U.S. Senate Republicans voted 52 to 48 to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who passed away Sept. 18. President Donald Trump held a celebration at the White House Monday evening after the Senate vote and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas swore her in at the White House to the lifetime position. Barrett’s confirmation received no support from Democrats who voiced their anger over her confirmation hearing over the weekend. All Democratic Senators voted against her, including both of those from New Mexico.
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.
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).
On Thursday, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said racism is a “public health emergency” and that she would make examining government policies with institutionalized racism in mind “the center of my administration.”
She announced the formation of the Council for Racial Justice, which will be comprised of several African American community leaders, and she will appoint a racial justice czar. The council will include state Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton, a Democrat from Albuquerque, NM Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs Director Alexandria Taylor and the Reverend Donna Maria Davis of the Grant Chapel AME Church, along with others. Lujan Grisham said during the live press conference that the nation has to “own what slavery did.”
“Until we own that sin…that disgrace, we don’t have the opportunity to move forward,” Lujan Grishan said. The press conference came after recent events that have gripped the nation. Video showed a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on an African American man, George Floyd, for nearly nine minutes, killing him.
The White House announced Thursday it is halting the practice of what it calls “birth tourism” but New Mexico reproductive justice advocates call the new rule discriminatory and say it puts migrants at risk. As of Friday the State Department stopped issuing temporary visitor visas to nonresidents who enter in order to give birth on American soil. The practice enables the baby to be a U.S. citizen. Although it’s not known how many people engage in birth tourism, some conservatives consider it a “loophole” in immigration policy. But reproductive justice advocates call foul and say it’s another tool to demonize immigrants in general, and women immigrants and pregnant immigrants in particular.
U.S. Sen. Tom Udall criticized President Donald Trump Tuesday after the Washington Post revealed that the president disclosed classified information to Russian officials during a meeting in the Oval Office last week. On the Senate floor, Udall said the latest news calls for a “swift” and independent investigation. “The White House and President Trump face another crisis,” Udall said. Udall went on to criticize Trump’s firing of former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and FBI Director James Comey. “The only rational explanation is that he has something to hide,” Udall said.
The White House celebrated the increase of income growth and health insurance coverage along with a decrease of poverty in New Mexico between 2014 and 2015. “New Mexico has added jobs consistently and brought its unemployment rate down, though it’s still a little higher than the national average,” White House Council of Economic Advisers chairman Jason Furman said on a conference call with reporters Thursday. While New Mexico remains one of the poorest states in the nation, the new numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau show that things are trending upwards in these key indicators. Still, the growth in these areas was smaller than in other states. The median household income grew by 5.2 percent between 2014 and 2015 in the United States as a whole from $53,718 to $56,516 according to the Census Bureau numbers.
President Barack Obama’s upcoming trip to New Mexico just got a little more detailed. He and his family are scheduled arrive Friday 1:20 pm on Air Force One at Roswell’s airport. Then, they’ll take a drive to Carlsbad Caverns National Park, where they’ll spend the next few hours and quickly circle back. Air Force One is scheduled to leave Roswell at 5:50 pm. The trip is a part of a celebration of 100 years of the U.S. National Parks Service.
Senator Martin Heinrich was at the White House’s Astronomy Night with his wife and son when he ran into a celebrity of sorts. Ahmed Mohamed, the 14 year old boy who was arrested after building a clock and bringing it to school, finally got his promised chance to meet President Barack Obama. He also met others, including Heinrich and his son, as shown by an image that showed up on Heinrich’s social media pages, including Twitter and Instagram. New Mexico Political Report reached out to a spokeswoman, who said that the Senator, his wife Julie and younger son Micah happened to be in line at the same time as Mohamed. “He was excited to learn there is an engineer in the Senate,” the spokeswoman wrote.
Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez was far away from his home in Valencia County or even the Roundhouse in Santa Fe on Wednesday. The Democrat from Belen took part in the “Summit on Worker Voice” at the White House. The New York Times described the gathering as “an effort to give unions, organizers and some businesses a platform to discuss wages and other issues.”
President Barack Obama spoke at the summit and said that when unions are attacked, the middle class is attacked. He also spoke about income inequality. “America works when we are building a broad-based middle class and there are ladders of opportunity that everybody can reach,” Obama said according to a White House transcript.