the Jim Crow era and the Holocaust.

Navajo Commission Aims To Raise Awareness Of Hate CrimesAssociated Press

The killing this spring of a homeless man who police say was shot by two Albuquerque teens "for fun" has spurred Navajo Nation human rights and civil rights advocates to urge more vigilance in reporting attacks that may be perceived as directly targeting Native Americans.

The Navajo Nation Human Rights Council is holding training sessions this week aimed at raising awareness of hate crimes against Native Americans.

It comes two months after police accused two teenagers of bragging to friends about shooting 50-year-old Ronnie Ross, a Navajo.

While the case is not being prosecuted as a hate crime, advocates say it still underscores concerns for homeless Native Americans.

About 100 people attended the first session Wednesday at the Albuquerque Indian Center. City officials were encouraging police to attend a session Thursday at City Hall.

'He Cried And Hugged Me' Says Brazilian Still Separated From Son - By Peter Prengaman, Associated Press

Twenty-six days after being apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border with his son, a Brazilian man in detention says he has no idea when he may see his 9-year-old, who he fears is distraught and having difficulty communicating because he only speaks Portuguese.

In a phone interview late Thursday from Cibola County Correctional Center in Milan, New Mexico, the 31-year-old father said he had only spoken to his son once by phone since they were separated. The father, who has applied for asylum, agreed to speak to The Associated Press on the condition his name not be used because he fears for his life if sent back to Brazil.

"He cried. He was so sad," said the father. "I had promised him it would only be three to five days."

13 Teacher Prep Programs Pass New Mexico Grading SystemSanta Fe New Mexico, Associated Press

Preliminary grades show thirteen teacher preparation programs in the state under evaluation from the New Mexico Public Education Department received mostly passing grades.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports 10 public two- and four-year colleges, two private universities and an alternative online license program were evaluated for their recruitment efforts; the number, quality and diversity of students who complete its program; whether students are hired after graduation and stay employed; and graduates' performance in the classroom.

According to grades released this week, most programs received B's and C's.

None of the programs received A's or F's.

The private University of the Southwest in Hobbs received the only D.

A New Mexico State University official says many of the factors the grading system looks at are outside a college's control.

New Mexico Jail To Scan Inmates' Eyes To Verify IdentityAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

A New Mexico detention center is looking to use iris scanning technology to verify the identities of inmates coming in and out of the jail after it mistakenly released an inmate who was posing as his cellmate.

The Albuquerque Journal reports Metropolitan Detention Center Chief Greg Rees proposed bringing the system to the Bernalillo County facility on Wednesday.

Inmates' eyes would be scanned as soon as they are booked and before they are released.

Rees says the system will cost the county less than $20,000 a year and could be up and running as early as next month.

The same technology is already being used at the county's juvenile detention center.

Detention Facility Management Board member Rick Miera agrees that the move would be good for the jail.

Washington, Other States Plan To Sue Over Family SeparationsAssociated Press

Washington and more than a half-dozen other states, including New Mexico, say they plan to sue the Trump administration over a policy that separated immigrant families illegally entering the United States.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson made the announcement Thursday outside a federal prison in the city of SeaTac, south of Seattle, where about 200 immigration detainees have been transferred — including women separated from their children.

Ferguson says the separations violate the due process rights of children and their parents and that Trump's executive order Wednesday halting the practice hasn't resolved the legal concerns.

Massachusetts, California, Maryland, Oregon, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Minnesota plan to join the lawsuit. New York has separately announced plans to sue.

Confusion Swirls On Border After Trump Reversal On Families - By Will Weissert, Susan Montoya Bryan And Colleen Long, Associated Press

Immigration enforcement on the U.S.-Mexico border was plunged deeper into chaos over President Donald Trump's reversal of a policy separating immigrant children from parents.

A senior Trump administration official says about 500 of the more than 2,300 children separated from their families at the border have been reunited since May. It was unclear how many of the children were still being detained with their families.

The official was not authorized to speak publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

In the Texas border city of McAllen, federal prosecutors unexpectedly did not pursue charges against 17 immigrants. One said "there was no prosecution sought" in light of Trump's executive order ending the practice of separating families.

But the president showed no sign of softening in public remarks.