Last week Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham ordered National Guard troops deployed at New Mexico's southern border to withdraw.
CNN reports Lujan Grisham ordered the withdrawal to combat President Donald Trump's attempts to militarize the nation's border with Mexico. During a press conference, she told reporters, “I'm not going to participate, nor do I think it's appropriate in any shape or fashion to use the National Guard to attempt to militarize the border where we're dealing with asylum seekers who their constitutional rights continue to be breached.”
Lujan Grisham said she'd met with the National Guard and Border Patrol to discuss the reserve military's presence, and they'd failed to convince her that the National Guard had played any significant role in curtailing criminal activity at the border.
The order was reportedly given just before the president's State of the Union address. A total of 118 National Guard soldiers were deployed in New Mexico, according to the governor's office. Of those, only 11 to 15 soldiers will remain at the border reportedly to help with humanitarian needs. National Guard troops from six other states were ordered to return to their home states.
Chaco Oil and Gas Lease Sale Deferred
Federal officials announced they will not be moving forward with the sale of oil and gas leases for land parcels near Chaco Culture National Historical Park until further analysis can be conducted.
According to the Associated Press, land managers with the US Bureau of Land Management chose to delay the decision after being criticized for pushing forward with the controversial plan without notifying the public. US Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico told reporters that BLM scheduled the lease sale during the 35-day shutdown in what he called an “opaque process.”
Chaco—a significant historical and cultural site that's centuries old—is located in a remote area, and opponents of the sale say leasing the land near the site to oil and gas companies could have a negative impact. The decision to delay the sale until its repercussions are fully analyzed was a reversal from a notice given by the agency in January that it would proceed with drilling permit reviews and energy lease preparations with the sale scheduled for March 28.
This is reportedly the third time the BLM has deferred on selling the land parcels under the Trump administration.
Grants Awarded to Battle Homelessness
State programs that help support those experiencing homelessness have received a boost in funds thanks to an infusion from the federal government.
KOB4 reports the US Department of Housing and Urban Development announced nearly $2 billion in grants to fund local social programs across the country aimed at battling homelessness. New Mexico was reportedly awarded $11,187,659.
According to HUD, the grant money will be used to support a “broad array of interventions designed to assist individuals and families experiencing homelessness.”