ICE reverses policy on international students

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement walked back its plan to prohibit distance learning for international students Tuesday. The plan which targeted students on nonimmigrant F-1 or M-1 visas from being able to take all of their course work online this coming fall threw a few thousand students in New Mexico into uncertainty. The University of New Mexico and New Mexico State University have 1,100 and 1,000 international students respectively. New Mexico Tech has 134 and Western New Mexico University in Silver City has about 50 international students while Highlands University in Las Vegas has about 60. Highlands University President Sam Minner told NM Political Report on Tuesday the ICE policy issued last week is “shameful.”

Minner said where possible, the university was advising international students to take a thesis class in the fall to satisfy the ICE requirement that at least one class be in-person.

The 13th day of more than 200 new cases of COVID-19 reported in New Mexico

New Mexico is experiencing another day of more than 200 cases of COVID-19, this time 227 with 65 of that coming from Bernalillo County. Doña Ana County is not far behind with 49 cases. McKinley County also continues to have double digit numbers of new cases with 22. Both San Juan and Santa Fe counties have double digit numbers as well with 12 new cases in each of those counties. This is the 13th straight day the New Mexico Department of Health has reported more than 200 cases in the state.

12th day of new cases of COVID-19 above 200 in New Mexico, 82 in Doña Ana County

For the twelfth straight day in a row, New Mexico continues to report daily COVID-19 cases above 200, this time with 264 new cases of the respiratory illness. Doña Ana County reported the highest number of new cases Monday with 82. Bernalillo County had 59. McKinley and San Juan counties both continue to report double digit numbers as well with 24 and 21 respectively. The new confirmed cases represented 4.4 percent of the 5,998 tests processed since Sunday.

New Mexico one of 18 states to sue Pres. Trump over international student policy

New Mexico is one of 18 states suing the Trump administration over the new U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement rule that targets international students. The lawsuit calls the new regulation an “insuperable burden” on American colleges and universities as they now have to certify every international student’s respective class schedule to demonstrate that the students are not taking all of their course work online, by August 4. ICE issued the new regulation last week, which some affected New Mexico institutions of higher learning called “vague.” New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology has 134 international students. The University of New Mexico has 1,100 and New Mexico State University has about a 1,000. The regulation states that students on nonimmigrant F-1 or M-1 visas cannot legally remain in the country if all of their course work is online.

COVID-19 cases continue to grow around the state

For 11 straight days, New Mexico health officials have reported more than 200 cases of COVID-19. The New Mexico Department of Health reported on Sunday the state has 262 new cases with Bernalillo County reporting nearly half of that at 111 additional cases. The other counties consistently reporting double digit new cases are Doña Ana, at 32; San Juan with 24; and McKinley with 20. Sandoval County, just north of Bernalillo County, also reported double digit numbers Sunday with 17. The new cases brought the state’s total to 15,028.

Another 230 confirmed COVID-19 cases on Saturday

With Eddy and Curry counties showing double digit new cases, the state announced 230 additional cases of COVID-19 Saturday. The new confirmed cases represented 3.2 percent of the 7,173 tests processed since Friday. Bernalillo County continued to lead the state in the largest number of new cases – 80 – reported by the New Mexico Department of Health. Doña Ana, McKinley and San Juan counties all also reported double digit cases on Saturday. Both Eddy County, which has 13 new cases, and Curry County, which has 12, border Texas, a state that has become a hot spot for the respiratory illness in recent weeks.

New Mexico women can still get contraception coverage despite Supreme Court ruling

New Mexico women who need contraception are likely safe for now despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s 7-2 decision which will allow private companies to opt out of providing insurance coverage for it, according to the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico. A recent law passed in New Mexico enables women in the state to continue contraceptive coverage despite the court’s decision which now enables private companies to deny contraception coverage by citing moral or religious objections. But, Ellie Rushforth, reproductive rights attorney for the ACLU-NM warned, the future is uncertain. “It doesn’t mean we’re fully insulated from future issues related to this,” she said. The Supreme Court overturned a lower court’s decision on Wednesday in the case, Little Sisters of the Poor Saints Peter and Paul Home v. Pennsylvania.

NM universities respond to new ICE rule targeting international students

New U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) regulations on international students is creating uncertainty on New Mexico university campuses. ICE issued a news release Monday that restricts students who are on F-1 and M-1 nonimmigrant visas. Students on F-1 visas pursue academic coursework while students on M-1 visas take vocational training. ICE’s new regulation prohibits students on F-1 and M-1 visas from remaining in the U.S. legally if they take online course work only. During the start of the pandemic, when many colleges, including New Mexico State University, shifted to online only classes, ICE made an exception for international students because it was the middle of the semester, said Seth Miner, director of admissions, orientation and international student and scholar services for NMSU.

Wanted: 18-year-old women to vote

Long-time Albuquerque-based activist Pamelya Herndon thinks women will achieve pay equity by 2030. According to a national group called Status of Women, if current trends continue, women in New Mexico won’t see equal pay until 2054. Women of color face even greater pay inequities due to systemic racism. Herndon acknowledges the disparity, but despite those obstacles, she remains optimistic that all women will make the same as white men by 2030 regardless of color. “I absolutely do (believe we’ll get there).

Poll finds Hispanic families still in need of relief

A recent survey of 480 Hispanics in the state found that close to half have $1,000 or less in savings and nearly a quarter have $100 or less. The survey from Latino Decisions, in partnership with several other nonprofit organizations, found that 49 percent of Hispanics surveyed have $1,000 or less set aside for emergencies and 24 percent have $100 or less in savings. In addition, 48 percent have had their hours or pay cut since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. A group of 45 elected officials, including some from the state’s three largest cities of Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Las Cruces as well as other cities and counties around the state, signed a letter sent to New Mexico’s congressional leadership Tuesday asking that all residents, regardless of immigration status, be included in the next federal relief bill. Migrants and refugees who lack social security numbers were left out of the federal relief CARES Act in late March.