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Local and State News

Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. MDT

  • Migrant children spend weeks at US shelters as more arrive

Some immigrant teens say they've waited weeks or months in massive facilities and don't know when they'll be released to relatives in the United States. Most children were at these emergency intake sites for less than three weeks in mid-July, but more than 700 kids had been there longer. Advocates question why the Biden administration continues to rely these sites, calling them unfit for young children. They want officials to look at a longer-term fix. The administration raced to erect the sites five months ago to house a record number of immigrant children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border alone. But even now, with the summer heat, the crunch on the border shows no sign of abating.

  • New Mexico governor joins US conservation challenge

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham wants to conserve more of the state's land and water. She says doing so will boost other state efforts to mitigate climate change effects. The Democratic governor signed an executive order Wednesday creating a committee that will draft a plan aimed at conserving 30% of New Mexico's land and water by 2030. The Biden administration in May set the ambitious goal of conserving a third of the entire U.S. To make progress, experts have said westerns states must play a key role in the effort. California and Nevada have taken similar action. Some critics worry that it will amount to a land grab by the government.

  • EXPLAINER: What's next for the 'Remain in Mexico' policy?

PHOENIX (AP) — The Supreme Court has ordered the reinstatement of the "Remain in Mexico" immigration policy, saying the Biden administration likely violated federal law by trying to end the Trump-era program that forces people to wait in Mexico while seeking asylum in the U.S. The decision raised questions about what comes next for the future of the policy, also known as the Migrant Protection Protocols. U.S. immigration experts note that no matter what happens over the long term, the Biden administration has a lot of discretion on how broadly it wants to reimplement the "Remain in Mexico" policy. 

  • New Mexico close to rationing hospital care amid pandemic

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Top health officials are warning that New Mexico is about a week away from rationing health care as COVID-19 infections continue to climb. State Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. David Scrase said during a briefing Wednesday that the state is tracking along with its worst-case projections when it comes to spread and hospitalizations. He said the biggest constraint right now is the shortage of health care workers. State officials suggested New Mexico would have to increase the percentage of vaccinated adults by as much as 18% to avert the coming hospital crisis. So far, about two-thirds of New Mexicans over 18 are fully vaccinated.

  • New Mexico races to spend federal grant money on time

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — State agencies in New Mexico already have spent billions of dollars in federal pandemic relief grants as they try to shore up household income, childhood nutrition, public education and internet service. A briefing by the budget and accountability office of the state Legislature shows the state has spent more than half of its $10.1 billion share through 130 grants. Most of the money has gone to mandatory programs such as unemployment insurance and Medicaid. Legislative analysts also noted in Wednesday's briefing that the pressure to spend down the grants may lead to uncompetitive contracting through emergency exemptions.

  • Navajo Nation reports 57 new COVID-19 cases and 1 more death

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation on Wednesday reported 57 new COVID-19 cases _ 20 more than the previous day _ plus one more death. The latest numbers pushed the tribe's totals to 32,374 coronavirus cases and 1,399 known deaths since the pandemic began more than a year ago. The vast Navajo Nation spans parts of New Mexico, Utah and Arizona. Tribal President Jonathan Nez has said all Navajo Nation executive branch employees will need to be fully vaccinated against the virus that causes COVID-19 by the end of September or be required to submit to regular testing. Any worker who does not show proof of vaccination by Sept. 29 must be tested every two weeks or face discipline.

  • Panel appoints replacement to fill New Mexico House vacancy

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — An environmental activist has been sworn in to fill a New Mexico House vacancy created by now-former Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton's resignation amid a corruption investigation. The Bernalillo County Commission on Tuesday appointed Albuquerque Democrat Kay Bounkeua to fill the District 19 seat. Bounkeua was among 10 applicants considered by the commission and is currently the New Mexico deputy state director for the Wilderness Society. She also recently served as the executive director of the New Mexico Asian Family Center. Local media outlets reported that Bounkeua is believed to be the first Asian American woman to serve in the New Mexico Legislature. 

  • Supreme Court orders 'Remain in Mexico' policy reinstated

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court says the Biden administration likely violated federal law in trying to end a Trump-era program that forces people to wait in Mexico while seeking asylum in the U.S. With three liberal justices in dissent, the high court refused Tuesday to block a lower court ruling ordering the administration to reinstate the program informally known as Remain in Mexico. It's not clear how many people will be affected and how quickly. Under the lower court ruling, the administration must make a "good faith effort" to restart the program. There also is nothing preventing the administration from trying again to end the program.