Gary Johnson’s ‘What is Aleppo?’ gaffe goes viral

Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson received a lot of attention in the past two days for his longshot presidential bid as a Libertarian—but not all of the publicity was good publicity. Yesterday, former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney tweeted he would like to see Gary Johnson in the presidential debates alongside Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and current Republican candidate Donald Trump. He also said he would like to see Johnson’s running mate Bill Weld in the Vice Presidential debate alongside Clinton running mate Tim Kaine and Trump running mate Mike Pence.

Romney has not endorsed Trump and, indeed, is one of the most-outspoken Republican critics of Trump. Still, Romney has yet to endorse Johnson, despite rumors a few months ago he was considering it.

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.

Former Gov. Johnson weighs in on Martinez scandals, Syria

A former Republican governor of New Mexico criticized Gov. Susana Martinez for her stance on Syrian refugees and predicts that she may end in the same boat as her predecessor when it comes to the perception of corruption. Gary Johnson is arguably the most athletic governor New Mexico has seen, so it was not much of a surprise that he answered a call from NM Political Report while riding his bicycle from Albuquerque to Santa Fe. Johnson, who famously left the Republican Party to run for president as a Libertarian, has been outspoken on topics like marijuana legalization and what he sees as overreach by the federal government. He told NM Political Report the United States is at least partially to blame for the situation many Syrian refugees are currently facing. “[The U.S.] should take our fair share,”Johnson said.

30 years ago, a New Mexico governor accepted refugees

Algernon D’Ammassa is a writer, theatre artist, and founder of the Deming Zen Center. This week most of us will celebrate Thanksgiving, perhaps with the traditional turkey and mashed potatoes, and since we live in New Mexico there might also be tamales, capirotada, perhaps cranberries laced with local pecans. Amid overeating and football, a few might even reflect on the meaning of Thanksgiving for a moment. The story of the first Thanksgiving is the story of a vulnerable population welcomed to the home of another people. In a nation torn by political battles over immigration and refugees, particularly the Syrian refugee crisis, Thanksgiving is highly significant.

‘Game of Thrones’ author says NM should accept Syria refugees

George R.R. Martin, the Santa Fe resident and author behind the massively popular book series that led to a hit HBO TV show, says that the United States should accept Syria refugees. In a post on his blog last week, Martin criticized those who oppose allowing Syrian refugees into the state, including Gov. Susana Martinez. President Barack Obama has announced that the United States would accept 10,000 refugees from the war-torn country. Critics say that ISIS, which is one of the factions involved in the civil war in Syria, would be able to place terrorists among the refugees. The rhetoric against allowing Syrian refugees into the country grew after the terror attacks in France earlier this month.

NM House delegation split on Syria bill

The U.S. House passed a bill that critics say would severely hobble the program of allowing Syrian and Iraqi refugees into the country—with enough votes to override a threatened veto by President Barack Obama. Democrats in the Senate, however, have vowed that it will not pass that chamber. The legislation would require an FBI background check on each potential refugee. It would also require the heads of the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and the director of national intelligence to personally sign off on each refugee from Syria and Iraq. Those supporting the bill have said that it is necessary, in light of the recent terror attacks in Paris, to ensure no terrorists are included among those seeking refugee status in the United States.

Martinez joins White House call on refugees

Governors from around the country joined a call with White House officials regarding the United States’ plan to accept up to 10,000 Syrian refugees. Gov. Susana Martinez joined the call, according to reports from the Associated Press and KVIA-TV. In all, the White House said that 36 governors participated to the call led by White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough. Spokesmen for Martinez did not respond to requests for comment or questions about the call left on voicemail and email. According to the White House, which released information about the call to the media, 13 of the governors asked questions on the call, which lasted nearly 90 minutes.

Udall weighs in on Syria refugees: ‘We are not at war against a religion’

Senator Tom Udall weighed in on the hot-button topic of how the United States should deal with refugees from Syria, saying they should take a balanced approach. Udall also urged focus on who the U.S. is fighting. “We are not at war against a religion; we’re fighting radical extremist thugs who are driven by violence and hatred,” Udall said in a statement sent on Tuesday afternoon. “Knee-jerk, fear-driven policies that would deny help to desperate children and innocent families are contrary to America’s history and values and have no place in a must-pass bill to keep our government operating.” Martin Heinrich, the other U.S. Senator from New Mexico, spoke about the issue earlier on Tuesday.

Heinrich: Assuming all Syrian refugees a threat is ‘rejection of American values’

U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich said that those who assume the refugees fleeing from Syria are a threat “is a rejection of American values and represents giving in to our worst ethnic and religious prejudices.” Heinrich made the remarks in a statement sent to media on Tuesday morning in which he also acknowledged the need for “the highest levels of vetting and scrutiny” for potential refugees from the Middle Eastern country. Related Story: Udall weighs in on Syria refugees: ‘We are not at war against a religion’
A majority of governors, including New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, have expressed concern about Syrian refugees and said they will not accept any refugees fleeing the war-torn country. Of course, governors have very little say in refusing refugees. President Barack Obama’s administration has said they would accept 10,000 of the more than four million refugees from Syria.

Heinrich not on board with plan to put boots on the ground in Syria

New Mexico’s junior U.S. Senator is not on board with a White House plan to send special operations troops to Syria. Martin Heinrich, a Democrat, sent a letter to President Barack Obama outlining why he thinks putting troops, even a limited amount, on the ground in the Syrian conflict is a bad idea. “Imagine the scenario in which American forces are deployed alongside Syrian opposition forces and come into combat with ISIL, who are also being targeted by Russian and Syrian military forces via land and air,” Heinrich wrote. “The margin for error diminishes considerably, and the consequences of either accidental or intentional fire on our ground forces–or Russian and Syrian forces–expand greatly.” Heinrich says that a mistake would likely result in retaliation.