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Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 p.m. MDT

Sep 9, 2019

 

  • AP-US-IMMIGRATION-BORDER-NUMBERS

PHOENIX (AP) — The Trump administration says it saw a 30% drop in the number of people apprehended at the southern U.S. border from July to August, amid summer heat and aggressive crackdowns on both sides of the border to deter migrants.Acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan said Monday that the percentage of border crossers who are traveling as families also slid from roughly 65% to 70% of all migrants to 55%.Morgan credited President Donald Trump's efforts to reduce immigration as well as the Mexican government's clampdown on migrants traveling north, which it says resulted in a 56% reduction in three months.The Border Patrol apprehended just over 50,600 people at the southern border in August.A majority of immigrants coming to the U.S. are Central American families who turn themselves in and are fleeing violence and poverty.

  • PUBLIC EDUCATION-NEW MEXICO

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's newly arrived secretary of public education sees an unprecedented moment of promise at schools as the state spends more on teachers and overhauls its student testing, teacher evaluations and school ratings.In his fifth active day on the job, Secretary Ryan Stewart said Monday that he already has traveled to an ethnically diverse school district on the U.S.-Mexico border as he takes the reins of a public education system that is under court order to improve.Stewart says the Public Education Department currently is choosing among contract proposals to create a new statewide student testing system to start in the spring of 2020.He wants to reverse a teacher shortage and says New Mexico can meet "immense needs with immense resources."

  • IMMIGRATION-ASYLUM

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — A federal judge in California has reinstated a nationwide halt on the Trump administration's plan to prevent most migrants from seeking asylum on the U.S.-Mexico border.U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar on Monday ruled that an injunction blocking the administration's policy from taking effect should apply nationwide.Tigar blocked the policy in July after a lawsuit by groups that help asylum seekers.The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last month limited the impact of Tigar's injunction to states within the area overseen by the appeals court.That meant the policy was blocked in the border states of California and Arizona but not in New Mexico or Texas.The administration wants to prevent most migrants from seeking asylum in the United States if they pass through another country first.

  • AMBER ALERT-NEW MEXICO

ESPANOLA, N.M. (AP) — Authorities say they're searching for a 5-year-old New Mexico girl who has been missing since Sunday morning.The Rio Arriba County sheriff announced late Sunday that an Amber alert was issued for the girl. Authorities did not release additional information about their search, saying many details remain unknown.The girl has been identified as Renezmae Calzada. Authorities say she is 4 feet (1.2 meters) tall. Photos released by authorities show her with long, dark hair and brown eyes.She was reportedly last seen wearing blue shorts with stars and a "Frozen" shirt.Authorities ask anyone with information to call the Rio Arriba County Sherriff's Office at 505-753-5555.Rio Arriba covers more than 5,800 square miles (15,270 kilometers) in northern New Mexico, stretching from the county line north of Santa Fe to the Colorado border.

  • PRISON REFORM-NEW MEXICO

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Department of Corrections has spent the last six months fighting the release of a 2014 report faulting the agency for not monitoring its inmate medical care contract.The Santa Fe New Mexican reports the document is part of a whistleblower lawsuit filed by the department's former behavioral health bureau chief and details an investigation about the lack of audits on the medical care of inmates in New Mexico's prison system.State District Judge Raymond Ortiz says Corrections Department officials "willful" tried to conceal evidence in the case.The report also says former behavioral health bureau chief Bianca McDermott face retaliation for reporting the failures.Corrections Department spokesman Eric Harrison says the strategy regarding the case was made by the prior administration.

  • OIL AND GAS-NATIONAL MONUMENT

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Environmentalists and tribal organizations are protesting a lease sale by the U.S. government that would allow oil and gas companies to develop land considered archaeologically sensitive near a national monument stretching across the Utah-Colorado border that houses sacred tribal sites.Documents show about 47 square miles (122 square kilometers) of land near Hovenweep National Monument in southeast Utah are being offered during the Bureau of Land Management's September lease sale.The sale comes amid an ongoing debate over drilling in states like Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico.Environmentalists and tribal organizations say drilling on the high desert would damage the prehistoric structures and pollute the air.Bureau of Land Management spokeswoman Kimberly Finch pointed to leasing guidelines that companies are asked to follow to be environmentally conscious.

  • NEW MEXICO-FACULTY UNION

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The provost of New Mexico's largest university says he is against a faculty union and is warning against its creation,The Albuquerque Journal reports University of New Mexico Provost James Paul Holloway in a campus memo emailed Thursday said while he doesn't have a vote in the matter, he doesn't think a union would be in the best interests of the university.Holloway wrote that "a system driven by distinction, quality of the ideas and impact of individuals" are inconsistent with the core labor protection ideas of unionism.Law Library professor Ernesto Longa called Holloway's email a classic union-busting technique.Faculty members at New Mexico's largest university will vote on the creation of a faculty union on Oct. 16 and 17. 

  • NAVAJO NATION-FIRES

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — Investigators are asking for help from the public in connection with a string of suspicious fires on the Navajo Nation.The Farmington Daily Times reports the Bureau of Indian Affairs Wildland Fire Management Navajo Region is offering a reward to anyone with information about fires that have occurred since July at Navajo Agricultural Products Industry.An alert was posted on Sept. 4 on the agency's Facebook page, stating that a series of fires have occurred at Navajo Agricultural Products Industry in areas south and east of Ojo Amarillo.Authorities say there have been at least four fires since July 26.Johnson Benallie, regional assistant fire management officer for the Navajo Region of the BIA Fire and Aviation Management, says the investigation remains open.