NM cities push back against Trump immigration policies

Three of the state’s largest cities highlighted their opposition to Donald Trump’s immigration and border policies this week. The moves come as President Donald Trump has given more power to the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to apprehend immigrants in the country illegally. The move appears to show wider enforcement against both those with criminal records and those without. In Albuquerque, the city council* approved a memorial reaffirming the city’s “immigrant-friendly” status. The move came in front of a packed crowd that included many who were unable to fit in the chambers.

‘He Will Not Divide Us’ livestream shut down after reported gunshots

That didn’t take long. Less than a week after artists, including actor Shia LaBeouf, put up an art installation called “He Will Not Divide Us” with a livestream of video, the stream was taken down. LaBeouf announced on Twitter early in the morning Thursday that he and the other two artists behind the installation were taking the livestream offline “after shots were reported in the area.”

An Albuquerque Police Department spokesman says there were gunshots near, but were not connected to the installation. “We had an incident a block away occur however it is NOT connected to the camera being there but may have been the same incident heard on the camera,” Fred Duran said in an email. “We have no proof that it was.”

House panel passes bill to block use of state land for border wall

A State House committee voted to pass a bill that would halt the state from aiding in the construction of a wall between the United States and Mexico by stopping the sale or use of state land for such a wall. The bill passed the House State Government, Indian and Veterans Affairs Committee on a party-line vote, with all five Democrats voting in favor and all four Republicans voting against. Rep. Javier Martinez, D-Albuquerque, was one of the bill’s sponsors and said the wall would not prevent undocumented immigration. “If the purpose of this wall is to eliminate illegal immigration from Mexico, keep in mind that over 40 percent of those in this country illegally actually entered with a valid visa,” Martinez said. “So they arrived at an airport or arrived at a checkpoint with proper documentation and simply overstayed that documentation.”

Rep. Bill McCamley, D-Mesilla Park, said that the legislation would also send a signal to Mexico, a key trade partner.

Dems: Popular vote should determine presidential winner

New Mexico’s five electoral college votes would be awarded to the presidential candidate who received the most popular votes nationally, under a bill that state senators approved Monday in a party-line decision. All 26 Democratic senators voted for the measure and all 16 Republicans opposed it, perhaps a predictable outcome three months after Republican Donald Trump lost the popular vote but handily won the presidency in the electoral college. The sponsor of the bill, Sen. Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque, said the electoral college allows presidential candidates to ignore most voters because it largely functions as a winner-take-all system in individual states. “Candidates have no reason to pay attention to states where they are comfortably ahead or hopelessly behind,” Stewart said. In addition, she said, minority-party voters in heavily Republican or overwhelmingly Democratic states believe that their votes don’t matter because the electoral college takes precedence over the popular vote.

‘He Will Not Divide Us’ comes to ABQ

One week after the Museum of Moving Image in New York City shut down the performance art piece “He Will Not Divide Us”, the artists behind the infamous art installation project resurrected it in an unlikely setting—downtown Albuquerque. The project, now located on 7th Street in downtown Albuquerque outside the El Rey Theater, consists of a camera set on a wall streamed on the Internet under big black, all-caps words “He Will Not Divide Us.” The project is by LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner. The art collective’s most famous member, film actor Shia LaBeouf, made headlines when the project kicked off the day after the inauguration of President Donald Trump. The project encourages members of the public to say, “He will not divide us” in front of the livestreamed camera at any time. The three artists intend for the livestream 24 hours a day to last through Trump’s presidency.

Reported plan to use National Guard to apprehend immigrants included NM

A draft memo from the White House to deploy National Guard troops in certain states to aid in rounding up those in the country illegally. One of those states is New Mexico. At least two spokesmen have denied the report from the Associated Press. The AP first reported on the existence of the draft memo this morning and said that Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly wrote the memo himself. From the AP report:
Four states that border on Mexico are included in the proposal — California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas — but it also encompasses seven states contiguous to those four — Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.

Udall, Heinrich calling for investigations in wake of Flynn resignation

Both U.S. Senators from New Mexico are calling for investigations into Donald Trump’s administration—for two separate scandals, both involving national security. U.S. Sen. Tom Udall signed onto a letter with ten other Democratic U.S. senators asking for an investigation into communications between Michael Flynn, the retired lieutenant general who was recently Trump’s national security advisor, and those with ties to Russian government officials. The letter sent to Attorney General Jeff Sessions said an investigation is needed “to determine what General Flynn did, who knew about it, and when.”

Udall also previously called for an investigation into the influence of the Russian government on the election. U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, who is a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, called for an investigation into the handling of classified information. “We’ve seen a pattern of carelessness and lack of accountability from this administration that puts our national security and America’s standing in the world at risk,” Heinrich 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.

Pearce: Border wall won’t work

U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce, the state’s only Republican congressman, has been one of President Donald Trump’s staunchest supporters in New Mexico. Pearce stumped for Trump while other Republicans shunned him, and he’s backed some of the president’s most controversial proposals to roll back regulations on oil and gas drilling. But when it comes to building a wall between the United States and Mexico, Trump’s signature campaign theme, Pearce said Thursday it will not work. “You can come over it, under it, around it, through it,” Pearce said in an interview after addressing both houses of the New Mexico Legislature. Pearce has long criticized proposals to construct a barrier on the border with Mexico, which is also the southern boundary of his vast district, expressing skepticism that a wall or fence would improve nationals security.