[Watch Video] ICE raids come to New Mexico; Protestors block streets in response

In response to reports of at least two local ICE raids Wednesday morning, Doña Ana County residents rallied at the Federal Courthouse in Las Cruces.  Immigration community advocates reported that persons arrested in the raid included at least one person who had no criminal record, contradicting the Trump administration’s ICE reports that they are only focussing on arresting previously convicted felons. Word of the ICE actions spread quickly through the tightly connected progressive community via texts and social media. After a brief rally the Federal Courthouse, participants – including ProgressNowNM’s local manager Lucas Herndon – marched to the city’s busiest intersection at the height of rush hour and shut it down with protests in the streets and supporters chanting on the sidewalks. ICE actions take place in Las Cruces, Chaparral | NM Political Report
BREAKING: Immigration raids in Las Cruces Wednesday morning – KVIA

ProgressNow’s Lucas Herndon provided video of the protest as police arrived.

Report: More Than Half of People Who Shot and Killed New Mexico Law Enforcement Officers Were Likely Prohibited From Possessing Guns (but no one checked)

New Mexico appears to be on the brink of becoming the next state in the country to pass responsible background check requirements for gun sales. Now, a new report by one group supporting the effort shows that as many as half of the persons who killed a New Mexico law enforcement officer since 1987 shouldn’t have been able to own a gun in the first place – but there were no laws on the books requiring anyone to check. From Everytown.org:

New Mexico Background Check Bills, Senate Bill 48 and House Bill 50, Slated for Consideration During 2017 Legislative Session, Seek to Protect Law Enforcement by Preventing Convicted Felons and Other Dangerous People from Getting Guns; Research Shows Background Checks Save Officers’ Lives

New Everytown Polling Reveals 87 Percent of New Mexicans Support Criminal Background Checks for All Gun Sales, Including 84 Percent of Gun Owners

NEW YORK – A new analysis released today by Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund reveals that more than half of the people who shot and killed a New Mexico law enforcement officer in the line of duty over the past 30 years – from January 1987 to December 2016 – were likely barred by state or federal law from buying or possessing firearms at the time of the incident. This legislative session, New Mexico lawmakers will be voting on Senate Bill 48 and House Bill 50 – legislation that will close the background check loophole in New Mexico and require criminal background checks for all gun sales to make the state safer for law enforcement officers and all New Mexicans. “Every day, law enforcement works their hardest to protect our fellow New Mexicans, but our current laws leave those on the front lines – and in our communities – in vulnerable positions.

Love (and Methane) is in the Air for Gov. Martinez

Governor Susana Martinez is in love. In love with oil and gas companies, that is. A couple of weeks ago, Gov. Martinez wrote a letter to U.S Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, urging Congress to repeal the “methane rule.”

She was referring, of course, to the Bureau of Land Management’s Methane and Waste Reduction Rule, which seeks to “reduce the waste of natural gas from flaring, venting, and leaks from oil and gas production on public and Indian lands.”

This is alarming for a number of reasons, including the fact that three years ago NASA discovered a methane spot the size of Delaware hovering above the San Juan Basin in northwestern New Mexico, home to tens of thousands of oil and gas wells. Martinez’s motives for doing this make no sense. The methane rule is a common sense regulation that protects the environment from careless oil and gas companies.

After questioning ICE raids, ICE cancels meeting with Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Hispanic Caucus

New Mexico’s Michelle Lujan Grisham made the rounds on national TV Monday ahead of a planned meeting to discuss new immigration raids with the acting director of ICE – until he cancelled. KOAT-TV reported this from the Associated Press:
An ICE spokesperson confirmed agents arrested 680 undocumented immigrants in Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Texas and New York. In a statement, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said the operations have been happening for years, but added that the agency is clear on its mission from President Donald Trump to remove undocumented immigrants who pose a public safety threat. ICE officials said 75 percent of those deported in the past two weeks were criminals. Lujan-Grisham addressed the deportations Monday in an interview with ABC News.

(After DeVos donated to her campaigns) Gov. Martinez wrote DeVos letter of recommendation for Trump education job

Michigan billionaire Betsy DeVos, along with family and companies associated with her, donated at least $12,000 to Susana Martinez’s campaign for re-election in 2014.  Fast-forward to 2017 and DeVos became Donald Trump’s surprise nominee to head the US Dept. of Education and Martinez stepped in to help. On January 4, 2017 Gov. Susana Martinez ‘s name appeared on a letter of recommendation for Betsy DeVos published in the Investor’s Business Daily – a magazine for business leaders, not educators. “Betsy DeVos is the right person for the job.”

In first post-Trump elections, progressives sweep school elections helped by record voter turnout

Progressive candidates fought off pro-Trump Tea Party candidates in school board elections around the state, Tuesday. It was the first election test of the newly energized progressive movement in the Trump era. The results are still coming in but the early results are already clear:  this movement isn’t just about resistance in the streets – we’re voting, too! “Voter turnout in Albuquerque was almost double what it was two years ago, and early numbers show that those voters came out for a slate of progressive candidates endorsed by educators unions, progressive elected leaders and community organizations, including ProgressNowNM,” says Pat Davis, executive director of ProgressNowNM. In a sign of progressive voting power:

ProgressNowNM’s Progressive Champions PAC Voter Guide was viewed online more than 25,000 times – 14,511 times in the 7 days preceding the election.

ProgressNow NM staffer recognized for leadership with award

Last Friday ProgressNow New Mexico’s own Lucas Herndon was recognized by the New Mexico State University College of Arts and Sciences during their annual A Starry Night award ceremony. “The Stars of Arts and Sciences recognizes living individuals who have achieved state, national, or international distinction by their accomplishments and leadership, all while supporting their community and the NMSU College of Arts and Sciences,” according to their website. Herndon is the Communications Manager for ProgressNow New Mexico based in Las Cruces. As a graduate of NMSU with a degree in History, Herndon has continued to work and live in southern New Mexico to help his community however he can. “I grew up here.

Udall to vote against Trump’s HHS nominee (the architect of the Obamacare repeal)

New Mexico’s Senators are making their opposition to President Trump’s most extreme nominees known. Today, Sen. Udall announced his opposition to Trump’s nominee to head the Dept. of Health and Human Services who will be the chief architect of the repeal of Obamacare. Read More:
ProgressNowNM’s coverage of Trump’s nominees and Sen. Heinrich & Udall
NM Political Report: How New Mexico’s U.S. Senators voted on Trump’s nominees

From Udall:

Udall to Vote Against Tom Price for Secretary of Health and Human Services

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall announced that he will vote against confirming Congressman Tom Price (R-Ga.) as Secretary of Health and Human Services. Udall released the following statement:

“During his long career in Congress and in his testimony before the Senate, Congressman Tom Price has been relentlessly committed to a radical agenda that would strip health coverage from hundreds of thousands of New Mexicans and millions of Americans.

Steve Pearce launches last minute push to take over Albuquerque Public Schools

Rep. Steve Pearce is at it again, this time meddling in the nonpartisan Albuquerque Public Schools and Central New Mexico Community College elections. This week Albuquerque Republicans began receiving a robocall from Pearce instructing them to vote for Republican candidates in their district in the upcoming February 7 election, so Republicans can take back the public school system in Albuquerque. After receiving several tips about the calls, ProgressNow New Mexico’s researchers were able to contact a Republican voter in Albuquerque who did not approve of Pearce’s – whose southern New Mexico Congressional doesn’t cover Albuquerque – intrusion into APS and CNM matters. The calls were traced to Republican Party Headquarters in Albuquerque.  Staff at the party confirmed the calls.