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Today's News

  • Sessions takes fight on border enforcement to New Mexico

    By MARY HUDETZ, Associated Press

    LAS CRUCES(AP) — As thousands of National Guard troops deploy to the Mexico border, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions brought his tough stance on immigration enforcement to New Mexico on Wednesday, telling border sheriffs that cracking down on illegal crossings and drug smuggling is necessary to build a lawful immigration system.

    Sessions ticked off stories about smugglers being caught with opioids and cocaine at the U.S.-Mexico border and legal loopholes that have encouraged more immigrants to make the journey.

    "This is not acceptable. It cannot continue," he said. "No one can defend the way the system is working today."

    Outside, dozens of immigrant rights activists protested Sessions' visit, once again rejecting his previous characterization of the border region as "ground zero" in the Trump administration's fight against cartels and human traffickers.

    "He was wrong then, and he is wrong now." said Fernando Garcia, executive director of the Border Network for Human Rights in El Paso, just south of Las Cruces.

    As Sessions' motorcade arrived, the group chanted in Spanish and waved signs against the proposed border wall and the deployment of National Guard troops to the region

  • The Latest: Sessions says goal is lawful immigration system

    LAS CRUCES (AP) — The Latest on U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions' trip to the border in New Mexico (all times local):

    2:30 p.m.

    U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions says the U.S.-Mexico border must be secured if the nation is going to have a lawful immigration system.

    In a speech Wednesday in New Mexico, Sessions ticked off stories about drugs being smuggled across the border and illegal crossings that have taxed law enforcement, prosecutors and the court system.

    The attorney general spoke in Las Cruces to a group of sheriffs whose departments patrol areas north of the U.S.-Mexico border in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

    Sessions once again called the situation on the border a crisis that has been allowed to fester for decades and suggested those who oppose border security and immigration enforcement are radicals.

    1:40 p.m.

    The Arizona National Guard plans to offer support at the U.S.-Mexico border for maintenance, repairs and surveillance but not law enforcement.

    Maj. Gen. Michael McGuire says some of the 338 guardsmen and women being deployed will be armed for self-defense.

  • University of New Mexico considers eliminating sports

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — The University of New Mexico has authorized its athletic director to eliminate programs in the cash-strapped department.

    University President Garnett S. Stokes addressed the regents Finance and Facilities Committee on Tuesday, saying athletic director Eddie Nunez has been instructed to propose sport eliminations by this summer.

    Stokes says student athletes should be given notice a year before their sport is eliminated.

    Nunez says no decision has been made yet on which sports will be cut. The university sponsors 22 varsity sports programs.

    The action comes as the athletics department entered this year with $4.7 million in accumulated deficits. The department is expecting to overspend this fiscal year's budget by a $2.1 million and is projecting another $2.3 million deficit for the next year.
     

  • Entrepreneurial orbit: Businesses at heart of resource expo

    BY HOLLY BRADSHAW-EAKES

    Finance New Mexico

    Once a business gets its foot inside the door with an economic development organization like the New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), its opportunities for growth expand dramatically. Jack Kloepfer discovered this while navigating his Aztec, New Mexico, business beyond the line of outdoor recreation products he built from thermoplastic-coated fabrics and into products for energy and aerospace industries. The company’s relationship with New Mexico MEP has led to others, including the New Mexico Small Business Assistance Program (NMSBA), the Small Business Development Center at San Juan College in Farmington and the New Mexico Economic Development Department, where Jack’s Plastic Welding CEO Errol Baade hopes to find capital to expand production space.

  • Republican attorney defends Democratic political gadfly

    SANTA FE (AP) — A Republican candidate for New Mexico secretary of state has volunteered to act as defense attorney for a former congressional intern accused of disorderly conduct at a recent Democratic political convention.

    Court documents filed on Tuesday indicate that political candidate and attorney JoHanna Cox is representing Riley del Rey without pay in Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court.

    Del Rey is confronting allegations that she became violent as officers removed her from the March convention in Albuquerque, where police say she shouted and sounded an air horn to disrupt a speech by gubernatorial candidate and

    Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham.

    Del Rey contends she was discriminated against because of her transgender identity and fired in 2015 from an internship in Lujan Grisham's Washington office. Del Rey recently launched a Facebook-based campaign against Lujan Grisham's bid for governor.
     

  • Harassment complaints increase at New Mexico Legislature

    By MORGAN LEE, Associated Press
    SANTA FE (AP) — The New Mexico Legislature has received more complaints of sexual misconduct or harassment this year than it did over the past decade, after shoring up procedures for investigations.

    Public records requests by The Associated Press show New Mexico's Legislature received four complaints about misconduct or harassment during this year's legislative session — two against lawmakers and two against their staff.

    That's up from just one complaint over the previous decade.

    The AP filed similar records requests in every state, seeking information on sexual misconduct or harassment complaints against lawmakers, as well as any financial settlements.

    Though the process unearthed a total of about 70 complaints and nearly $3 million in settlements nationwide, the actual figures are almost certainly higher.

    That's because a majority of states released no records, with some saying they had no complaints, did not keep a tally or they aren't legally bound to disclose the information.

    Few details of the alleged harassment in New Mexico were available because the Legislature does not disclose information about complaints where there is no finding of probable cause.

  • Legislatures being pressed to produce reports of misconduct

    By MORGAN LEE and DAVID A. LIEB, Associated Press
    SANTA FE (AP) — Documenting sexual harassment complaints against state lawmakers and publicly releasing the outcomes can provide encouragement for people who might otherwise be hesitant to report allegations of inappropriate behavior.

    Experts and many female lawmakers say that's true even if the complaints are ultimately dismissed, because it shows legislative chambers take the matter seriously.

    "If there's no accountability, if we don't know what the outcomes are ... it makes it really hard for them to come forward, it makes it hard for them to trust the system," said Debbie Dougherty, a communications professor at the University of Missouri who researches sexual harassment policies.

    In New Mexico, lobbyist Julianna Koob said she was harassed three years ago while working on behalf of a coalition of sexual assault programs but never reported it for fear that doing so would affect her livelihood.

    "I had no idea that there was a policy for sexual harassment, and the behavior was so in the dark that I didn't think that it should have been reported" at the time, Koob said.

  • Sessions to address immigration at border sheriffs meeting

    LAS CRUCES (AP) — As thousands of National Guard troops deploy to the Mexico border, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions plans to bring his firm stance on immigration enforcement to New Mexico, where a group of Southwest border sheriffs are meeting Wednesday.

    Sessions will speak in Las Cruces at the Texas Border Sheriff's Coalition Annual Spring Meeting with the Southwestern Border Sheriff's Coalition, made up of 31 sheriff's departments from Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.

    All of the counties their departments patrol are located within 25 miles (40 kilometers) of the U.S.-Mexico border.
    Immigrant rights activists promised to protest Sessions' visit, as they rejected his past characterization of the border region during a 2017 visit to El Paso, Texas, as "ground zero" in the Trump administration's fight against cartels, and human traffickers.

    "He treated our home like a war zone, referring to it as 'ground zero,'" said Fernando Garcia, executive director of the Border Network for Human Rights in El Paso. "He was wrong then, and he is wrong now."

    El Paso is some 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Las Cruces.

  • State population gains a little but people are still leaving

     
    The grey of population loss travels the East Side from Lea County to Colfax and the West from San Juan County to Hidalgo. In between is a light thread of slight population gain along the Rio Grande. 

    Overall, New Mexico’s population grew by 2,638 for the 2016-2017 year. The 1.1 percent increase brought us to 2,088,070 New Mexicans, a gain of 23,463 since 2010, the year of the last census. Bernalillo (+14,241) and Sandoval (+10,929) counties, two of metro Albuquerque’s four counties, more than accounted for the state’s seven-year population gain with 25,166 more people. 

    Doña Ana County (+6,357) and Santa Fe (+4,533) together added fewer people than did Sandoval County. Together these four counties grew by 36,056 over seven years. The 26 rural counties plus metro Farmington (San Juan County) together lost 59,519 people. That’s like eliminating Eddy County (56,997) population and making up most of the rest by dumping DeBaca County (1,829).

  • Sessions to discuss immigration enforcement in N.M.

     
    LAS CRUCES (AP) — U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is slated to visit southern New Mexico and speak at a conference for sheriffs in border states.

    Sessions will travel to Las Cruces on Wednesday and deliver remarks on immigration enforcement at an annual meeting organized by the Southwestern Border Sheriff’s Coalition and the Texas Border Sheriff’s Coalition.

    Sessions’ visit comes after President Donald Trump said last week he wants to send 2,000 to 4,000 National Guard members to the border.

    Trump also has said he wants to use the military at the border until progress is made on his proposed border wall.

    The Southwest Border Sheriff’s Coalition is made up of 31 sheriff’s departments from Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.