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.

Senate panel advances background check bill

A state Senate committee listened to an hour of emotional testimony Tuesday, then voted 5-3 on party lines to advance a bill expanding background checks for people buying guns. The packed hearing room included a sea of red T-shirts worn by members of a gun safety advocacy group called Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. Many people fighting the measure also turned out, including a group of law enforcement officials who wore stickers announcing their opposition to Senate Bill 48 and the identical House Bill 50, which is scheduled for its first committee hearing Saturday. People on both sides of the issue shared personal stories with the Senate Public Affairs Committee about how violence has adversely affected their lives. Robin Brulé of Albuquerque, who supports expanding background checks, recounted how a robber shot and killed her mother, a 75-year-old retired teacher, last year in Arizona.

Udall said no, but some Dems still looking at 2018 run for governor

After U.S. Sen. Tom Udall said he would not run to be the next governor, some Democrats released statements about potentially running for the state’s highest office. A spokeswoman for Hector Balderas, the state’s Attorney General, said he is considering a run for governor in 2018, and the mayor of Santa Fe says supporters have asked him to run. This is on top of U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who previously said she would decide whether or not to run for governor by the end of the year. Related: Tom Udall says he will not run for governor in 2018

Caroline Buerkle, who worked on campaigns for Balderas in the past, sent a statement to media Wednesday afternoon after Udall’s announcement that he would remain in the US Senate. “Attorney General Balderas is seriously considering a run for governor and has deep concerns about the future of our state,” Buerkle said.

Santa Fe won’t end ‘sanctuary city’ status, even under President Trump

Less than a week after Donald Trump won the election for president of the United States, the mayor of New Mexico’s capital city is not backing down from so-called “sanctuary” status. This comes despite threats to cut federal money to such cities made by the president-elect during the campaign. “The threat is intended to divide us against each other,” Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales wrote in a statement on Twitter Monday afternoon. “It is one of the first, but it won’t be the last we see out of this administration, which based on its own words intends to persecute and attack not only immigrants but women, Muslims, people of color, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and more.”

Though there is no formal legal definition, the politically charged term “sanctuary city” typically refers to cities that limit cooperation with the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency on immigration policies. Santa Fe, for example, bars the use of public resources to check for someone’s immigration status.

Police officer calls out racism in Santa Fe

A black police officer in Santa Fe called the state capital city “one of the most racist places I’ve ever been.”

Anwar Sanders spoke to the Albuquerque Journal for an article published this Sunday and made the remarks. “People are just so racist,” Sanders said. “It’s like almost sickening. Just because you’re gay-friendly doesn’t mean you’re black-friendly.”

“This is probably one of the most racist places I’ve ever been,” he said. Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales responded to the Albuquerque Journal article on Facebook.

Santa Fe bans most travel to NC, MS over anti-LGBT laws

The city of Santa Fe banned most official travel to Mississippi and North Carolina in the wake of the passage of laws targeting LGBT residents. Mayor Javier Gonzales linked to a story about Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signing a law that allows many to reject services for same-sex couples on religious grounds. “Santa Fe will continue the policy of banning all non-essential travel to States that pass hateful legislation that promotes discrimination,” Gonzales wrote. Gonzales is the first openly gay mayor of Santa Fe. The Santa Fe New Mexican first reported on the news.

Berry says ABQ would ‘welcome’ Syrian refugees

After speaking with contacts at the White House and receiving a briefing on the security process, Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry said that Albuquerque would welcome Syrian refugees if the federal government chooses to send refugees from the war-torn country to the city. Berry made the comments while calling into the KUNM Call-In show on Thursday. “It won’t really be up to the mayors whether they do or don’t come to your city but if Syrian refugees get here, just like Rwandan refugees, Cuban refugees, Vietnamese or whatever country comes next—unfortunately there’s always some need—we’ll do what we always do,” Berry said. “New Mexico is a big-hearted place and we’ll welcome them to our home like it’s theirs and we’ll work with them.” Berry said that after initial comments where he said he was not confident in the security process, he reached out to contacts in the White House and received a briefing.

MLK, Cesar Chavez street name debate divisive in Roswell

A proposal to rename two Roswell streets after civil rights icons Martin Luther King Jr. and César Chávez is bringing attention to a growing dispute in the city. A public meeting in the city’s downtown library last week, according to the Roswell Daily Record “illustrat[ed] a deep ethnic divide” in the city between Hispanics and Anglos. The newspaper reports that “19 people who appeared to be Anglo” spoke in opposition to renaming the streets while four people who were “clearly Hispanic” spoke in favor. No final decisions were made, and some city councilors are characterizing vocal opposition to the street renaming proposal as racial in nature. The Associated Press spoke to one city councilor who had a theory on the opponents of the name change.

Pope’s speech a wake-up call

Javier Gonzales is the mayor of Santa Fe and a Catholic. I’ve spent a lot of time this week reflecting and talking about the influence Pope Francis has had on me personally, and what his visit means. My struggle with growing up as a gay man and eventually coming out in a very traditional Catholic family is no secret. And the courage the Pope gave me when he said “Who am I to judge?” played a huge role in that. So as I stood on the South Lawn at the White House and heard the man bring his message of hope and unity to the U.S., it was an incredibly powerful and emotional moment.

New Mexico politicos see the Pope in D.C.

New Mexicans were among the thousands to see Pope Francis’ historic visit to Washington D.C. today. The Pope will address Congress on Thursday, but the New Mexico delegation was on hand on Wednesday with guests to see the Pope speak on the White House South Lawn. The Pope addressed climate change, saying it is “a critical moment in history” to address the problem, and referred to himself as “the son of an immigrant family.” Both play into recent American politics, as one might expect from a speech in Washington D.C., but also to common themes of Pope Francis’ time in charge of the Catholic Church. Gov. Susana Martinez traveled to Washington D.C. to see the Pope speak.