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

May 12, 2021
  • Number of children traveling alone at border eases in April

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The number of unaccompanied children encountered on the U.S. border with Mexico in April eased from an all-time high a month earlier, while more adults are coming without families. Authorities encountered nearly 17,200 children traveling alone, down 9% from March but still far above the previous high in May 2019. Family encounters were also down. Overall, Border Patrol encounters topped 173,000, the highest level since April 2000. The numbers aren't directly comparable because many are expelled from the country under federal pandemic-related powers. Being expelled carries no legal consequences, so many people try to cross multiple times.

  • Navajo Nation reports 9 new COVID-19 cases, but no deaths

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation on Tuesday reported nine new confirmed COVID-19 cases, but no additional deaths for the second consecutive day. Tribal health officials say the latest figures pushed the total number of cases since the pandemic began more than a year ago to 30,642 on the vast reservation that covers parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. The known death toll remains at 1,285. Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez says more than half of the reservation's adult population has been vaccinated, but people still need to stay home as much as possible, wear masks and avoid large gatherings.

  • GOP convention moved to Texas to avoid coronavirus rules

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Republican Party is moving their three-day convention this weekend to Amarillo, Texas, after speakers had concerns over New Mexico's COVID-19 restrictions. Party Chairman Steve Pearce says that hundreds have registered to attend the event, dubbed "Operation Freedom." Gatherings in New Mexico are still limited to 150 people or less in most counties. The state is planning to fully reopen once 60 percent of eligible residents are fully vaccinated. Meanwhile, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott lifted the state's mask mandate and other restrictions in March. Pearce said the event's workshops will look past the pandemic toward local organizing and problem-solving.

  • New Mexico reinstates requirement for jobless to seek work

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico is joining several other states that have reinstated the work search requirement for people who receive unemployment benefits. Starting this week, state labor officials say people seeking the payments must verify that they have made at least two work search contacts per week in order to continue receiving the money. The requirement was waived during the pandemic as unemployment rates surged due to businesses closures and cutbacks. The change comes as all but two New Mexico counties now operate in public health safety categories with the least COVID-19 restrictions. The latest state data also shows 48% of residents over 16 are fully vaccinated.

  • Firm's record spurs concerns about New Mexico utility merger

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The track record of global energy giant Iberdrola's U.S. subsidiary Avangrid has sparked concerns among utility regulators as the company seeks approval for a multibillion-dollar merger with New Mexico's largest electric provider. A hearing examiner with the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission said Tuesday that utilities owned by Avangrid have been assessed a total of $25 million in penalties and disallowances for poor customer service in three states in the past 16 months. The official said Avangrid failed to provide information about the enforcement as New Mexico regulators consider its proposed merger with PNM Resources. An attorney for Avangrid said the company will provide the information requested by the examiner.

  • State health agency cites multiple outbreaks of norovirus

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico public health officials say they're investigating multiple outbreaks around the state of a highly contagious disease often called the stomach flu. The Department of Health said precautions such as frequent handwashing are advised to prevent norovirus infection. The department noted that hand sanitizer does not work against norovirus. According to the department, it's important that precautions be taken around the very young, the elderly and those at any age with weakened immune systems because those people are at risk for more serious illness from norovirus infection. The department said norovirus can spread easily among people and symptoms include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

  • Migrant children held in mass shelters with little oversight

The Biden administration is holding tens of thousands of asylum-seeking children in an opaque network of some 200 facilities. The Associated Press has learned that those facilities are spread across two dozen states and include five shelters with more than 1,000 children packed inside. Confidential data obtained by the AP shows that the number of migrant children in government custody has more than doubled in the past two months and that this week the federal government is housing around 21,000 kids, from toddlers to teens. A facility at U.S. Army post Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, had more than 4,500 children on Monday.

  • Capitol siege, immigration issues mark congressional debate

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Republican congressional candidate Mark Moores went on the attack against a Democratic opponent in a final pair of network television debates ahead of the June 1 election to fill an open seat based in the Albuquerque area. Moores on Monday denounced a "radical agenda" from Democratic congressional nominee Melanie Stansbury on immigration, policing, the minimum wage and more. Stansbury rarely engaged in direct retorts as she defended her support for a $15 minimum wage, reforms to address police misconduct and systemic racism, and a more humanitarian approach to immigration. In his only televised debate opportunity, independent congressional candidate Aubrey Dunn Jr. cast himself as an alternative to partisan bickering.