Border patrol agents criticized for treatment of Haitian migrants in Del Rio as U.S. tries to dissuade more from coming

DEL RIO 一 U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Monday sent a message to migrants, particularly Haitians, attempting to enter the country through the southwest border: “People coming to the United States illegally will be returned, your journey will not succeed.”

Mayorkas’ comments in Del Rio come as lawmakers and immigrants rights advocates denounced the treatment of some Haitians by Border Patrol agents. Images and videos taken by journalists and widely shared on social media show agents on horseback charging and herding migrants attempting to cross the Rio Grande, including an agent swinging his reins toward a migrant.

Ozone precursor pollutants hearing kicks off with NMED, park service witnesses

The New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board kicked off a hearing about the ozone precursor pollutants rule on Monday with opening statements from the New Mexico Environment Department, environmental advocacy groups and industry groups. The hearing is anticipated to take two weeks and public comments are being accepted at multiple times each day during the process. Additionally, recordings of the hearing will be posted on YouTube. The EIB will not vote on the rule until after the parties have filed post-hearing briefs and proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law. The hearing examiner will also file her report prior to the EIB voting on the measure.

‘This is the time.’ Stansbury seeks funding for Pueblo irrigation infrastructure

The Pueblo people have been farming along the Rio Grande since time immemorial, but funding is needed for the infrastructure to keep this practice going, according to U.S. Rep. Melanie Stansbury, who worked to get $200 million included in the reconciliation package for that purpose. The Albuquerque Democrat said that the reconciliation package and the infrastructure package are opportunities for Congress to fund major projects that will help people for decades to come. “In Congress, we are fighting for what will likely be one of the largest investments in our communities in generations and we need for the public and our communities to make sure that they get over the finish line,” Stansbury said. There are $280 million of identified needs for irrigation infrastructure for 18 Pueblos in the Rio Grande Basin. There are 19 Pueblos in New Mexico, but Zuni Pueblo, which is located in the Colorado River watershed, is not included.

BLM says social cost of carbon analysis not needed for Loving oil project

When Kayley Shoup, a community organizer with the Carlsbad-based group Citizens Caring for the Future, read over an environmental assessment for new oil wells and infrastructure near Loving, she noticed that the Bureau of Land Management chose not to analyze the social cost of carbon. The BLM states in the environmental assessment that evaluating the social cost of carbon was not required under the National Environmental Policy Act and could provide inaccurate information because a full cost-benefit analysis was not conducted. A social cost of carbon analysis looks at how the emissions from projects can impact human health and the environment. Nathan Matthews, a senior attorney with the Sierra Club, described it as an estimate that federal agencies use to inform their decision making about the consequences of a project. He said it helps the federal agencies evaluate when the emissions from a project will create problems, when these emissions might occur and how much work would be needed to reduce the emissions from the project.

Officials urge DHS to end program that puts asylum seekers at greater risk

Several elected New Mexico officials signed onto a letter sent by the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas asking for the end of border expulsions under Title 42. Title 42 is a program started under former President Donald Trump which has continued under President Joe Biden. Under Title 42, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) expels asylum seekers at the border rather than allowing them to enter the country and go through the process of applying for asylum in the U.S.

Under Biden, some exemptions became available though CBP still turned away the majority who requested asylum at a port of entry. But Katie Hoeppner, a spokesperson for ACLU-New Mexico, told NM Politlcal Report in an email that the situation “is now deeply troubling because there is no way for people seeking asylum to safely approach ports of entry and request protection, no matter how vulnerable they are.”

The letter states that allowing asylum seekers to enter into the U.S. is not only a legal responsibility but that it can be done safely. The letter states that recent research shows that 99 percent of asylum seekers who were not detained or released from immigration custody showed up for their hearings in 2019.