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May 14, 2019
  • IMMIGRATION DETENTION-NEW MEXICO

Closed New Mexico private prison may reopen to hold migrants
ESTANCIA, N.M. (AP) — A closed private prison in central New Mexico may reopen to hold immigrants being detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The Torrance County Commission is set to vote Wednesday on whether to sign an agreement with ICE and reopen the Torrance County Detention Facility owned by the Nashville, Tennessee-based CoreCivic.
The prison has been closed since October 2017.
Commission Chair Ryan Schwebach says the town of Estancia and Torrance County were hit hard by the closure because the area saw the loss of good paying jobs.
County officials say the reopened prison will provide more than 200 jobs and house over 700 inmates.
CoreCivic operates one of the largest private prison systems in the United States.

  • MEDICAL MARIJUANA-NEW MEXICO

Provider says medical cannabis sales trail enrollment growth
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Patient enrollment in New Mexico's medical marijuana program grew at a fast clip in April.
The New Mexico Department of Health says patient enrollment in the cannabis program for health ailments such as cancer, chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder increased by 1,632 to 72,375 in April. That's the equivalent of a 28% annual growth rate.
New Mexico's largest medical marijuana seller said Monday that statewide growth in medical cannabis sales trailed far behind enrollment gains between March 2018 and March 2019.
Albuquerque-based Ultra Health says annual medical marijuana sales grew by 16%. That's less than half the 39% growth rate for enrollment.
State limits on medical marijuana production are currently under review. Ultra Health wants the state to increase purchase limits for patients and allow discounts by volume.

  • MIGRANT FAMILIES-DEPORTATIONS

AP sources: Trump officials discussed deporting families
WASHINGTON (AP) — Homeland Security officials considered arresting migrant families around the country who had final deportation orders and removing them from the U.S. in a flashy show of force.
That's according to two Homeland Security officials and two other people familiar with the proposal, one of several immigration possibilities discussed as the Trump administration manages a crush of migrants at the Southwest border. They aren't authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The idea was to arrest thousands in 10 different cities. But then-Immigrations and Customs Enforcement head Ron Vitiello and then-Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen halted it over concerns about diverting resources from the border, a lack of detention space and the possibility of public outrage.
The plan remains under consideration.
The Department of Homeland Security declined to comment.

  • HEROIN DISTRIBUTION CONVICTION

Albuquerque man convicted on 2 heroin trafficking offenses
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — An Albuquerque man has been convicted of distributing heroin that resulted in the death of an 18-year-old addict in 2011.
Federal prosecutors say 34-year-old Raymond Moya was found guilty Monday on two heroin trafficking offenses.
Moya was indicted in May 2015. At the time, Moya was serving a 72-month federal prison sentence for his conviction for committing a heroin trafficking crime in Albuquerque in November 2011.
Prosecutors say Cameron Weiss died from an overdose in August 2011, one day after buying heroin from Moya.
Moya remains in custody pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.
Because of his status as a career offender with a criminal history that includes at least four prior felony convictions, prosecutors say Moya could be facing a life prison sentence.

  • BORDER-RELOCATING MIGRANTS

Planes, buses move migrants from crowded border shelters
EL PASO, Texas (AP) — U.S. authorities are using aircraft to move migrants to less-crowded areas for processing, while others have been bused as far north as Colorado to alleviate the strain on overwhelmed shelters along the border in Texas and New Mexico.
Several dozen migrants were bused to Denver overnight with the help of the New Mexico governor's office to help crowded shelters in El Paso and neighboring Las Cruces, New Mexico, where one shelter reported running low on food.
It's likely the bus trips will continue. In addition, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has scheduled daily flights out of Texas' Rio Grande Valley at least through Tuesday for some migrants.
The flights aim to ensure adults don't slip through the cracks as agents scramble to process the increasing number of families crossing the border.

  • HEPATITIS A OUTBREAK

2nd death in Bernalillo County linked to hepatitis A virus
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Department of Health officials have confirmed 103 acute hepatitis A virus infections since last October with two associated deaths in Bernalillo County.
An acute case of hepatitis A infection also has been confirmed in Santa Fe County.
The current outbreak has primarily impacted people who use both injection and non-injection drugs and people experiencing homelessness.
Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that results from infection with the hepatitis A virus.
It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months.
Hepatitis A infection typically causes fever, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, dark urine, and yellowing of the skin and eyes.

  • BUS DRIVER-ASSAULT

New Mexico school bus driver accused of rape
CHAMA, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico school bus driver is accused of raping a 7-year-old student on the way home after school.
Stephen George Meek made his initial appearance in court Monday and was ordered held on charges that include criminal sexual penetration, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and enticement of a child.
It wasn't immediately clear if he had an attorney.
According to an initial investigation by state police, the 66-year-old Meek allegedly assaulted the girl after all the other students had been dropped off last Wednesday.
Police say Meek pulled the bus over and walked back to the girl's seat, pulled off her clothes and assaulted her.
The girl told her grandparents that Meek raped her, and police say a physical exam indicated that she had been assaulted.

  • CUBANS-ASYLUM SURGE

Burgeoning numbers of Cubans trying to enter US via Mexico
CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico (AP) — Burgeoning numbers of Cubans are trying to get into the U.S. by way of the Mexican border, creating a big backlog of people waiting on the Mexican side for months for their chance to apply for asylum.
The surge over the past several months has been propelled in part by loosened traveled restrictions in Central America and deteriorating living conditions in Cuba.
About 4,500 people, the vast majority of them Cuban, are waiting in Ciudad Juarez, across from El Paso, Texas, for their asylum interviews.
For Cubans and others, one of the biggest obstacles is simply getting an opportunity to apply for asylum. Over the past year, the Trump administration has sharply limited the number of asylum claims it processes at land crossings. That has forced people to wait their turn in Mexico.