ICE actions take place in Las Cruces, Chaparral

According to immigration rights advocates, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement confirmed they conducted immigration actions in New Mexico. Fernando Garcia, the executive director of the Border Network for Human Rights, told NM Political Report his group was able to confirm that some sort of immigration activity took place in Chaparral and Las Cruces. “We don’t know the extent of the activity,” he said in a brief interview. He said it wasn’t clear if this was only targeted actions at certain individuals, or if they were wider raids, as have been reported in other states. In an email, ICE spokeswoman Leticia Zamarripa declined to confirm the operation to NM Political Report, saying they “will not confirm an operation prior to its completion, nor will ICE speculate on future operational activities.”

NM Political Report had asked Zamarripa to confirm actions in Las Cruces and also for information about any other recent enforcement in New Mexico.

‘At risk’ audit list includes state Department of Homeland Security

The State Auditor released its annual ‘At Risk List’ of public entities that failed to submit their mandated audits on time. Three state agencies, four counties, four school districts, one college and ten municipalities failed to submit their annual audits. One entity had an audit opinion that found “significant problems with its financial statements” per the State Auditor press release: The Town of Estancia. State Auditor Tim Keller said in a statement why the list was important. “The ‘At Risk List’ helps policymakers and the public easily identify which entities are behind schedule or reporting financial information that often isn’t cutting it,” he said.

Hispanic lawmakers ask why ICE canceled meeting to discuss immigration raids

Officials with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement canceled a meeting with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, including chairwoman Michelle Lujan Grisham, hours before it was scheduled to take place Tuesday. The Albuquerque Journal first reported the cancellation. CHC, which is made up of Democratic members, has been critical of ICE’s actions and President Donald Trump’s rhetoric towards those in the country illegally, both during his campaign and since becoming president. After the cancellation of the meeting, several members, including Lujan Grisham, held a press conference. #mc_embed_signup{background:#fff; clear:left; font:14px Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; width:100%;}
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Udall questions security at Mar-a-Lago after weekend incident

President Donald Trump’s actions after North Korea launched a ballistic missile caught the attention of U.S. Sens. Tom Udall of New Mexico and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island. This weekend, a member at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club post a photo on Facebook of the president and Prime Minister Shinzō Abe looking at documents in a club dining terrace shortly after North Korea launched a ballistic missile. Staffers held up cell camera lights to help the two world leaders read the documents. A number of experts noted this is “a really bad idea,” as a reporter at The Verge wrote Monday.

Santa Fe weighing lawsuit against government over ‘sanctuary city’ executive order

The city of Santa Fe hasn’t made a decision on whether or not to sue the federal government over its sanctuary city status, but it is an option on the table. This comes after President Donald Trump signed an executive order to withhold federal funding from “sanctuary jurisdictions.”

“We are working on our legal strategy to clarify our standing, marshal our strongest possible arguments, and consider ways to address the executive order on so-called Sanctuary Cities,” city spokesman Matt Ross said in a statement. “One of those avenues may very well be a lawsuit, so it’s certainly on the table, but we’re not there yet.”

The city of San Francisco sued the federal government last week over Trump’s executive order. Ross noted that City Attorney Kelly Brennan brought up the issue at a city council meeting Wednesday night. “There was a good discussion and general agreement to get that process started, to have conversations with the legal community in Santa Fe and with advocates like the ACLU, and then to report back to the Council for a final decision,” Ross said.

Wolf lovers, ranchers face off in competing Capitol rallies

A debate raged Wednesday among dozens of people outside the state Capitol over wolves versus ranchers. “More wolves,” shouted some people holding signs with slogans like “Free the Lobos.” Their supporters howled. “No wolves,” shouted another group, some wearing cowboy hats and holding signs that said, “Moove Over Wolves!” and “No More Lobos!”

National Republicans say they’re going after two NM seats

The national Republican group tasked with winning seats in Congress announced their list of targets of seats currently held by Democrats for the 2018 elections. On  that list are two New Mexico congressional seats, including one that a Republican has never held for a full term. Those seats, the 1st Congressional and 3rd Congressional Districts, would likely be tough races for Republicans, based on recent election results. The National Republican Congressional Committee announced 36 Democratically-held seats as areas for potential pickups to increase their advantage in the House. Republicans currently outnumber Democrats 240-193, with two seats open after lawmakers left those seats to take other positions in government.

Turnout still low, but up in Albuquerque school board election

Yesterday Albuquerque voters turned out in (relatively) big numbers for the Albuquerque Public Schools Board election. In some districts of the city, voter turnout was nearly twice what it was  in the 2013 election, the last time the same districts were up for grabs. Turnout ended at 6.6 percent of eligible voters for APS races. None of the school board races were particularly close, with all four winners clearing 50 percent in races with between four and six candidates. In District 1, incumbent Lorenzo Garcia won with 3,221 votes in the unofficial results, which came to 65.08 percent of the vote.

Udall reads Coretta Scott King letter, after Senate blocked Warren from doing so (Updated)

Hours after Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren was reprimanded for challenging the integrity of a fellow Senator by reading a letter from Coretta Scott King, the widow of Martin Luther King, Jr., New Mexico U.S. Sen. Tom Udall read the letter on the Senate floor without question. Later on Wednesday, new Mexico’s other U.S. Senator read part of the Coretta Scott King letter and criticized the Senate for their actions on Warren. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i715XvBCkio&feature=youtu.be

Tuesday night, Warren tried to read the letter before her senate colleagues. King’s letter  criticized Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions when he unsuccessfully sought a judgeship in the 1980s. In the letter, Coretta Scott King said she opposed his confirmation to a federal judgeship.

Balderas, 14 other AGs back suit against travel ban

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas joined attorneys general from 13 other states and the District of Columbia to file a brief arguing against a ban on travel from seven Muslim-majority countries. This amicus brief is in support of the lawsuit filed by Washington Attorney General Bob Refguson. Because of the Washington lawsuit, a federal judge issued a stay on the executive order signed by President Donald Trump. That means the travel ban is not currently in place. “New Mexico has welcomed hundreds of students, scholars, doctors, and other lawful visa-holders from countries affected by this unlawful order,” Balderas said.