The New Mexico Health Department sent a van equipped with a medical exam room to shelters housing migrant families last week.
According to KOB4, the mobile medical exam unit was sent to Las Cruces, where it visited 12 different shelters and churches that have reportedly seen an increase in the number of asylum-seeking migrants. The mobile unit will help evaluate the health of migrants, relieving some of the strain felt by hospitals in the area over the last weeks. The unit is equipped to check vitals and assess hydration levels, according to US News.
All of the medicine used for the program has been donated and the doctors and nurses involved are all volunteers. If the program is successful, officials might expand it into other communities dealing with an influx of asylum-seekers.
Last week, nearly 300 migrants were reportedly brought to Albuquerque by ICE to be held while background checks are administered. Once they have been cleared, they will be sent to join their sponsor and await a hearing.
Mayor Tim Keller told reporters that federal immigration officials have warned that more migrants are on the way, and the city is seeking medical volunteers and temporary housing accommodations.
Water Official Ready for Lawsuit
During a confirmation hearing, New Mexico's chief water official told lawmakers he would be working with the state's attorney general in the legal battle with Texas and the federal government over water rights.
Last week the Senate unanimously confirmed the appointment of John D'Antonio to State Engineer. The Associated Press reports that during his confirmation hearing, D'Antonio told members of a key legislative committee that the state is gathering experts and depositions to bolster its arguments in an upcoming case with Texas and the US government that is pending before the US Supreme Court.
The lawsuit claims that New Mexican farmers are depleting the Rio Grande aquifer of water that would otherwise flow into Texas by pumping groundwater along the border. New Mexico filed a counterclaim against Texas, saying it violated an interstate compact by mismanaging its water and allowing unrestricted pumping.
The battle has reached a critical point this year as drought and lack of snowpack in Colorado have made water issues more pressing in the nation's Western states. D'Antonio reportedly met with state Attorney General Hector Balderas last week to discuss the case.
Rep. Brings Attention to Missing, Murdered Native Women
Rep. Debra Haaland addressed Congress last week concerning the high rates of missing and murdered indigenous women on Native reservations.
According to HuffPost, Haaland delivered a speech to a House Natural Resources subcommittee last week during a hearing on missing and murdered indigenous women. She criticized failed efforts to repeal a provision in the Violence Against Women Act that gives tribes authority over non-Native men who commit violent crimes against Native women on tribal land. She also raised the issue of higher-than-average murder rates amongst Native women living on reservations, which are reportedly 10 times higher than the national average.
Haaland is backing a number of bills that address violence toward Native women.